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NHL Three Stars: Cracknell's hat trick; Islanders, Lightning get big wins

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 24: Kari Lehtonen #32 and Adam Cracknell #27 of the Dallas Stars celebrate a goal for his first career hat-trick against the San Jose Sharks at the American Airlines Center on March 24, 2017 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
Kari Lehtonen #32 and Adam Cracknell #27 of the Dallas Stars celebrate a goal for his first career hat-trick against the San Jose Sharks at the American Airlines Center on March 24, 2017 in Dallas, Texas. (Getty Images)

No. 1 Star: Adam Cracknell, Dallas Stars

Cracknell recorded his first career hat trick to help the Stars to a 6-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. This continued a career season for the 31-year-old forward who has 10 goals and 15 points in 61 games played. With the victory, Dallas moved to 3-1-1 in their last five games as they try to finish their disappointing season on a positive note.

No. 2 Star: John Tavares, New York Islanders

Tavares notched two assists and scored the shootout winner in a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. With the win, the Islanders tied the Boston Bruins with 82 points for the last Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. New York has two games in hand but three fewer regulation and overtime wins than Boston. Tavares now has 11 points in his last 10 games and has picked up at least one point in nine of those contests. 

No. 3 Star: Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning

Kucherov’s overtime goal gave the Lightning a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The 23-year-old winger also picked up an assist and now has nine points in his last four games. His 29 points since Feb. 21 are the most in the NHL during that span. With their win, the Lightning improved to 81 points, one behind the Islanders and Bruins. The Lightning have played the same number of games as the Bruins and one more than New York.

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Honorable Mention: Dallas forward Jason Spezza notched three assists. … Stars forward Jamie Benn scored his 25th goal of the season. … Stars defenseman John Klingberg scored his 12th goal of the year. … Dallas forward Remi Elie notched two assists. … Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped 20 of 21 shots on goal. … Sharks defenseman Brent Burns snapped a seven-game pointless streak with an assist. … Tampa forward Ondrej Palat scored his 15th goal of the season. … Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 29 of 30 shots on goal. … Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg scored his 325th career NHL goal, which gave him sole possession of sixth place on Detroit’s all-time list. … Red Wings forwards Gustav Nyquist and Frans Nielsen assisted on Zetterberg’s goal. … New York forwards Brock Nelson, Anders Lee and Casey Cizikas picked up one goal each. … Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak stopped 37 of 40 shots on goal in his first NHL game since Dec. 29. The Islanders recalled the Halak from the AHL on Thursday. … New York forward Josh Bailey notched his 38th assist. … Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored his NHL leading 42nd goal of the season. … Pittsburgh defenseman Cameron Guance scored a goal and added an assist. … Penguins forward Matt Cullen scored his 11th goal of the year. … Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 43 of 46 shots on goal. … Anaheim Ducks goaltender Jonathan Bernier stopped 17 of 18 shots on goal in a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. … With the victory the Ducks moved into a tie for first place in the Pacific Division with the Sharks. … Anaheim forward Jakob Silfverberg scored a goal and added an assist. … Ducks forwards Corey Perry and Andrew Cogliano each scored their 15th goals of the year. … Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler notched an assist and played 26:49. … Jets Defenseman Josh Morrissey scored his team’s only goal.

Did you know? Burns became the first defenseman to notch 40-or-more points on road in a single season since Chris Chelios 1995-96. That year, Chelios had 42 points away from home and won his third Norris Trophy.

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Dishonorable Mention: San Jose forward Chris Tierney was a minus-4. … Sharks defensemen David Schlemko, Paul Martin were each a minus-3. … Burns was also a minus-3. … San Jose goaltender Aaron Dell allowed six goals on 29 shots on goal. … The Sharks have lost five in a row for the first time sine Jan. 3-13, 2011, when they lost six straight.

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Permanent link to this article: http://sportsgnome.com/2017/03/25/nhl-three-stars-cracknells-hat-trick-islanders-lightning-get-big-wins/

Canyon Barry's LeBron-esque block is the great play that nobody will remember

The play before the play began with a fly pattern, 15 feet of separation, and a ball, flying through the tension-filled Madison Square Garden air, to its target, and seemingly to the Elite Eight. It was caught, dribbled, and raised toward an expectant rim. And…

Nobody will talk about what happened next, because what happened after what happened next was the greatest shot of the 2017 NCAA tournament, and arguably one of the great shots in NCAA tournament history. But what happened precisely 36 seconds of game time before that shot should go down as one of the great overshadowed plays of March.

