Makar Signs with Avalanche
Cale Makar is about to jump from one grueling playoff run straight into another.
The 20-year-old defenseman signed a three-year, entry-level deal with the Colorado Avalanche a day after his Massachusetts squad lost 3-0 in the Frozen Four championship game to Minnesota-Duluth.
Makar, who’s from Calgary, could make his NHL debut Monday in Game 3 of a playoff series against the Flames. The series is tied at a game apiece.
The 6-foot, 192-pound Makar was the fourth overall pick by Colorado in the 2017 draft. Makar recently won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey’s top player after a season in which he had 49 points, including 16 goals, over 41 games.
The host Columbus Blue Jackets extended their stunning postseason mastery of the Tampa Bay Lightning, beating the NHL’s best team 3-1 and moving to within a game of sweeping the playoff series.
Matt Duchene, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Cam Atkinson scored, and Sergei Bobrovsky fended off a desperate third-period charge to finish with 30 saves for the Blue Jackets, who took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal. Columbus will try to win a playoff series for the first time in franchise history in Game 4 at home Tuesday night. ... Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson scored 62 seconds apart in the first period to quickly erase a rare deficit, Robin Lehner stopped 25 shots and the New York Islanders moved within one victory of finishing off Sidney Crosby and the rest of the frustrated Pittsburgh Penguins with a 4-1 win to take a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal. ... Alex Rigsby stopped four of five shots in a shootout and the United States beat Finland, 2-1, for its fifth consecutive gold medal at the women’s world championship. The U.S. won after a questionable goaltender interference review wiped out what would have been a historic overtime goal for the Finns.
Bucks, Trail Blazers win
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points and 17 rebounds in just 24 minutes, and the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks showed they were serious about making a playoff run with a 121-86 rout of the Detroit Pistons in Game 1.
The MVP candidate ran and dunked all over the Pistons, who only really caught him when center Andre Drummond shoved him to the ground with both hands late in the third quarter after Antetokounmpo grabbed an offensive rebound with Detroit trailing by 41 points. Drummond was given a flagrant 2 foul and ejected. He threw a kiss to the Fiserv Forum crowd as he was escorted off the court.
After eight straight playoff losses over the past two years, the Portland Trail Blazers finally got a win.
Damian Lillard scored 30 points and the third-seeded Blazers opened their series against the No. 6 Oklahoma City Thunder with a 104-99 victory.
Portland was swept by New Orleans last season and the Warriors the year before. Enes Kanter added 20 points and a career playoff-high 18 rebounds for the Blazers, who were making their sixth straight postseason appearance. CJ McCollum added 24 points.
Yankees still struggling
Ravaged by injuries, the New York Yankees hardly resemble the 100-win team that set a major league record for homers last year.
And even though it’s very early in the season, they are frittering away games during a favorable portion of their schedule. Tim Anderson hit his first career grand slam and Carlos Rodon pitched the Chicago White Sox to a 5-2 victory over the scuffling Yankees. New York is 3-6 at home against the Orioles, Tigers and White Sox -- all projected also-rans that lost at least 98 games last year.
Johnson running Boston
Just because he won’t be surrounded by 3,300-pound cars traveling at more than 200 mph doesn’t mean Jimmie Johnson will be able to relax when he runs the Boston Marathon on Monday.
If the seven-time NASCAR champion isn’t thinking about his heart rate or his pace, he’ll be concentrating on the conditions or the course or whether he is drinking enough water.
In that way, it’s a lot like his regular job.
“If it’s a lap time I’m trying to hit or a heart rate you’re trying to hit, either way it’s not comfortable,” Johnson said during a break from the two-way training he has undertaken to get ready for a 26.2-mile footrace in the middle of the NASCAR season. “You’re in very similar head space. It’s shocking how similar it is.”