Fleury expected to return as Knights face Hurricanes

“When we got him (in the expansion draft), he was the face of our franchise, and he’s a big part of our club,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. “He looks real good. He seems quick. He’s missed a lot of time, but he’s been on the ice the past week and he seems like he’s ready to go. We’re all excited to have him back.”

“I’ve heard good things about the atmosphere and arena,” Carolina coach Bill Peters said. “I look forward to getting the opportunity to bounce back and get two points.”

Fleury must guard against looking ahead to Thursday, when his former team, two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh, comes to Las Vegas.

“I know it’s coming; I can’t hide it,” said Fleury, who played all of his previous 13 NHL seasons with the Penguins. “But there is still a game to be played and a few practices before that. To have a chance to face them for the first time will be nice. I’m looking forward to it.”

Week 14 of the NFL season presents multiple scenarios in which teams can clinch permanent spots in the playoff picture. Last week, only the Eagles could do so, as they needed just a win or a Cowboys loss to take the NFC East title and earn a trip to the 2017 postseason. Neither Dallas nor Seattle obliged..

Hayes recorded his sixth of the season at 11:59 of the third period when he lifted a backhand past Kinkaid to cap the scoring.

Lundqvist earned his 419th career victory, passing Tony Esposito for the second-most wins by a goalie with one franchise in league history. Former Devils goalie Martin Brodeur holds the record with 688.

Vesey opened the scoring at 6:14 of the first period. The second-year forward has played up-and-down the Rangers’ lineup but started the game on the fourth line. Boo Nieves forced a turnover in the offensive zone and then Paul Carey set up Vesey for the opening goal. Carey extended his point streak to four games.panthers_115

O’Brien was criticized after his postgame news conference for deflecting blame for the fact Savage stayed in the game.

Case Keenum deserves to be in the MVP conversation — Keenum is not just managing the game well, he’s making incredible plays. He was 21 of 30 for 282 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a 9-yard score.

It was the type of throw an MVP-caliber quarterback makes. After having just three games with at least three touchdowns over the last five years, Keenum now has three such games this season. He’s thrown 14 touchdown passes to just five interceptions this season to not only earn the right to start, but to be in the MVP conversation.

Clearly, the illegal market dwarfs the numbers taken in by legal books; the AGA estimates $200 million was legally gambled on Super Bowl 51, versus $4.5 billion in illegal wagering.

The Panthers need to go 2-2 or worse in their other four games, and/or the Falcons need to go 1-2 after beating the Saints to give the Packers a chance over either South team.

Carolina goes to Atlanta in Week 17. Before, in addition to hosting Green Bay, it also hosts Minnesota and plays at Tampa Bay. Atlanta travels to Tampa Bay and New Orleans before closing vs. Carolina.

On Monday, he defended his comments, saying he’s “not passing the buck” for what occurred.

In an interview that aired as part of NBC’s pregame show ahead of the Steelers’ comeback win over the Packers on Sunday, the Pittsburgh coach said he couldn’t deny the suspense ahead of the upcoming showdown that could determine home-field advantage down the road in the playoffs.

Nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, return specialist/running back Darren Sproles, star linebacker Jordan Hicks and special-teams captain Chris Maragos already went down for the season.royals_002

“It’s my night,” he pleaded with the rookie ump, “not yours!”

Manning has started 210 consecutive regular-season games, across 13 seasons, second only behind Brett Favre’s 297 straight. Manning took over for Kurt Warner in the 10th game of his rookie season, on Nov. 21, 2004, and had started every regular-season game since, in addition to 12 postseason games that included two Super Bowl victories.

Manning said he was given the option of starting against Oakland to keep the streak alive, but declined.

And there was that game at old County Stadium in 1986, when a big crowd turned out to welcome the hugely popular Gorman Thomas back to the Milwaukee Brewers.

The first time Thomas batted, Scott called strike three. The fading slugger went 0-for-4 and when he got rung up in his last at-bat, it was more than Thomas could take.

It’s a huge leap to suggest that an official’s ties to an organization almost 40 years ago might in any way affect his impartiality and/or judgment in working a game. Still, this is obviously not a good look for the NFL, and Payton’s comments about the officials in the Saints’ 20-17 loss only highlight the situation.

“As per standard procedure, both clubs received the officiating crew for Week 14 on November 30,” NFL spokesman Mike Signora told NBC’s Pro Football Talk on Sunday. “The officiating schedule is made by the NFL Officiating staff, so they determine who is assigned to what game.”

Pro Football Talk also noted that McKinnely was not originally scheduled to work that game, but was added to the game crew.
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The Steelers intercepted Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota four times and held Tennessee to just 52 rushing yards.

Philip Rivers of the Chargers is on pace for his lowest completion percentage (60.1) since becoming a starter in 2006. Oakland’s Derek Carr already has more interceptions through nine games (seven) than all of last year (six). Denver’s Trevor Siemian failed to follow up on a solid 2016 season and was replaced two weeks ago by, shudder, Brock Osweiler.

