One NHL team still hasn't lost in regulation

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One NHL team still hasn't lost in regulation

From Comcast SportsNetNASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Blackhawks are so very ready to be back in Chicago, and they only want to make themselves as at home at the United Center as they have everywhere else during their season-high six-game road trip.Marcus Kruger and Jonathan Toews each scored 66 seconds apart in the second period, and the Chicago Blackhawks remained the NHL's lone undefeated team in regulation by beating the Nashville Predators 3-0 Sunday night."We've done some good things on this road trip," Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith said. "We want to carry that momentum back home. It's going to be difficult to be back home, so we're excited now to get home and play as hard and take that energy back we have on the road back home."Patrick Kane also added a goal in the third as the Blackhawks wrapped up this trip with their fourth straight win and improved to 10-0-2 overall and 8-0-2 away from Chicago. The Blackhawks now get to play just their third game at home Tuesday night against Anaheim when they start a seven-game homestand."I think we're all excited to get home and sleep in our own beds," Keith said. "It's going to be good. It's going to be exciting to play in front of our fans and play hard for them."Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said they've talked about not wanting to change anything."We don't want to feel like we're at home now and let the air out," he said.Goalie Corey Crawford got Chicago's first shutout of the season and the sixth of his career making 17 saves. The shutout ended a long drought for Chicago and especially Crawford whose last shutout in the regular season was March 23, 2011."However long, it was too long, and it was nice to get that for sure," Keith said.With his teammates blocking 14 shots, Crawford had plenty of time to drift, especially for about a 21-minute span over the final half of the first period and midway to the second when he didn't face a single shot. Asked when he was aware of how close he was to a shutout, Crawford said he knew with about 5 minutes left."I didn't want to think about it too much, but I knew about it," Crawford said.Nashville lost a 2-1 overtime game at Minnesota on Saturday night. Back home to start a four-game homestand, the Predators had their 17th consecutive sold-out crowd. But the Predators reverted back to their early offensive woes struggling to shoot the puck at the net.Coach Barry Trotz said his Predators were a little tired, but didn't work hard enough to get pucks up to the net.They missed their best chance at scoring when Nick Spaling's backhander sent the puck sliding across the crease before hitting off the far post at 10:02 of the first period. Nashville managed only three shots on goal in the first."We didn't really challenge them very well," Nashville forward Mike Fisher said. "It wasn't our A-game no question. They run and gun a little bit more and they bury them when they can like they did tonight."Chicago had the advantage of a couple days off after a 6-2 win at Phoenix on Thursday night, and the Blackhawks had plenty of fans on hand as they took the first of five games between these Central Division rivals this shortened season.They got some nice payback after going 2-4-0 against Nashville in losing last season's series for the first time since 2006-07. The Predators outscored Chicago 25-16 last season and had won four of the previous six games between these teams in Nashville.The rest showed in the second as the Blackhawks almost camped out in front of Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne.Rinne had won four straight starts and hadn't allowed an even-strength goal since Jan. 28. But that streak ended at 316 minutes, 40 seconds when Nashville defenseman Roman Josi kicked the puck, trying to clear it, right to Kruger near the high slot. Kruger snapped a shot over Rinne's stick for his second goal of the season at 6:14.Trotz credited a "comedy of errors" by the Predators on helping Chicago score that goal with three turnovers and then Josi kicking it to Kruger."I mean just put a tent over that circus," Trotz said. "You make five, six mistakes like that, it's going to end up in your net. It wasn't a classic goal or anything."Chicago also got a bit of luck as Keith's shot from the right circle deflected off Toews' chest in front of Rinne and went up and over the Nashville goalie into the net at 7:20 for a 2-0 lead. It was Toews' sixth goal of the season and the 150th of his career.The Blackhawks wound up with 27 shots, including Kane's ninth goal this season. He scored at 4:27 of the third after skating up the left boards and shooting at the net, sneaking the puck past Rinne for the 3-0 lead and yet another Chicago win.Notes: The Blackhawks will play their third home game Tuesday night when they host Anaheim at the United Center to start a seven-game homestand. ... These teams won't play again until April 1 for the first of four games in 19 days. ... Chicago went 18-18-5 on the road last season. ... Chicago came in with a league-best 33 goals on the road. ... Kane came in with 17 points in nine road games, best in the NHL. He now has eight goals and 10 assists.

C's edge out Sixers 107-106

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C's edge out Sixers 107-106

The Boston Celtics had another one of those nights when the defense took a lot longer to get on track than anyone with the Celtics could have felt comfortable about.

But they made just enough plays down the stretch to squeak out a 107-106 win.

Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with 37 points to go with seven assists.

