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The Montreal Canadiens follow Rene Bourques lead, Pavel Datsyuk makes the difference for the Red Wings and Ryan Getzlaf makes the difference for the Ducks. Dalvin Tomlinson Giants Jersey . Scott Cullen looks at Friday nights NHL playoff games. HABS FOLLOW BOURQUE Canadiens LW Rene Bourque, who has scored 21 goals and 37 points in 128 regular season games for Montreal since arriving in a trade from Calgary, scored a pair of goals to pace the Montreal attack in a comfortable 4-1 win at Tampa Bay, giving the Habs a 2-0 series lead. Both of Bourques goals required significant individual effort, allowing him to remind people that hes a three-time 20-goal scorer -- that he had been known to finish on occasion before he joined the Canadiens. While Bourques contribution counts as something of a surprise, the Canadiens also took advantage of what was supposed to be their greatest advantage coming into the series: goaltending. Carey Price stopped 26 of 27 shots, his shutout broken with less than two minutes remaining on a Teddy Purcell power play goal. In Tampas net, Anders Lindback was yanked after allowing three goals on 23 shots, replaced by rookie Kristers Gudlevskis, who allowed one goal on three shots. Lightning coach Jon Cooper downplayed any goalending controversy but, as expected, the non-Ben Bishop options arent ideal for the Lightning. The unfortunate part for the Lightning is that they had a relatively strong possession game. Defencemen Mike Kostka and Eric Brewer, along with forwards J.T. Brown, Cedric Paquette and Nikita Kucherov all had a Corsi percentage of 66.7% or better, meaning that at least two of every three shot attempts were in the Lightnings favour with those players on the ice. The funny thing is that the Montreal line that was torched, possession wise, was Lars Eller, Brian Gionta and the aforementioned Rene Bourque. The Habs are up two games to none and going home, with the Lightning having a clear deficit in goal. Its a favourable situation for Montreal, but they cant get complacent. MAGIC ACT The top-seeded Boston Bruins were upset in Game One, as Detroits Pavel Datsyuk scored a spectacular goal with 3:01 remaining in the third period, to give the Red Wings a 1-0 win in the game and 1-0 lead in the series. While the Wings had every right to believe they could compete with Boston coming into the game, its one thing to believe it and another to carry 58% of the possession play on the road against the Presidents Trophy winners. The Bruins were missing defencemen Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller, which resulted in Corey Potter and Andrej Meszaros playing; both were break-even in possession terms. The real tough night for the Bruins came for the top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla. They were matched up against the Red Wings line of Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist, with Danny DeKeyser and Kyle Quincey on defence. Sheahan had better than 70% Corsi% to lead all skaters. Even Bruins stalwart D Zdeno Chara had a 35.1% Corsi%; he had a Corsi% lower than that twice all season, both in games against the San Jose Sharks games this season. Chara spent his night matched against Datsyuk and the edge clearly went to Datsyuk. Naturally, in a 1-0 game, the goaltenders played well. While thats pretty standard for Vezina favourite Tuukka Rask in the Boston net, Detroits Jimmy Howard had an uneven season, but he allowed two goals in each of his last five starts, before opening the playoffs with a 25-save shutout. In 43 career playoff games, Howard has a .919 save percentage, which ranks seventh among active goaltenders (Rask, incidentally, ranks second). Detroit utilized their depth. Everyone in the lineup played at least 12 minutes -- Daniel Alfredsson, at 12:14, played the least for the Wings -- and, as a result, their top four defencemen were the only ones to play more than 20 minutes. It wasnt easy for the Wings, but their Game One performance showed a template for how they can push the Bruins in this series; use a disciplined, puck-control game and dont get caught up in Bostons aggressive physical game. DUCK AND COVER The Anaheim Ducks held on for a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars, taking a 2-0 series lead. Ducks C Ryan Getzlaf, playing with facial protection after taking a Tyler Seguin slapshot in the cheek late in Game One, led the Ducks effort, scoring a goal and adding an assist. RW Corey Perry also scored for the Ducks and stands contrast to the performance of the Stars Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, who have not had the same kind of impact. The games puck possession metrics were tilted dramatically by score effects, after the Ducks took a 3-1 lead, as Anaheim held a decided edge in score-close possession, but the Stars led in 5-on-5 possession numbers overall after outshooting the Ducks 15-2 in the third period. Ducks LW Matt Beleskey missed Game Two, with a lower-body injury, creating an opportunity for Devante Smith-Pelly to skate on the top line with Getzlaf and Perry. Stars LW Ryan Garbutt, who scored the Stars second goal, registered eight unblocked shot attempts in just 9:53 of ice time. In the end, Stars G Kari Lehtonen allowed three goals on 19 shots, while Ducks rookie G Frederik Andersen stopped 34 of 36. If the lower-seeded Stars are going to get back in the series, and harbour hopes for an upset, they need to win the goaltending battle and have Seguin and Benn contribute at a level closer to Getzlaf and Perry. Otherwise, the hill will be awfully steep. