MIAMI -- For the first time all season, the Miami Heat are alone atop the Eastern Conference. NHL Jerseys . And thats quite a turnaround from how things seemed less than a week ago. LeBron James fought through a sore back to score 32 points, Chris Bosh added 18 and the Heat used another strong defensive effort to beat the Toronto Raptors 93-83 on Monday night. The win pushed the two-time defending NBA champions percentage points ahead of the struggling Indiana Pacers in the race for the No. 1 seed in the East. "It doesnt feel like anything," James said. "The standings are what they are. We want to play the best we can and the fact that we are in first place, I think thats pretty cool but weve got so much work to do. Weve got too much work to do. Weve got guys that need to get healthy. We havent even talked about it. We probably wont talk about it. Weve got to play the season out." Chris Andersen scored 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting and Mario Chalmers added 12 for Miami (51-22), which was again without Dwyane Wade (hamstring), Greg Oden (back) and Ray Allen (flu). Indiana (52-23) lost at home earlier Monday night to San Antonio, 103-77. "The No. 1 seed is the last thing on our minds right now," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said after his teams loss. The Heat -- who were three games out in the East after losing at Indiana on Wednesday -- are basically saying the same thing. Sure, its a neat perk -- Heat coach Erik Spoelstra called it an "ancillary" effect of hard work -- and Bosh acknowledged the outcomes Monday merited a very subtle fist-pump from him. But theres still plenty of time for things to change, and Miami is thinking more about getting those who are hurt and sick back into rhythm with the playoffs coming up in less than three weeks. "Were aware of it," Spoelstra said of the standings. "Its not that were naive to it. I didnt talk about it. ... These were pros that were getting ready for battle and its that type of focus, thats the type of thing were trying to stress right now, the process of building those habits. The results will follow. They tend to take care of themselves." Greivis Vasquez scored 17 points, DeMar DeRozan scored 16 and Jonas Valanciunas finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors. Steve Novak added 13 for Toronto, which lost Kyle Lowry to a sore left knee late in the third quarter after he collided with James. "It was a hard-fought game -- basketball at a high level," Vasquez said. "We lost it in the third period. We came out too relaxed. We didnt attack the basket. Everything worked for them." Lowrys knee swelled, Raptors coach Dwane Casey said, and that hardly sounds like good news for a team fighting for the No. 3 spot in the East. "He bumped knees," Casey said. "It puffed up a little bit. X-rays were negative. We just have to wait and see how he is tomorrow." The Heat were down 10 midway through the second quarter, and then closed the half on a 22-9 run to take the lead and never trailed again. Bosh had consecutive baskets in the fourth quarter, the last of them an easy breakaway, to put Miami up by nine. A possession later, after a 3-pointer from Vasquez, James split a pair of defenders on the dribble and found Toney Douglas for a right-wing 3. And after a stop on the ensuing Miami trip, James got a wild layup to fall while getting fouled. Moments later, the Heat could look at the standings and finally see themselves on top. "We could still lose it," Bosh said. "That reality is there. We just have to keep concentrating on what weve been doing." NOTES: Miami has now won 15 straight against the Raptors, the last 14 of those meetings coming since Bosh left Toronto and joined the Heat during the summer of 2010. ... Monday was the start of a five-game homestand for the Heat, who face Milwaukee, Minnesota, New York and Brooklyn. Authentic NHL Jerseys . However, the intensity and physicality that has characterized the postseason so far has caught Gretzky by surprise. "Its a little bit risqué right now," Gretzky told Philadelphia radio station 97. Wholesale NHL Jerseys . The Marlies centre set up three goals, including the game-winner, as Toronto cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Oklahoma City Barons in American Hockey League action.The Jets are getting good goaltending, the Red Wings are on the rise