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tops he made on Dec. 5 against Dallas - 16:30: David Clark

SASKATOON - After being swept in the first round of the Western Hockey League playoffs, many questioned whether the host Saskatoon Blades even belonged at the MasterCard Memorial Cup. Vincent Lecavalier Lightning Jersey Authentic . They emphatically put those doubts rest with a gritty win over the Canadian Hockey Leagues top team. Matej Stransky scored twice and Andrey Makarov made 29 saves as Saskatoon picked up its first victory in more than two months by beating the star-studded Halifax Mooseheads 5-2 on Sunday night. "Theres a lot of doubt in this city, or there was, going into tonight and they had every reason to," Blades centre Lukas Sutter said. "We had to do something to spark some belief and excitement." The Blades did just that against a team whose roster includes top NHL prospects Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin. Collin Valcourt, Darren Dietz and Josh Nicholls, into an empty net, had the other goals for Saskatoon (1-1), which dropped a hard-fought 3-2 decision to the London Knights in Fridays tournament opener, but held on against the CHLs No. 1 ranked team. "Weve never had doubt in that room and I think we needed a game like this to show the fans and the whole city that they can get behind us and have something to feel confident about," said Nicholls, who also had an assist. "I think (the Credit Union Centre) was the loudest its been in my five years here." Stephen MacAulay and MacKinnon replied in the third period for Halifax (1-1), which lost just six games during the regular season and once in the playoffs while cruising to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League title. Zachary Fucale made 26 stops in defeat. With the Mooseheads down 1-0 and pressing for the tie late in the second period, Stransky collected a loose puck after coming out of the penalty box. The Dallas Stars prospect moved in alone on Fucale and roofed a shot under the crossbar with 1:15 left to help send Saskatoon, which hadnt played in 51 days prior to the game against London, to its first win since a 3-2 shootout decision over the Edmonton Oil Kings on March 12. "Its been a while since weve had that win. Its been over 60 days since weve won a hockey game," said Blades defenceman Duncan Siemens, whose team will meet the Portland Winterhawks in Wednesdays round-robin finale of the tournament to decide the CHL champion. "Its been a long time and it feels great to get that one, but were not satisfied." Halifax, which was playing its second game in as many nights after Saturdays 7-4 victory over Portland, was thwarted time and again by Makarov. A Russian netminder who is property of the Buffalo Sabres, Makarov stopped MacKinnon early in the second off the rush with Saskatoon up 1-0 and made a big save on Halifaxs Stefan Fournier eight minutes into the period. While Makarov was brilliant, he got a lot of help from his teammates, who blocked shots with reckless abandon, especially on the power play before Stranskys second goal. "I thought they outworked us for the majority of the game," said MacKinnon, whose team lost for just the eighth time in regulation all season. "I thought we had a good last 10-12 minutes to the night but thats not enough and weve got to regroup. "We dont like the feeling (of losing) but well handle it like men and pros and move on." Valcourt made it 3-0 just 1:43 into the third, banging a puck home off a scramble in front of Fucale before Dietz scored another one from in tight on the power play just 57 seconds later. "They played with more energy than us and desperation," Mooseheads coach Dominique Ducharme said. "They felt their back maybe a little bit more to the wall and they reacted. Youve got to give them credit. They battled hard. "You look at the goals that were scored. Three of them are battles in front of the net for loose pucks or rebounds." MacAulay got Halifax on the board by ripping a shot past Makarov at 6:48 of the third before MacKinnon added his fourth of the tournament at 8:19. The Mooseheads pressed for more, but couldnt find another way past Makarov before Nicholls iced it with two seconds to go. The Blades led 1-0 after an exciting first period that featured five combined power plays, good chances at both ends and a couple of hard hits. Saskatoon opened the scoring at 12:11 when Stransky jammed a loose puck past Fucale after the Mooseheads goalie failed to control a rebound in his crease. Nicholls, who is in the final days of his junior career, summed up the emotion in the Blades locker-room after a victory that was a long time coming. "Today is one of the best feelings I think all of us have had in playing the game of hockey," Nicholls said. "I think we were just all together as a group. Each guy was on the same page and we were all pushing each other on that bench to gain some energy. At no point did we fatigue at all. We kept pushing each other and charging each others batteries." Notes: MacKinnon is ranked as the No. 2 North American