There was Kahlil Iverson, racing down the floor of the world’s most famous arena, about to put Wisconsin up four with 36 seconds to play. There were Wisconsin’s bench players, rising to celebrate as Iverson rose toward the rim. But there, out of nowhere, came Canyon Barry with closing speed and a chase-down block that saved Florida’s season:

As Iverson slowed to catch the slightly underthrown pass, Barry made up the 15-foot gap. As the Badgers forward, normally an explosive jumper, laboriously leapt toward the basket, Barry swept around him and turned the ball back toward a teammate rather than out of bounds.

“It was an instinct play,” Barry said after the game. “At first I thought I was going to have to foul.”

“I channeled my inner-LeBron James,” he also said.

Indeed, Barry’s play was the human version of The Block, James’ breathtaking sprint to the opposite side of the rim to swat an Andre Iguodala shot off the backboard in Game 7 of the NBA finals. The pace of Barry’s play doesn’t compare to James’, of course, and his athleticism is not as mind-blowing, but the heroic nature was similar.

Chris Chiozza’s following of the play shouldn’t be lost either. The ball fell into his hands. Ten seconds later, he whizzed passed Iverson with an in-and-out dribble and tied the game:

All of this will be lost, though, because Chiozza won the game at the buzzer with a running, flailing, falling, one-handed 3-pointer that one-upped Zak Showalter’s eerily similar shot at the end of regulation. Friday night at the Garden will be remembered as a game of two shots. Photo libraries are full of classic pictures of both. Videos have been watched by millions. Chiozza is the hero.

But don’t forget the play before the play, the block that made the buzzer-beating hysteria possible.

Permanent link to this article: http://sportsgnome.com/2017/03/25/canyon-barrys-lebron-esque-block-is-the-great-play-that-nobody-will-remember/

Elite! Chiozza hits 3 at OT buzzer, Gators beat Wisconsin (Mar 24, 2017)

NEW YORK (AP) With 4 seconds left in overtime, Chris Chiozza took off, hoping to get to the hoop or find an open man. Instead, the Florida point guard stopped short right at the 3-point line and let fly with a shot that will go down in Gators' history.

Permanent link to this article: http://sportsgnome.com/2017/03/25/elite-chiozza-hits-3-at-ot-buzzer-gators-beat-wisconsin-mar-24-2017/

Here are the Hex standings in World Cup qualifying after the USMNT’s win over Honduras

The USMNT just moved up the standings with a huge win.

Permanent link to this article: http://sportsgnome.com/2017/03/25/here-are-the-hex-standings-in-world-cup-qualifying-after-the-usmnts-win-over-honduras/

Lonzo Ball played his last game for UCLA, will declare for NBA draft

Lonzo Ball is headed to the NBA.

Permanent link to this article: http://sportsgnome.com/2017/03/25/lonzo-ball-played-his-last-game-for-ucla-will-declare-for-nba-draft/

Mexico vs. Costa Rica | CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying

Full match highlights between Mexico and Costa Rica.

Permanent link to this article: http://sportsgnome.com/2017/03/25/mexico-vs-costa-rica-concacaf-world-cup-qualifying/

Norris, seven relievers combine for no-hitter against Mariners

Norris, seven relievers combine for no-hitter

Permanent link to this article: http://sportsgnome.com/2017/03/25/norris-seven-relievers-combine-for-no-hitter-against-mariners/

McCowan’s 26 helps Miss St top Washington 75-64 (Mar 24, 2017)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) It didn't matter that Mississippi State center Teaira McCowan had scored just six points through three quarters.

Permanent link to this article: http://sportsgnome.com/2017/03/25/mccowans-26-helps-miss-st-top-washington-75-64-mar-24-2017/

All Aboard! Maryland women ride rails to NCAA regional

ABOARD AMTRAK REGIONAL 174 (AP) Brenda Frese always wants to give her team new experiences.

Permanent link to this article: http://sportsgnome.com/2017/03/24/all-aboard-maryland-women-ride-rails-to-ncaa-regional-2/

Jaguars sign tight end Mychal Rivera to 2-year contract

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed free agent tight end Mychal Rivera to a two-year contract.

Permanent link to this article: http://sportsgnome.com/2017/03/22/jaguars-sign-tight-end-mychal-rivera-to-2-year-contract/

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