since Datsyuk’s return, a star in the making in Nashville, lineup news, Fantasy tips and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking. HEROES Jets Goaltenders - Ondrej Pavelec had a 38-save shutout in a 1-0 shootout win over the Rangers Saturday; then Michael Hutchinson delivered a 33-save shutout, in his sixth career NHL game, against Chicago in Sunday’s 1-0 win. Getting quality goaltending is a major step forward for the Jets, considering Pavelec has ranked 24th, with a .907 save percentage (out of 26 qualified with minimum 150 games) over the past four seasons. Additionally notable about Pavelec’s play in this first month of the season is that, compared to last season, he’s facing shots from a closer distance, on average (33.02 feet last season, 30.54 feet this season, according to Sporting Charts), yet is delivering a higher save percentage. PAVELEC SHOT DISTANCE vs. SAVE PERCENTAGE YEAR AVG. SHOT DISTANCE SV% 2009-10 33.7 .906 2010-11 34.3 .914 2011-12 34.1 .906 2012-13 34.2 .905 2013-14 33.0 .901 2014-15 30.5 .921 (data from www.sportingcharts.com and www.somekindofninja.com) Taking small samples of goaltending performance doesn’t tell a whole lot. It’s great that Pavelec has a .921 save percentage this season – it would be a career-best for him – but if given the choice between using four years or one month of data to project future goaltending performance, the odds side with the larger sample of games and if Pavelec is facing closer shots this year than ever before, the odds are further stacked against maintaining this level of play. Red Wings forwards - Pavel Datsyuk and Gustav Nyquist each had two goals and an assist in a 5-2 win over Los Angeles Friday. Then, in Sunday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Buffalo, Datsyuk had a goal and an assist while Datsyuk, Nyquist and Henrik Zetterberg held better than 82% possession against the Sabres. Filip Forsberg – Scored two goals, and added an assist, in a 3-1 win at Vancouver Sunday, generating a dozen shot attempts with eight shots on goal. Forsberg has put up a point-per-game through 11 games this season, and has strong possession stats, with the Predators getting 55.7% of the shot attempts when he’s on the ice for 5-on-5 play. ZEROES Anaheims top line - The Ducks’ No.1 line of Patrick Maroon (returning from injury), Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry was pinned into their own zone – all under 20% possession -- Friday night, getting the worst of their most frequent head-to-head matchup against Antoine Roussel, Cody Eakin and Ryan Garbutt, a Stars trio that generated at least 78% of the shot attempts when they were on the ice. Zac Rinaldo - The Flyers agitator wasn’t on the ice for a shot attempt in Saturday’s loss at Florida, the second straight game in which he’s drawn a blank, compared to 17 shot attempts against during 5-on-5 play. Travis Zajac - New Jerseys top line centre failed to register a shot attempt in 21:46 against Columbus Saturday. SHORT SHIFTS Maple Leafs G James Reimer turned back 45 of 47 shots (including 26 in the third period) in a 3-2 win over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks Saturday...Maple Leafs RW Phil Kessel and LW Daniel Winnik both had a goal and two assists, while C Nazem Kadri had a goal and an assist in Toronto’s 4-1 win at Columbus Friday…Predators RW James Neal scored two goals in Friday’s 4-3 loss at Calgary, then added two assists in Sunda’s 3-1 win at Vancouver…Red Wings D Niklas Kronwall and C Henrik Zetterberg each had two assists against Los Angeles Friday…Flames C Sean Monahan and LW Johnny Gaudreau both had a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win over Nashville Friday, then Gaudreau added two assists in Sunday’s 6-2 win against Montreal. Penguins C Sidney Crosby tallied three assists in 15:27 during a 5-0 win over Buffalo Friday…C Evgeni Malkin had a goal and two assists, LW Chris Kunitz had two goals and an assist, while RW Patric Hornqvist chipped in a goal and an assist…Kunitz and D Olli Maatta had the Penguins’ best possession stats (both 21 shot attempts for, 6 against, 77.8%)…Bruins LW Matt Fraser scored a pair of goals in a 4-2 win against Ottawa Saturday…C Carl Soderberg assisted on both…Blackhawks D Brent Seabrook recorded a goal and an assist in a 3-2 loss to Toronto Saturday…Lightning C Tyler Johnson picked up