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Rangers end Devils’ faint playoff hopes

Mon., April 22, 2013, midnight

NHL: Ryan Callahan scored a goal in the opening minute and another in the third period, and Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves as the New York Rangers eliminated the visiting New Jersey Devils from the Eastern Conference playoff race with a 4-1 victory on Sunday.

Callahan provided the lead 34 seconds in, Derek Stepan added a goal in the first period, and Taylor Pyatt snapped a long drought in the second for the eighth-place Rangers, who are inching closer to a playoff berth.

Lundqvist was solid in his 12th straight start, allowing only Andrei Loktionov’s goal with 6:30 remaining.

The Devils’ longshot playoff hopes were dashed, meaning last season’s conference champions won’t get a chance to defend their title. New Jersey had won two straight following a 10-game skid (0-6-4).

Blue Jackets get boost: Ryan Johansen scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:37 remaining to give the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets a big boost in their push for the playoffs with a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks.

The Blue Jackets moved into a tie for seventh place with Minnesota in the Western Conference with 51 points. The Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings are tied for ninth place, three points back in the race for the final playoff spot.

Wild’s playoff push stalls: Joey MacDonald made 34 saves, Mark Cundari scored a goal in his first NHL game and the Calgary Flames beat Minnesota 4-1 in St. Paul, Minn., to hand the Wild a potentially harmful home loss in their push for the playoffs.

Zach Parise got his team-high 17th goal for the Wild.

Kings alone in fourth: Jeff Carter deflected the winning goal off his upper body with 51 seconds left in overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings took sole possession of fourth place in the Western Conference with a 4-3 victory over the visiting Dallas Stars.

Alex Goligoski scored early in the third period and Kari Lehtonen stopped 27 shots for the Stars, who have lost three of four.

Surgery likely for Oilers’ Nugent-Hopkins: Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will miss the final five games of the season with a shoulder injury. The team said on its Twitter account that Nugent-Hopkins is flying to Cleveland to have his shoulder examined and that surgery is likely.

Nadal’s Monte Carlo win streak snapped

Tennis: Novak Djokovic ended Rafael Nadal’s winning streak at the Monte Carlo Masters, beating the eight-time defending champion 6-2, 7-6 (1) in the final in Monaco.

Nadal won his 46 previous matches at Monte Carlo, including a victory over Djokovic in last year’s final. The Spaniard’s last defeat in this event was against Guillermo Coria 10 years ago.

U.S. clinches win over Sweden: Venus Williams beat Johanna Larsson 6-3, 7-5 to give the United States an insurmountable 3-1 lead against Sweden in the Fed Cup World Group in Delray Beach, Fla.

The victory guarantees the U.S. a spot in the coveted 2014 Fed Cup World Group, while Sweden will play 2014 World Group II action.

Earlier in the day, top-ranked Serena Williams boosted the U.S. to a 2-1 lead when she posted a 6-2, 6-1 win over 54th-ranked Sofia Arvidsson.

Mikulak adds to haul for Wolverines

Gymnastics: Olympian Sam Mikulak added to his already jam-packed NCAA men’s gymnastics resume with two more titles in State College, Pa.

The Michigan standout won individual crowns on the parallel bars and high bar to cap a big weekend for the Wolverines at the NCAA championships.

Mikulak had already won the all-around competition Saturday night, helping Michigan take home the team title on the home floor of Big Ten rival Penn State.

Florida continues domination: Florida’s Bridget Sloan won the balance beam and teammate Alaina Johnson won the uneven bars as the Gators continued to dominate the NCAA women’s gymnastics championships in Los Angeles.

Record crowd sees Thorns edge Reign

Miscellany: Alex Morgan and Marian Dougherty each scored a goal to lead the Portland Thorns to a 2-1 victory over the visiting Seattle Reign.

The Thorns (1-0-1) got the first win in franchise history and drew 16,479 to Jeld-Wen Field – a record for the National Women’s Soccer League in its debut season.

Seattle (0-1-1) was without most of its marquee players. Goalie Hope Solo is out until late summer with a wrist injury, while midfielder Megan Rapinoe is playing in France and won’t be available to the Reign until June.

Derby contenders work out at Churchill Downs: Verrazano and Revolutionary were among five Kentucky Derby contenders posting workouts at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Unbeaten Verrazano worked five furlongs in 1:00.20, while Louisiana Derby winner Revolutionary breezed four furlongs in 48:80 with three-time Derby winner Calvin Borel aboard for the first time since being chosen to ride the colt.

Both 3-year-olds are trained by Todd Pletcher, who could have as many as six of the 20 horses in the Derby on May 4.

Other Derby contenders working out were Normandy Invasion, second to Verrazano in the Wood Memorial, who went four furlongs in 48.20; Louisiana Derby runner-up Mylute (four furlongs, 47.80); and Will Take Charge (one mile, 1:41.60).

Oracle, Luna Rossa take titles: Oracle Team USA won the 2012-13 America’s Cup World Series overall championship in Naples, Italy, and Italy’s Luna Rossa took the Naples series for the second consecutive year.

Tom Slingsby’s Oracle boat came from behind to edge Luna Rossa Swordfish in the match racing final before Francesco Bruni staged a comeback for the Italians. Swordfish passed Oracle on the final downwind leg of the final fleet race for a 33-second victory.

Martin captures Liege-Bastogne-Liege: Daniel Martin of Ireland won the hilly Liege-Bastogne-Liege race, pulling away from Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez in the uphill stretch to the finish in Brussels to take cycling’s oldest classic.

Martin made sure he wouldn’t be beaten by Rodriguez’s sprint and made his move at the right moment with such a strong kick he had time to look back and celebrate by waving his arms before crossing the line.

Alejandro Valverde, another Spaniard, beat the other members of a breakaway group to take third place.

It was a team victory for Garmin-Sharp after Canadian Ryder Hesjedal had set a stifling pace to keep the breakaway group of six out of the clutches of the chasing group.


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