Kings crush Ducks in Game 7

Hockey: Justin Williams, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards scored in an overwhelming first period, and the Los Angeles Kings advanced to their third straight NHL Western Conference finals with a 6-2 victory over the Ducks at Anaheim, California, in Game 7 of their second-round series Friday night.

Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik and Tanner Pearson also scored, and Jonathan Quick made 25 saves to help the Kings claim the first postseason Freeway Faceoff series in thrilling style, winning back-to-back elimination games over their top-seeded Southern California rivals.

The Kings improved to 6-0 when facing elimination this spring, shredding rookie goalie John Gibson for four goals in the first 23 minutes in Game 7.

The defeat likely ended the career of 43-year-old Teemu Selanne, who intends to retire.

The Kings advanced to a conference finals rematch with the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks.

Game 1 is Sunday in Chicago.

The Kings added the victory to their 7-1 record in elimination games over the past two years, showing off the remarkable poise that has led to eight playoff series victories in three seasons. The 2012 Stanley Cup champions took charge in the first period and led 5-0 late in the second, never allowing the Ducks to get close in their own building.

• Penguins fire GM Shero: The Pittsburgh Penguins have fired general manager Ray Shero while the status of coach Dan Bylsma will be evaluated.

Assistant general manager Jason Botterill will serve as general manager on an interim basis while the team searches for Shero’s replacement.

Val-d’Or winner as Memorial Cup opens: Antoine Bibeau made 51 saves in lifting the Val-d’Or Foreurs to a 1-0 win over the host London (Ontario) Knights to begin the Memorial Cup. Anthony Mantha scored the game’s only goal in the first period.

The Western Hockey League champion Edmonton Oil Kings face the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm today.

NFL sacks leader Mathis suspended

NFL: Sacks champion Robert Mathis has been suspended for four games for violating the league’s policy on performance- enhancing drugs. Mathis set a Colts franchise record with 191/2 sacks last season, winning the league title in that category.

Browns release Little: The Cleveland Browns have released inconsistent wide receiver Greg Little. The 24-year-old Little became expendable after Cleveland added veteran wide receivers Miles Austin and Earl Bennett to its roster.

Little led the team in receptions in 2011 and 2012 but was also plagued by dropped passes and other drama.

Todd leads by two at Byron Nelson

Golf: Brendon Todd birdied his final two holes to take a two-stroke lead after two rounds at the Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Texas.

The birdies at Nos. 17 and 18 wrapped up a 6-under 64 and put Todd alone atop the crowded leaderboard at 8-under 132. Among eight players at 6 under were Martin Kaymer, The Players Championship winner Sunday, and Paul Casey after his PGA Tour record back nine of 8-under 27 that included six birdies and an eagle. He finished with a 7-under 63.

Spokane’s Alex Prugh shot a 71 and was at 2-under 138 at the TPC Four Seasons Resort.

• Park on top after play suspended: Hee Young Park led at 8 under when play was suspended during the second round of the Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Virginia. Park shot a 3-under 68 to take a one-stroke lead over Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lang, Lexi Thompson, Azahara Munoz and Lizette Salas.

• Calcavecchia up by one: Mark Calcavecchia made an 8-foot birdie putt on the final hole to take a one-stroke lead over Jay Haas after the second round of the Regions Tradition at Shoal Creek in Birmingham, Alabama. Calcavecchia another 3-under 69 to reach 6-under, while Haas had a 70 after they came in as part of a four-way tie at the Champions Tour major.

Bouhanni at Giro; Matthews keeps lead

Cycling: Nacer Bouhanni of France sprinted to victory on the seventh stage of the Giro d’Italia, while Michael Matthews retained the overall leader’s pink jersey after another lengthy leg that had two categorized climbs along the 131 miles from Frosinone to Foligno in Italy. Wenatchee’s Tyler Farrar recovered from a flat tire to power back to the peloton from a long way back, and eventually finished sixth.

• Chaves wins stage in California: Colombia’s Esteban Chaves won the hilly sixth stage of the Tour of California in 100-degree heat, and Britain’s Bradley Wiggins increased his lead in the overall standings.

Chaves completed the 99.4-mile leg from Santa Clarita to the mountain community of Wrightwood in 4 hours, 9 minutes, 13 seconds.

Blatter: Cup in Qatari summer a mistake

Miscellany: FIFA president Sepp Blatter says it is “a mistake” to hold soccer’s World Cup in the searing summer heat of Qatar. Blatter says it is “more than likely” that the 2022 event will be moved to the winter.

• Nadal in semifinals: Rafael Nadal will play Grigor Dimitrov while Novak Djokovic and Milos Raonic will meet in the other half of the draw at tennis’ Italian Open in Rome.

In the women’s semifinals, Serena Williams will play Ana Ivanovic while Sara Errani faces Jelena Jankovic.

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Day after Pepperdine

Back with my day-after Pepperdine post. The Zags held off the Waves 69-66 to remain a half-game up (tied in the loss column) with Saint Mary’s atop the WCC standings. ...



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