Nationals

Viktor Fasth wins NHL debut, Ducks beat Preds 3-2

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Viktor Fasth wins NHL debut, Ducks beat Preds 3-2

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Viktor Fasth made 19 saves and stopped all three Nashville shootout attempts to win his NHL debut, and Corey Perry scored the only shootout goal in the Anaheim Ducks' 3-2 victory over the Predators on Saturday night.

Fasth, the Ducks' new 30-year-old backup goalie from Sweden, capped his solid debut performance by deftly gloving his deflection of David Legwand's final shootout attempt out of midair.

Daniel Winnik and Bobby Ryan scored for the Ducks, who never led until the shootout in their third victory in four games to start the season.

Pekka Rinne made 20 saves for Nashville, but the Vezina Trophy finalist dropped to 0-1-3 this season when former 50-goal scorer Perry beat him to the glove side on Anaheim's second shootout attempt.

Legwand and Winnik traded goals 1:03 apart midway through the third period, with Winnik becoming the first Anaheim player to score five goals in the first four games of a season with his tying tip-in.

Nashville goal-scorer Patric Hornqvist left the ice limping badly midway through the third period after getting tangled up with Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf while both players pursued a puck in the corner. Hornqvist didn't return.

Brandon Yip scored an early goal for Nashville, which had won six straight over Anaheim dating to the clubs' 2011 first-round playoff meeting and 12 of 15 overall.

After getting routed 5-0 by Vancouver in their home opener Friday night, the Ducks restored much of the good feelings from their two season-opening victories on the road, but only after a rough start against Nashville. Ryan's first goal of the season ended 99 straight minutes of scoreless hockey at Honda Center for the home team, and Fasth kept the Ducks in it during an eventful third period and overtime.

Nashville took the lead when Legwand ended up alone in the slot with the puck after Fasth gave up a long rebound of Kevin Klein's shot. Winnik evened it moments later when he reached around defenseman Hal Gill and nimbly tipped Perry's pass over Rinne's outstretched pad.

The goal was the fifth in four improbable games for Winnik, the journeyman forward who joined Anaheim in the offseason. Winnik has never scored more than 11 goals in any of his five NHL seasons.

After starter Jonas Hiller set a club record and led the NHL with 73 starts in the Ducks' crease last season, Anaheim won the offseason competition for Fasth with a $1 million, one-way contract. Fasth was named the Swedish Elite League's top goaltender in each of the past two seasons with AIK Stockholm, the first goalie to win back-to-back Honken Trophies since New York Rangers star Henrik Lundqvist.

Fasth gave up a goal on the second NHL shot he faced, but only after stopping the first shot in a 2-on-1 set up when a linesman accidentally blocked a Ducks defenseman's path to a loose puck. Yip followed up for his first goal of the season, and the Ducks struggled to match it, with the home crowd booing them during a particularly feckless power play.

Anaheim showed more jump in the second period, but wasn't rewarded until Teemu Selanne jarred the puck loose in the corner and got it to Cam Fowler, whose shot from the point was expertly redirected by both Selanne and Ryan, the dependable 30-goal scorer who ripped the Anaheim organization last summer during another offseason of trade rumors.

NOTES: The Ducks played back-to-back home games just six times in franchise history before this season. ... The Ducks scratched young F Devante Smith-Pelly and inserted rugged F Brad Staubitz for his Anaheim debut. ... Nashville D Jonathon Blum, the Orange County native who played well for the Predators during their playoff series win over his hometown Ducks in 2011, was a scratch for the fifth straight game

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Sean Doolittle on recent pitching woes: 'It was kind of of a helpless feeling'

Sean Doolittle on recent pitching woes: 'It was kind of of a helpless feeling'

When Sean Doolittle pitched Friday evening against the Milwaukee Brewers, he thought he'd made huge progress on his mechanics and felt good heading into Saturday's game.

But when things fell apart after Christian Yelich helped the Brewers rally to a 15-14 win in extra innings, Doolittle knew something was wrong.

"I thought I was every bit good enough to grind this out," Doolittle explained on Grant & Danny on 106.7 The Fan Tuesday morning.  "It was kind of a helpless feeling coming off the mound."

That helplessness led to him being placed on the injured list with a knee injury.

"I kinda battle a little bit of knee tendonitis regularly. It's something I've managed throughout my career," Doolittle said.

He thinks he tweaked it playing in San Diego early June. Since then, he believes his mechanics have suffered trying to alleviate the pain.