skater ahead of next months NHL draft, while Drouin is No. 3. ... Attendance was 8,934. ... Portland (0-1) meets London (1-0) in Mondays game. Next up for Halifax is a date with the Knights on Tuesday. If necessary, a tiebreaker would be played Thursday. The semifinal between the second- and third-place teams goes Friday, with the first-place club getting a bye directly into Sundays final. ... The Memorial Cup was first awarded in 1919 in honour of the soldiers killed in the First World War. It now recognizes Canadian soldiers killed in any conflict after being rededicated in 2010. Nikita Kucherov Lightning Jersey . At a Manhattan federal court hearing, attorney Jordan Siev said his law office has gotten more evidence nearly every day to support its lawsuit accusing MLB and Selig of going on a "witch hunt" to ruin Rodriguezs reputation and career. He said the defendants went "way over the line. Tampa Bay Lightning Shop . You can watch the game live on TSN at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt. The Flyers had won seven of eight before dropping their last two outings on consecutive days over the weekend. Philadelphia was handed a 6-3 loss by the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday afternoon before dropping a 4-1 decision to the Rangers the following night in New York City. . Thats not a comment on the suspension that banished the Portland Winterhawks general manager and coach from his Western Hockey League teams bench for most of the 2012-13 season.It took the Leafs 7:19 before they were finally able to register a shot on goal against the Florida Panthers - a harmless drive from the point by Carl Gunnarsson. The shot clock then read 9-1. It was a sign of things to come. By the time the first period had ended, the clock read 19-4. After forty minutes: 37-12, yet remarkably the Maple Leafs still had a chance to win, solely due to Jonathan Bernier, who, among other examples, denied Jonathan Huberdeau and Scottie Upshall on clear cut breakaways. "We didnt really have anything going other than one person in the line up who was outstanding for our hockey club and it was our goaltender," said a baffled Randy Carlyle. "We just didnt seem to have any jump or any passion to play the game and its kind of mind boggling right now." Jesse Winchester eventually put the Panthers up 2-0 before David Clarkson finally got the Leafs on the board, scoring his fourth goal of the season. But four minutes later, Shawn Matthias restored the Panthers two goal lead, putting the game out of reach. "Those are wasted efforts as youd call them," Carlyle explained. "Over the course of the season when you get an effort like that from your goaltender, its a like a pitcher throwing a no hitter. Thats the same analogy that you use when you have a performance like he was supporting our group with tonight." It marked the third straight game against the Panthers this season that the Maple Leafs got out to a poor start. A 3-1 loss on December 17th reflected a similarly uninspired effort. Last week, the Leafs were able to overcome an early 2-0 deficit but there would be no improvement found on this occasion as they went on to fall 4-1 to Florida. "The first ten minutes we were just standing around and they were jumping by us," said Carlyle. "It was like we werent engaged in the hockey game at all." Five Points 1) Raymond Calls Loss The Worst Effort of the Season While the Leafs have suffered worse losses this season – 6-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets on November 25th, 7-1 to the New York Rangers on Jan. 4 and 7-1 to the Dallas Stars on January 23rd – Mason Raymond suggest he felt tonights effort fell to the lowest hed seen it so far. "No excuse for the way we played, weve had a few tough games this year but I dont think anywhere as this bad," said Raymond. "We were outplayed almost in all aspects of the game." In terms of lessons to be learned, just moving on, Raymond said, might be the best way to go. "Im sure well do a little reflecting on it but I think its one you flush pretty quick and move on," the 28 year old explained. "Those were important points that we let slip away and thats unfortunate." 2) Carlyle Juggles The Lines After two periods of lethargic play, Randy Carlyle opted to shuffle his lines, looking for any kind of a spark with the Leafs still within striking distance. "Just tried to get something going because we had nothing going and just pleading to the group that we have a goaltender thats standing on his head here and its a 1-0 hockey game, tried to give ourselves a chance with a decent period to steal some points," explained the head coach. The move worked, at least temporarily, leading to David Clarksons goal on a nifty set up from Nazem Kadri. Start of the Game James Van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak- Phil KesselJoffrey Lupul - Nazem Kadri - Nikolai KuleminMason Raymond - Jay McClement - David ClarksonTroy Bodie - Jerred Smithson - Colton Orr Third Period Joffrey Lupul - Tyler Bozak - Phil KesselJames Van Riemsdyk - Nazem Kadri - David ClarksonMason