The Falcons rebounded from not making the playoffs despite a 6-0 start in 2015 to go 11-5 last season. They started 3-0 before falling quickly to 3-3 this season. They were left for a free-fall given the way Super Bowl LI ended, and that didn’t happen. Coach Dan Quinn’s team has developed a habit of responding with resilience, which will be a key asset in the final month and a half.

Roethlisberger tallied 299 passing yards to go with his four scores, while Antonio Brown caught 10 passes for 144 yards and three touchdowns. Chris Boswell also added four field goals for Pittsburgh.

Sporting News provided live updates throughout Thursday’s game. Here’s how Pittsburgh came away with the home win.

Kamara finished with 152 yards from scrimmage on 10 rushes and six catches, giving quarterback Drew Brees the kind of game-changer out of the backfield he hasn’t enjoyed since the heyday of Darren Sproles earlier this decade.

There wasn’t even any effective spying of Newton, who rumbled for 69 yards on one play as part of his 95 yards rushing.nike_steelers_2106

Don’t worry about Cowboys as Ezekiel Elliott suspension uncertainty continues

As the seemingly never-ending Ezekiel Elliott suspension story unfolds, many presume the weekly drama of will-he-or-won’t-he-play is a huge distraction for Cowboys coaches, players and team executives. Many also think Dallas’ opponent each week is frazzled by uncertainty as it decides whether to prepare for Elliott.

“Why is this relevant? Because, based on the quality of the product McAdoo and Reese oversaw on the field Sunday, you couldn’t have blamed Giants ownership if they’d barred their head coach and GM from entering the bus, instead leaving them to cab it to the airport and fly middle-seat coach cabin back to Jersey. But you can bet the thought ran through the disillusioned minds of John Mara and Steve Tisch.”

With its recent performances, the Redskins’ defense has fallen to 31st in points per game. The Giants’ defense is tied for 21st.

Both teams struggle on third down on both sides of the ball. Washington is 22nd in third-down efficiency on offense and 23rd on defense. The Giants are 29th on offense and 27th on defense.

The Titans and Steelers both enter “Thursday Night Football” in Week 11 on four-game winning streaks, with Pittsburgh (7-2) tied for the best record in the AFC and Tennessee (6-3) tied for the lead in the AFC South. Such a matchup of AFC playoff contenders makes for one of the more appealing Thursday night games of the 2017 season.nike_steelers_714

Samaje Perine heads list of top fantasy football free-agent finds for Week 12

Marshon Lattimore, CB, New Orleans Saints: While breaking up a pass attempt in the end zone against Josh Doctson, Lattimore appeared to tweak his left leg and was attended to on the field before walking to the sideline with a noticeable limp. He was declared questionable to return, but made his return in the second half. It was a short-lived return, however, as he was involved in a hard collision on his first play back and left the game again before heading to the locker room.

With Wilson still at the controls of an explosive, albeit one-dimensional, offense, they can pass their way to several more wins regardless of not having Sherman. The defense is a resilient, tight-knit and savvy group that will get the other corners to raise their games. They still can’t be asked to come close to Sherman’s all-around level, though.

Touchdown, Green Bay. The Packers move to the Lions’ 21 on a 46-yard pass from Hundley to Randall Cobb. Four plays later, Hundley keeps it himself and punches it in for the score to cut the Packers’ deficit to 20-10 with 9:52 to play.

Carson Wentz threw for two touchdowns and three 2-point conversions after Philadelphia lost kicker Jake Elliott to a head injury, and the Eagles all but wrapped up the NFC East with a 37-9 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.

The Eagles (9-1) outscored the Cowboys 30-0 in the second half while extending their winning streak to eight games, their longest since 2003-04 and tied with New Orleans for the best current run in the NFL.
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Cowboys will be without LT Tyron Smith Sunday, report says

The Cowboys will reportedly be without All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith (groin) for their game Sunday against the Eagles.

Bell didn’t fair much better. He allowed another sack to Clayborn and then one more as well in all of 17 snaps played in the game. However, according to the NFL Network, the team has confidence in Bell to get the job done.

With Bell getting the start this week he will also be more prepared for what he is facing out on the field.

“When I get in trouble is when I play complacent and timid,” Bell told the Dallas Morning News. “I’ve just got to go out there and cut it loose. If I’m going to get beat, I just know this, I’m going to get beat my [expletive] way.”

The struggling Flyers (8-9-5) have allowed eight power-play goals in their last four games after permitting only 12 while short-handed in their previous 18 games to start the season.

Taylor Leier opened the scoring for the Flyers at 6:02 of the first, scoring his first of the season with assists by Travis Sanheim and Scott Laughton.

