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Red-hot Jets closing in on playoff spot

Tue., April 23, 2013, midnight

NHL: Antti Miettinen scored with 7:36 left to keep the surging Winnipeg Jets in the playoff race with a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night in Buffalo, N.Y.

Ondrej Pavelec stopped 24 shots, including a huge glove save on Thomas Vanek with 5:45 left to preserve the victory. Winnipeg (24-19-3) improved to 6-0-1 in its past seven games and moved within a point of the idle New York Rangers, who hold the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot in the final week of the season.

Just as important, the Jets also crept to within a point of Southeast Division-leading Washington. That sets up a critical showdown tonight, when Winnipeg travels to play the Capitals.

• Ducks capture Pacific crown: Viktor Fasth made 24 saves for his fourth shutout of the season as the Anaheim Ducks clinched the Pacific Division title with a 3-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in Edmonton, Alberta.

Ryan Getzlaf, Radek Dvorak and Sami Vatanen scored for the Ducks, who won back-to-back games in Edmonton to capture their first division title since 2007 – the year they went on to win the Stanley Cup.

• Red Wings stay in playoff hunt: Johan Franzen scored twice and Jimmy Howard had 34 saves to help the Detroit Red Wings beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-0 in Detroit to get two desperately needed points in their push to make the playoffs.

The Red Wings moved within a point of eighth-place Columbus in the Western Conference. They’re trying to extend the franchise’s postseason streak to 22 years.

• Penguins extend winning streak: Tomas Vokoun made 34 saves and Dustin Jeffrey had a goal and an assist to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to their seventh straight victory, 3-1 over the Ottawa Senators in Ottawa.

Pittsburgh has already clinched first in the Eastern Conference.

• Canucks top Blackhawks: Daniel Sedin had a goal and an assist and the Vancouver Canucks beat Chicago 3-1 in Vancouver, B.C., handing the Blackhawks just their sixth loss of the season in 45 games.

Both teams have already clinched playoff berths.

Suns, GM Blanks part ways after disaster

Basketball: The Phoenix Suns parted ways with general manager Lance Blanks after the second-worst season in franchise history, the team said.

Blanks had served as general manager since Aug. 5, 2010, joining the team at a time when he was considered one of the league’s top up-and-coming executives. But this season was a harsh one as the Suns finished 25-57, the second-worst record in franchise history behind the 16-66 effort in their inaugural season in 1968-69.

• K-State’s Rodriguez will transfer: Kansas State point guard Angel Rodriguez has decided to transfer so that he can be closer to his mother and two younger brothers in Puerto Rico.

Rodriguez played through several injuries during his sophomore season, averaging 9.8 points and 4.2 assists in helping the Wildcats win a share of their first conference championship in 36 years.

The fourth-seeded Wildcats were upset by No. 13 seed La Salle in the NCAA tournament.

Broncos’ Carter has case dismissed

Football: Las Vegas court officials say charges have been dropped in a felony case alleging that Denver Broncos safety Quinton Carter added $5 to craps bets after the dice were thrown.

Carter didn’t appear in North Las Vegas Justice Court while defense lawyer Andrew Leavitt arranged to have the third-year NFL player forfeit $1,000 in bail money as part of the agreement.

• Central Florida wins appeal: The NCAA has granted Central Florida’s appeal of a one-year postseason ban in football.

The decision will make UCF bowl-eligible as it moves into the American Athletic Conference this season.

In a release the NCAA wrote that its Committee on Infractions “determined the football postseason ban is excessive such that it constitutes an abuse of discretion.”

UCF was originally issued the ban as part of sanctions levied last July for major recruiting violations in football and basketball.

Manchester U wins record 20th title

Soccer: Manchester United won its record 20th English league title, beating Aston Villa 3-0 in Manchester, England, on Robin van Persie’s first-half hat trick to clinch the champion- ship with four games to spare.

Van Persie, signed from Arsenal last summer, put United ahead 83 seconds in when he scored from close range. He doubled the lead with a volley in the 12th minute and completed his hat trick in the 33rd minute for his league-high 24th goal of the season.

• Suarez punished for bite: Luis Suarez was charged by England’s Football Association, fined by Liverpool, and even rebuked by the government for biting an opponent.

In a Premier League match broadcast globally on Sunday, Suarez bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic’s arm. Although he escaped punishment during the game, Suarez now faces a lengthy ban.

The sum was undisclosed, but clubs can only fine players two weeks’ worth of wages without seeking permission from the Professional Footballers’ Association. Suarez said he wants money to be donated to families affected by the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium disaster, which killed 96 Liverpool fans.

CWU hires Francois as athletic director

Miscellany: Dennis Francois is leaving Drake University to become the athletic director at Central Washington.

Francois has been the associate athletic director for external affairs at Drake since 2008. He will start his new position at Central Washington on June 17.

• Bowler rolls 900 series: A North Carolina man has rolled the first 900 series in Professional Bowlers Association history – three straight perfect games.

Joe Scarborough, a 50-year-old self-employed electrical contractor from Charlotte, opened the first round of qualifying in the PBA50 Sun Bowl in The Villages, Fla., on Sunday with three games of 300, throwing 36 consecutive strikes.

• Italy reaches Fed Cup final: Roberta Vinci put Italy into the Fed Cup final, beating Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3 in Palermo, Italy, in a series postponed a day because of rain.

Italy will play for the championship in November against Russia, which defeated Slovakia in the other semifinal.


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