Philadelphia's Dario Saric, who finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds off the bench, missed a 3-pointer that was defended tightly by Jonas Jerebko, that was rebounded by Marcus Smart.

With 8.6 seconds to play, Smart made both free throws to make it a two-possession game.

Philadelphia's Ersan Ilyasova hit a 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds to play, which led to Boston's Brad Stevens immediately calling a time-out.

Coming out of the time-out, Boston's Jae Crowder in-bounded the ball to Al Horford who was fouled with 1.7 seconds to play.

Horford made both free throws to seal the victory. With a four-point lead, Ilyasova hit yet another 3-pointer as the final horn expired.

Down the stretch, the Celtics were led by Thomas who scored 12 of their last 17 points.

After leading 90-88, Thomas scored eight straight to put Boston ahead 98-91.

But the Sixers were getting a career night from Saric whose scoop shot with 34.6 seconds to play tied the game at 100.

Following a Celtics time-out, Thomas continued his dominant fourth quarter with a blow by lay-up past Saric.

The Sixers, down 102-100, called a time-out with 30 seconds.

Philadelphia had three shots at the rim following the time-out, but the ball eventually wound up in the hands of Avery Bradley who was fouled with 16.3 seconds to play.

Bradley,who had 20 points and nine rebounds, made the second of the two free throws that put Boston ahead by three points.

After being tied at 74 through three quarters, the Celtics opened the fourth with an 8-2 run highlighted by an Al Horford 3-pointer that made it an 82-76 game.

The Sixers called a time-out with 10:22 to play, well aware that the game’s fleeting momentum was squarely in Boston’s favor.

Philadelphia didn’t fall too far behind, but the Celtics’ control of the game seemed to continue to grow.

Boston got back into the game with timely stops, big blocks (Jaylen Brown) and a bunch of multiple effort plays which collectively were in stark contrast to how things went in the first half.

Philadelphia has been among the worst teams in the NBA this season, and were playing without their best player Joel Embiid who does not play in the second night of back-to-back games (Philadelphia played Orlando on Friday night).

So without their best interior force offensively, the Sixers relied heavily on their 3-point shooting.

It was a good strategy that the Celtics had no answer for in the first half which was one in which Boston spent primarily playing catch-up.

The Sixers, who came into the game ranked ninth in the NBA in 3-point shooting (36.1 percent) and seventh in 3-pointers made (10.6), were a blistering 9-for-18 on 3s in the first half.

Meanwhile, Boston’s offense never seemed to get into any kind of flow or rhythm which was a key to the Celtics going into the half trailing 53-45 after having fallen behind by as many as 11 points.

At the half: Sixers applying pressure early and often against the Celtics

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At the half: Sixers applying pressure early and often against the Celtics

The Celtics are getting more than they bargained for against the Philadelphia 76ers who are once again, record-wise, among the worst teams in the NBA.

They didn’t look like it in the first half which ended with the Celtics trailing the Sixers 53-45.

Boston came into the game having won its last four road games. And they did so by playing solid defense, something that has been noticeably absent in the first half.

Philadelphia came into the game as one of the NBA’s better 3-point shooting teams and has lived up to the lofty ranking.

In the first half Philadelphia made nine of its 18 three-point attempts while the Celtics are way, way, way at the other end of the 3-point shooting spectrum while missing eight of their 11 3s with Isaiah Thomas making a pair with the lone other made 3-pointer coming from Marcus Smart.

The defense struggled, the offense never had any kind of flow and not surprisingly, the Celtics found themselves playing from behind most of the first half.

Here are the first half stars from Saturday’s game.

STARS

Sergio Rodriguez: His playmaking was solid as usual, but it was Rodriguez getting it going with his jumper that really produced surprisingly strong results for the Sixers. He had 11 points, four assists and a steal in the first half.

Isaiah Thomas: Playing his game which is shooting and attacking the rim, Thomas was Boston’s lone double-digit scorer in the first half with 15 points which is tops among all players.

STUDS

Dario Saric: It was a solid first half as Saric contributed both on the boards and the scoreboard. He had 10 points in the first half along with five rebounds.

Gerald Henderson: Henderson had one of those high efficiency-type games with 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting.

DUDS

Celtics 3-point shooting: It was a miserable first half for a team that has been among the NBA’s leaders in 3-pointers made and taken this season. At the half, Boston has shot 2-for-10 on 3's.

Celtics defense: Boston has shown little to no signs of providing the kind of push-back they’ll need in order to leave Philly with a win. In addition to allowing Philadelphia to shoot 47.4 percent from the field, Boston also allowed the Sixers to knock down nine 3's.