Islanders rookie sensation Mathew Barzal tied the game at 1 with a power-play goal at 18:53 of the opening period, his fifth goal of the season. Barzal finished off a series of passes when he rifled the puck past Elliott. Bailey and Nick Leddy assisted.

The Patriots started slower than they wanted at 2-2, but that was hardly due to anything relating to Tom Brady. One of the questions entering the season was if Brady, who turned 40 in August, would show any signs of decline. Have you seen any? He’s once again a contender for MVP honors. — Mike Reiss

Carson Wentz leads the league with 25 touchdowns and has guided the Eagles to a 9-1 record. Safe to say he’s aced the first 10 weeks of the season. Most anticipated incremental growth from the second-year signal caller. Instead, he’s rapidly developed into one of the top QBs in the league. Just 26 starts into his career, Wentz is on the cusp of stardom. — Tim McManus
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Jameis Winston denies groping Uber driver; NFL reportedly investigating

Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is being investigated by the NFL after an Uber driver accused him of groping her in 2016, BuzzFeed News reported Friday.

A news organization has published a story about me regarding an alleged incident involving a female Uber driver from approximately two years ago. The story falsely accuses me of making inappropriate contact with this driver. I believe the driver was confused as to the number of passengers in the car and who was sitting next to her. The accusation is false, and given the nature of the allegation and increased awareness and consideration of these types of matters, I am addressing this false report immediately. At the time of the alleged incident, I denied the allegations to Uber, yet they still decided to suspend my account.

Case Keenum completed 27 of 38 passes for 280 yards and no turnovers against the team that benched him last season for No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff. He also guided the Vikings (8-2) to their sixth straight victory in a matchup of division leaders.

Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth and Heather Cox (field reporter) will call the Seahawks-Cardinals game for NBC on Thursday night in Arizona. At 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC, NFL Network and Amazon Prime Video, “Football Night in Arizona” airs from inside University of Phoenix Stadium with host Liam McHugh and analysts Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison providing the final say leading up to kickoff between the Seahawks and Cardinals.
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Al Michaels says Donald Trump’s comments on the NFL made things worse

NBC broadcaster Al Michaels said there’s a good chance protests in the NFL have led to the recent ratings drop, but President Donald Trump’s comments about the league made matters worse.

In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Michaels said Trump’s statement regarding NFL players who kneel during the national anthem should be “fired” made an already delicate situation more volatile.

“Once the president made those remarks in Alabama, at that particular point it was like throwing a match into a gas tank,” Michaels told the Inquirer. “During the off-season, both sides just have to sit down and figure out a way to make this a situation where it doesn’t overwhelm the conversation about the NFL.”

He has since apologized for his comments.

Thursday night’s Seahawks-Cardinals game, set to kick off at 8:25 p.m. ET and air on NBC and NFL Network, also will be available via live stream through Amazon Prime Video. And while Seattle has its chance to get back on track, Arizona (4-4) has a chance to steal second place in the division and keep their playoff chances alive.

That’s when Waiters attempted to hold off Boston on his own. The Heat guard hit a critical 3-pointer — one that bounced off the top of the backboard before falling through — to put Miami back up by four. He followed that with a step-back 3 in the corner — no backboard necessary this time — to extend the lead to 97-90.
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Carson Wentz, Marshon Lattimore among biggest risers in ‘Madden NFL 18’ ratings

Carson Wentz was the frontrunner for NFL MVP entering Week 11 of the 2017 season, and the Eagles quarterback’s impressive play this year has been mirrored in “Madden NFL 18.”

Two other quarterbacks also have tumbled this season. The Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger (-5 to 86 Overall) and the Panthers’ Cam Newton (-5 to 83 Overall) have struggled at times.

Only a few NFL players have seen their “Madden” ratings plummet dramatically this season. Among those are Ravens safety Eric Weddle (-9 to 84 Overall), Patriots safety Devin McCourty (-9 to 83 Overall) and Raiders linebacker NaVorro Bowman (-10 to 78 Overall).

Thursday, the Giants rallied around their embattled coach, with several calling the players who made those anonymously sourced remarks “cowards,” and one saying they’ll eventually find out who talked.

“But point blank, whoever said that is a coward.”

Linebacker Jonathan Casillas said it’s like having a “rat in the locker room.”

“It sucks that something like that was said,” Casillas told SNY.tv. “Everything is supposed to be in-house, and for something like that to be said is бн I don’t know, it’s like a rat in the locker room. I feel like we’ve got a close-knit group, and I don’t know how something like that could’ve been said. It’s cowardly to do something like that.”

“I have a responsibility to do what’s best for our football team. Although this wasn’t an easy decision, we needed to make this change. We have to play a more efficient brand of football offensively as we begin the final stretch of our season. Mike is an outstanding coach and a great person. He had a lot of opportunities this offseason, and he chose us. I have the utmost respect for Mike and wish him all the best in the future.”broncos_090-500x500