a couple of assists and RW Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist in Saturday’s 4-3 win over Washington. Panthers G Roberto Luongo stopped 36 of 37 Philadelphia shots in a 2-1 win Saturday…Blue Jackets LW Nick Foligno had a goal and an assist in a 3-2 loss to New Jersey Saturday…Devils D Marek Zidlicky contributed a goal and an assist, both on the power play, in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Columbus…Hurricanes RW Elias Lindholm scored two goals in a 3-0 win over Arizona Saturday, then added a goal and an assist in Sunday’s 3-2 win against Los Angeles…Hurricanes G Cam Ward recorded a 25-save shutout against Arizona…Avalanche C Nathan MacKinnon and RW Ryan O’Reilly each had a goal and an assist, while D Erik Johnson had a pair of assists in a 3-2 shootout loss at St. Louis Saturday…MacKinnon also had Colorado’s worst possession stats (4 shot attempts for, 14 against, 22.2%)…Blues RW Vladimir Tarasenko buried a pair of goals in Colorado’s 3-2 shootout win over Colorado...New Jersey’s top three possession players against Columbus Saturday: RW Reid Boucher (78.6%), D Jon Merrill (70.8%) and D Adam Larsson (68.7%). Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin ended his five-game point drought with an assist at Tampa Bay Saturday, registering 10 shot attempts (6 SOG)… Ovechkin put up a goal and three assists, and C Nicklas Backstrom chipped in three assists, in a 6-5 loss to Arizona Sunday. Ovechkin generated 14 shot attempts (7 SOG)…Flyers D Mark Streit had 10 shot attempts (6 SOG) at Florida Saturday. Coyotes D Oliver Ekman-Larsson had 10 shot attempts (5 SOG) vs. Carolina Saturday then 13 shot attempts (4 SOG) at Washington Sunday…Jets RW Dustin Byfuglien had 11 shot attempts (5 SOG) in a season-high 23:03 against the Rangers Saturday. Flames D T.J. Brodie had three assists in Calgary’s 6-2 win against Montreal Sunday...D Mark Giordano, and LW Curtis Glencross also had two points in the win…Flames rookie C Josh Jooris scored a pair of goals against Montreal…Sabres G Michal Neuvirth stoppeed 36 of 38 shots in Sunday’s 3-2 win against Detroit…Sabres D Josh Gorges was stuck in his own end (5 shot attempts for, 23 against, 17. NHL Jerseys 2020. .9%) in the win over Detroit…Hurricanes rookie LW Chris Terry contributed a goal and an assist in a 3-2 win against Los Angeles Sunday…Coyotes captain Shane Doan had two goals and an assist in a 6-5 win at Washington Sunday. C Antoine Vermette tallied a goal and two assists…Coyotes C Martin Hanzal had a dominant possession game (14 for, 3 against, 82.4%) in the win over Washington…Jets LW T.J. Galiardi was stuck in the defensive zone (1 shot attempt for, 14 against, 6.7%) in just 3:56 of even-strength ice time against Chicago Sunday…Flames D Dennis Wideman had 11 shot attempts (6 SOG) against Montreal Sunday. LINEUP NEED TO KNOW Oilers LW Taylor Hall left Saturday’s loss to Vancouver with a knee injury, suffered when Chris Tanev knocked him off balance into the Canucks’ net. Hall will be out 2-4 weeks. That could mean more ice time for David Perron, who has been playing three fewer minutes per game this season. Maple Leafs LW Joffrey Lupul is out three weeks with a broken hand. As a result, Daniel Winnik has moved up to the Leafs’ top line and RW David Clarkson moved up to play with C Tyler Bozak and LW James van Riemsdyk. Red Wings D Kyle Quincey suffered an ankle injury Friday, opening the door for Brian Lashoff to play his first game of the season against Buffalo Sunday. Rangers D Ryan McDonagh left with a dislocated shoulder and Kevin Klein suffered a foot injury Saturday against Winnipeg, leaving Daniel Girardi to play 34:50, the high water mark for an individual player’s ice time this season. Bruins C David Krejci missed Saturday night’s game against Ottawa with a hip injury. Veteran Chris Kelly moved up to play with LW Milan Lucic and RW Seth Griffith. Blackhawks D Trevor van Riemsdyk played a career-high 19:21 at Toronto Saturday, putting up stellar possession stats (23 shot attempts for, 8 against, 74.2%). Lightning RW Ryan Callahan scored a goal Saturday night in his return to the Tampa Bay lineup after missing 11 days with a lower-body injury. LW Alex Killorn, however, left with an upper-body after playing 6:32 against Washington. The Panthers had to dig into the minors to fill out their lineup Saturday night, with