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. Darius Slayton Youth Jersey . -- James Harden scored 31 points, including 25 in the second half, and the Houston Rockets dug out of a double-digit, first-half hole to beat the Orlando Magic 101-89 on Wednesday night. Lawrence Taylor Womens Jersey . Tottenham claimed top spot in Group K by winning 2-0 at Tromso after defender Adnan Causevic scored an own goal before Mousa Dembele put the result beyond doubt. Valencia made sure it will finish first in Group A with a 1-0 win at Swansea thanks to an early goal from Dani Parejo.NEW YORK -- The stakes are always high, the encounters always memorable. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have built the best rivalry in tennis on a mountain of big-time matches, the likes of which theyll play Monday in the U.S. Open final. It will be the 37th meeting of their careers -- the most times in the Open era that any two men have played. "When you are involved in these kind of matches," Nadal said, "you feel special." Nadal will be going for his 13th major title, Djokovic his seventh. Nadal is seeded second, Djokovic first. This will be their third meeting in the last four years in the final in Arthur Ashe Stadium, a stretch interrupted last year when Nadal sat out with a knee injury. Nadal won the first match, in 2010, and Djokovic won the rematch in 2011. Both were tense four-setters that played a role in the winner being ranked first at years end. "Its always the biggest challenge that you can have in our sport now," Djokovic said of playing Nadal. "I mean, hes the ultimate competitor out there. Hes fighting for every ball and hes playing probably the best tennis that he ever played on hard courts." Both players are seeking their second major title of the year: Djokovic won the Australian Open and Nadal won the French. Nadal leads the overall series 21-15, though Djokovic has an 11-6 edge on hard courts. Fittingly for a match with these sort of stakes, the U.S. Open has built in a planned day of rest for the men, abandoning the tradition of playing the semifinals and final back-to-back over the weekend. Its a nod to the intensely physical nature of the modern game and to the desires of the players, who complained loudly about such a quick turnaround at the tail end of the years final Grand Slam. "I like to finish the tournaments on Sunday, not on Monday," Nadal said. "But talking about fair, for sure its a more fair finish on Monday, having one day off between the semifinals and final." The day off will certainly help Djokovic, who grinded through a 4-hour, 9-minute five-set win over Stanislas Wawrinka in the semifinals, while Nadal dispatched Richard Gasquet in three, losing his first and only service game of the tournament. But is it enough rest for the world No. 1, who will keep that ranking -- at least for the time being -- regardless of Mondays result? In July at Wimbledon, Djokovic played 4 hours, 43 minutes in a five-set semifinal wiin over Juan Martin del Potro, while Andy Murray won his semifinal in four sets. Michael Strahan Giants Jersey. When they returned two days later for the final, Djokovic was clearly not his usual self. He rushed points, tried finishing many of them at the net, which isnt his strong suit, and paid the price -- a three-set loss to Murray. "Hard court is my most successful surface," Djokovic said. "This is where I can say I feel most comfortable and confident. Hopefully, I can perform better than I did in the Wimbledon final and maybe get a chance to win a trophy." While Djokovic has the most wins on tour this year on the hard courts (31), Nadal is undefeated -- a perfect 21-0. Its an amazing statistic, especially for a man who missed seven months with knee problems between 2012 and 2013. He won the French Open on clay, his favourite surface, then made a stunning first-round exit at Wimbledon. That loss to 135th-ranked Steve Darcis at the All England Club marks the only tournament of the 13 Nadal has entered this year in which he didnt make the final. "He lost three matches this year," Djokovic said. "With no doubt, hes the best player in the moment this year, no question about it." This will be their sixth meeting in a Grand Slam final. In addition to the split at Flushing Meadows, theyve met once each at the other three Grand Slams. Included in those matches was their five-set Australian Open masterpiece in 2012 that went 5 hours, 53 minutes, a record for a Grand Slam final. Later that year, they had a four-set final at the French Open that stretched over two days because of the rain. This year, Nadal pulled out a 9-7 win in the fifth set of a semifinal at Roland Garros, denying Djokovic a chance at the closing leg of the career Grand Slam he most dearly wanted to honour his one-time coach, Jelena Gencic, who died earlier during the tournament. Their only meeting this year on a hard court came in a U.S. Open tuneup in Montreal, where Nadal won the best-of-3-sets match in a third-set tiebreaker. Indeed, these are always memorable affairs, though Nadal acknowledged with a laugh that hed rather be playing someone else. "In the end, we have to be honest, no?" he said. "Talking about a final, Id want to play against a player that I have more chances to win. But I play against him. Ive played against him a lot of times. Always, weve played very exciting matches." ' ' '
on September 11 at 12:43 AM

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