"Trying to compensate for it maybe favoring it a little bit subconsciously, my mechanics eroded," Doolittle noted. "It's just this beautiful chaotic circle we have to just pause, get the knee right."

Doolittle says he's going to take the time off to re-work his mechanics. Specifically, he wants to work on a toe-tap and slight hitch he has in his throwing motion, which he described as a subtler version of Clayton Kershaw's famous leg kick.

"I think there's some things I can do mechanically to get my body in a better position," Doolittle said. "This is an opportunity to get it right."

His big goal is to get his body in "better position over the rubber before the kick."

That way, he can have more momentum over the baseball, especially with a powerful four-seam fastball. "You're basically falling down the mound rather than driving and getting behind the ball." 

Throughout the season, he noted he's had good communication with manager Davey Martinez, and that blaming anybody would be a waste of time.

Since being placed on the IL, he's had a few days to rest before he started some light pitching activities Tuesday.

"It'll be a good break to get my body ready for September and October," he noted. "I'm throwing myself into this process and I'm not hanging my head."

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Former Penn State stars Trace McSorley and Miles Sanders catch up after joint practice

Former Penn State stars Trace McSorley and Miles Sanders catch up after joint practice

Things this time last year were a lot different for Ravens quarterback Trace McSorley and Eagles running back Miles Sanders.

McSorley was entering his final year at Penn State, and not highly sought after as an NFL QB prospect. Many draft 'experts' predicted McSorley would have to change positions in order to play at the highest level of the game.

But McSorley, was profiled in NBC Sports Washingtons' I Am The Prospect' series, stuck with quarterback, and early on, it's paid off. The Ravens selected Penn State's all-time passing yards and touchdown passes leader in the sixth-round, and thus far, McSorley has shown promise. 

Sanders, a rising junior at the time, had just 56 career carries and less than 400 rushing yards in his first two seasons with Penn State. While that was not a reflection on Sanders (after all, he was the backup to some guy named Saquon Barkley), the junior had little film to indicate to pro scouts that he would be ready for the jump just a year later.

But after being the Nittany Lions workhorse in 2018, where he rushed for just under 1,300 yards and nine touchdowns, Sanders immediately became on the league's radar. The 22-year-old earned his way to All-Big 10 second-team honors and showed enough at the combine for the Eagles to invest their second-round pick in him.

The Ravens are set to face the Eagles in their third preseason game on Thursday, but Baltimore has been in the City of Brotherly Love for the past two days, competing in joint practices with the Eagles. These practices have given the former Penn State teammates time to catch up before they play each other in a couple of days.

"I think it's cool, just thinking that we were at Penn State a year ago," Sanders said. "Now we're all living our dream, just on different teams. When we get together for times like this, it's pretty cool."

"It's really cool. Spending years together in college, now we're all on separate teams now, but it's cool," McSorley said, echoing his former running back. "We're rooting for these guys. Turning on one of [Miles] games and watch him run, rooting him on. it's cool to come out and be on the practice field with him again. Haven't seen him in a while, being able to say 'what's up,' it's pretty cool."

Very few people know each other's skillsets the way McSorley and Sanders do of one another. So who better to ask than each of them as to what their respective team can expect out of each?

"They're getting a dawg, man, " McSorley said on his former teammate. "They're starting to figure that out now. He's a special player and Philly is going to love him."

"Same with Baltimore. They got a dawg," Sanders said on McSorley. "He's been showing it in the preseason games. They said he's not a quarterback, but he's proving everybody wrong. That's just how Trace is."

Besides checking in regularly to see how Sanders is doing, McSorley has found another way to follow his former running back's rookie season.

"[I'm going to] try and get him on my fantasy team," McSorley said, getting quite the chuckle out of Sanders.

Besides the loyalty aspect, McSorley could end up getting significant production from Sanders on his fantasy squad. After an impressive performance in the Eagles second preseason game, NJ.com reported that "it is increasingly hard to project him as anything less than this team’s No. 1 running back." 

Sanders may be a more than viable fantasy option as a rookie, but he doesn't play the popular game himself. But if he did, he knows one player he would snag.

"I don't do the fantasy stuff, but if I did, I would definitely put my boy on there," Sanders said on McSorley. "Watching everyone I played with in college, looking at their stats each week and seeing them. Just grow and be better players each week. The way we do it here, it's the same mentality because we all went to the same school."

The two will get to see each other in person for the first time at the NFL level on Thursday. 

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