Jonathan Huberdeau (illness), Sean Bergenheim (lower body) and Aleksander Barkov (lower body) all unavailable. Wild D Jared Spurgeon is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury, suffered against San Jose Thursday night. The Hurricanes, getting LW Nathan Gerbe and RW Patrick Dwyer back into the lineup, made RW Alexander Semin a healthy scratch Saturday and Sunday. Stars RW Ales Hemsky left Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Minnesota with an upper-body injury. Hemsky is off to a miserable start with zero goals and one assist in 11 games this season. Sharks LW Tomas Hertl played on the fourth line Saturday, a season-low 9:30 time on ice, but did score a goal, snapping an eight-game goalless streak. Ducks G John Gibson suffered a lower-body injury Sunday, leaving Jason LaBarbera to start against Colorado. Red Wings LW Johan Franzen returned to the lineup, after more than two weeks out due to lower body issues, playing 16:19 against the Sabres Sunday. Second-year Sabres D Rasmus Ristolainen played a career-high 25:30 against Detroit Sunday. Kings C Anze Kopitar returned to the Los Angeles lineup in a 3-2 loss to Carolina Sunday, one week after suffering an upper-body injury and LW Marian Gaborik played his first game since October 12. Canucks D Kevin Bieksa left Sunday’s loss to Nashville with an eye injury, leaving Alex Edler to play 28:09 on the Vancouver blueline. Capitals RW Tom Wilson tallied a goal and an assist, playing a career-high 15:04, against Arizona Sunday. Avalanche RW Daniel Briere has been scratched for each of Colorado’s last two games, and played under 10 minutes in each of the five previous games. FIRSTS Panthers D Aaron Ekblad scored his first NHL goal, and had superb possession numbers (14 for, 3 against, 82.4%) in Saturday’s 2-1 win against Philadelphia. Coyotes rookie LW Tobias Rieder scored a goal in his first NHL game, playing 11:30 at Washington. Rieder had four goals, six points and was plus-2 in nine AHL games before getting promoted. Playing in his first NHL game of the season with Columbus, LW Brian Gibbons notched a pair of assists in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to New Jersey. Flames LW Michael Ferland, who had nine points in nine AHL games, played his first NHL game Friday against Nashville and suffered a concussion. That led to LW Sven Baertschi playing his first NHL game of the season against Montreal Sunday. Baertschi had three points and was minus-8 in 10 AHL games prior to getting called up. Avalanche RW Dennis Everberg scored his first career NHL goal Sunday, his eighth game in a Colorado uniform. Maple Leafs LW Sam Carrick played his first NHL game Satu-12rday vs. Chicago, getting 4:15 of ice time. Panthers RW Rocco Grimaldi played 6:11 in his first NHL game Saturday against Philadelphia. D Colby Robak and C Vincent Trocheck also played their first games of the year for the Panthers. Blue Jackets G Anton Forsberg made his NHL debut at New Jersey Saturday, stopping 26 of 29 shots in a 3-2 loss. Enforcer Tom Sestito played his first game of the season for the Canucks Saturday, chipping in an assist in 6:25 of ice time against Edmonton, then left Sundays game with an injury. FANTASY FOCUS Some players available in more than 50% of TSN leagues: Nikita Kucherov – The Lightning right winger has five goals and nine points in the past six games, yet he’s still available in nearly 55% of leagues. Michael Raffl – In a great spot, playing the wing with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek on Philadelphia’s top line, Raffl has scored four goals and five points in the past five games. Carl Soderberg - The second-year Bruins centre has seven points in the past eight games, and 10 points in 13 games this season to lead Boston’s scoring race, yet he’s available in more than 60% of leagues. Jason Zucker – After producing early in the year on the fourth line, Zucker moved up the Minnesota depth chart and has three goals and five points in the past five games, and played a season-high 18:55 last game. Much of the data included comes from www.war-on-ice.com, www.puckalytics.com, www.hockeystats.ca and www.naturalstattrick.com Scott Cullen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org ' ' '
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Dec 05, 2019
It doesnt feel like anything
It doesnt feel like anything