Raymond - Jay McClement - Nikolai KuleminTroy Bodie - Jerred Smithson - Colton Orr 3) Gardiners Fight Marks An NHL First A pair of unlikely combatants, Jake Gardiner and Jonathan Huberdeau dropped the gloves 6:31 into the second period in a fight that was more of a wrestling match than a typical NHL scrap. "It wasnt much of a fight," said Gardiner. "Stuff happens in the game, you get emotional and sometimes you have to fight." Just how unlikely was it for Gardiner to find himself in a scrap? To the best of his recollection, he could only come up with one other instance where he dropped the gloves. "It was in practice when I was in college (at the Univversity of Wisconsin), it was a while back," Gardiner recalled. Authentic Customized Tampa Bay Lightning Jerseys. 4) Clarkson Hoping To Hit "Reset Button" After missing the first ten games of the season due to a suspension, another two contests in mid-December to a second suspension, a game on January 7th against the Islanders because of a foot injury and most recently, eight games because of an elbow injury, David Clarkson marked his fourth separate return to the line up on Tuesday against the Panthers. With 25 games left to go, Clarkson is looking to hit the reset button and put all his nagging issues behind him. "Im hoping, Ive had a chance to hit that button a couple times," said Clarkson, who has just four goals and five assists in 37 games. Coach Randy Carlyle insisted patience is the right approach for Clarkson, who seems like he has continually been trying, unsuccessfully so far, to live up to massive expectations this season. "I dont want to put too much emphasis on Clarkson when a player is coming back into your line up after missing an extended period of time," said Carlyle. "Were more suited to let the player get his feet underneath him before we make these great proclamations of what hes going to do and where hes going to be at." While sitting and watching, Clarkson has admitted, is never easy for him, the Leafs solid run, going 6-1-1 in the eight games he missed made it somewhat tolerable. "The fact that weve been winning, it makes it a lot easier sitting there because youre not in the stands or after the game upset," Clarkson explained, who has watched the Leafs amass a record of 14-6-1 without him in the line up compared to 16-16-5 with him dressed. As for what set Clarksons season off on the wrong foot, Carlyle didnt have to think long for an explanation. "I think the ten game suspension obviously had an effect, simple as that," said Carlyle. 5) JVR Plays Despite Battling Flu Bug James Van Riemsdyk seems to have it all figured out. The Middletown, New Jersey native has not participated in a full practice since January 24th in Winnipeg – he left part way through on January 26th – but has not missed a game during that stretch. Last week, JVRs absence was due to an undisclosed injury. On Monday, it was a bout of the flu that forced him to miss the teams workout at MasterCard Centre and subsequent charter flight to Fort Lauderdale. But there was still one Van Riemsdyk on the teams flight on Monday; James father Frans, who accompanied the other dads on the Leafs annual fathers trip. "I made the decision to send him along on the charter so he gets that whole experience and Im sure he had a great time last night," said James. James made his way down to Florida early Tuesday morning on a 6:30am commercial flight and received well wishes from other travellers. "I got a couple tweets in the airport, a couple good lucks," he explained. Asked how his day of recovery from the flu went on Monday, James smiled, laughed and said, "I dont want to get into it." Stats Pack - 9-0: Shot total in favour of Panthers when Carl Gunnarsson registered first shot for the Leafs at the 7:19 mark of the 1st period - 19-4: Shots in favour of Panthers after 1st period - 37-12: Shots in favour of Panthers after 2nd period - 44: Stops made by Jonathan Bernier, his second highest total this season behind only the 48 stops he made on Dec. 5 against Dallas - 16:30: David Clarksons ice time in his return to the line up after an 8 game absence - 7: Hits Clarkson registered, leading the Leafs in that category - 3: Leafs win streak snapped at three games; Panthers losing streak snapped at three games - 16: Number of times the Leafs have allowed more than 40 shots - 2: The amount of power play goals the Panthers have scored in their last 53 opportunities after Tom Gilberts goal against the Leafs Quote of the night: - Mason Raymond on whether the team felt added pressure with playing in front of their fathers, who are along on the annual dads trip: "No, again, were professional athletes. Were expected to have mental preparation and be prepared for the game and we werent, we were flat from the start. Thankfully Bernie was playing well at the start or it would have been a lot worse." Up next: The Leafs are in Tampa Bay on Thursday for their second of four head to head meetings with the Lightning. Toronto won the first game on Jan. 28 3-2 at Air Canada Centre. Wholesale Jerseys China ' ' '