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Capitals force game 7 with OT win over Penguins

Alexander Ovechkin (8),  celebrates after David Steckel’s (39) OT goal.  (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Alexander Ovechkin (8), celebrates after David Steckel’s (39) OT goal. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
From Staff And Wire Reports

David Steckel scored on a deflection of Brooks Laich’s shot and the Washington Capitals finally won an overtime playoff game, beating the Penguins 5-4 on Monday night in Pittsburgh, to force a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Capitals, losers of their seven previous overtime games, couldn’t hold a 4-3 lead late in regulation when Sidney Crosby scored, but made up for it when Steckel went to the net immediately after winning a faceoff. Laich wristed the puck on net from the right circle and Steckel put it past Marc-Andre Fleury 6:22 into the overtime.

•Blackhawks advance past Canucks: Patrick Kane scored three times, Jonathan Toews had the go-ahead goal in a frantic final period and the Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks 7-5 in Chicago to win the Western Conference semifinal series 4-2.

The Blackhawks’ Nikolai Khabibulin made 33 saves and Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo 23.

•Walker fined, not suspended: Carolina Hurricanes forward Scott Walker will not be suspended but was fined $2,500 by the NHL for throwing a punch that may have broken a bone in Boston defenseman Aaron Ward’s face.

•Madano to return: Mike Modano is coming back for his 20th NHL season.

A month after the Dallas Stars ended their season without a playoff berth, and Modano said he would take some time to ponder if he would retire, the highest-scoring U.S.-born player in NHL history said he would play in 2009-10.

•Thrashers not moving: The Atlanta Thrashers have had “several inquiries” from possible investors, but have not had talks about moving the team.

One of the team’s owners, Washington businessman Bruce Levenson, said “there is no truth to the rumor” the ownership group has been involved in discussions about taking the team out of Atlanta, including with a Vancouver group reportedly interested in relocating the Thrashers to Hamilton, Ontario.

•Lightning make Tocchet full time: The Tampa Bay Lightning made Rick Tocchet their full-time coach, lifting the interim tag and giving him a multiyear contract.


Pauley Pavilion upgrades

UCLA is giving Pauley Pavilion a $185 million facelift in hopes of putting one of college basketball’s most recognized arenas on the national map again.

The renovation plans will include a new entrance, locker rooms for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams and over 1,000 additional seats to bring its capacity to nearly 14,000.

The construction, expected to start in February 2010 and finish in the fall of 2012, will displace the men’s and women’s teams for the 2011-12 season.

•DiLeo out as 76ers coach: Philadelphia 76ers interim coach Tony DiLeo has withdrawn his name from consideration for the permanent coaching job.

Sixers general manager Ed Stefanski says DiLeo decided to return to his old job in the front office as a senior vice president and assistant general manager. He says the search for a replacement will begin immediately.

•Raptors sign Triano: Jay Triano signed a three-year contract to coach the Toronto Raptors, dropping the interim tag after taking over the team during the season. Triano was promoted Dec. 3 after Sam Mitchell’s dismissal.

•Kings show interest in Westphal: The Sacramento Kings plan to interview Paul Westphal this week for their head coaching vacancy.

•Former NBA star sworn in: Businessman and former NBA star Dave Bing is now the mayor of Detroit, and the third person to hold the job in eight months.

The former Detroit Pistons great took the oath of office Monday.

Bing beat incumbent Ken Cockrel Jr. in a special runoff election last week and will serve through year’s end to finish Kwame Kilpatrick’ term.


Williams gets probation

NFL receiver Reggie Williams must serve two years of probation for cocaine possession in a case in which a Taser was used to subdue him in Houston.

Williams pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance. A judge sentenced the 25-year-old unrestricted free agent to deferred adjudication and fined Williams $200.


Petacchi takes Giro lead

Alessandro Petacchi of Italy won his second straight stage in the Giro d’Italia and took the overall lead from Mark Cavendish of Britain in Valdobbiadene, Italy.

Lance Armstrong, competing in his first Giro, finished in the main pack in 50th place, with the same time as Petacchi. The seven-time Tour de France winner advanced to fifth place from 10th overall, 31 seconds behind Petacchi.

Christian Vande Velde of the U.S. withdrew from the race after breaking two ribs and bruising and spraining his back in a fall at the 87th mile.


Bolt back on track

Olympic triple gold medalist Usain Bolt says he is ready to return to the track after his recent car crash and will run in England on Sunday.

The 22-year-old returned to training last week after crashing his car into a ditch along a Jamaican highway April 29.

He had minor surgery on his left foot to remove thorns that he stepped in as he got out of the car.

•Reeve enters NYC Marathon: Matthew Reeve will wear bib No. 1275 at the New York City Marathon, a significant number for the son of the late Christopher Reeve.

It represents the 1.275 million people with spinal cord injuries – the money he raises will go to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

The 29-year-old Reeve will make his marathon debut on Nov. 1, the New York Road Runners announced. He’ll be part of Team Reeve, one of a record 75 official New York City Marathon charities.

•Williams injured in Madrid: Serena Williams pulled out of the Madrid Open after aggravating an injury to her right knee during a first-round match against Francesca Schiavone.

The second-seeded Williams retired after losing the first set 6-4 in Madrid. She declined to detail the extent of the problem, but said it would not keep her out of the upcoming French Open.

•Quinnipiac testifies: The coach of Quinnipiac University’s volleyball team testified that the Connecticut school manipulated the rosters of its athletic teams to make them appear more in line with the gender makeup of the school’s population.

Robin Sparks appeared in federal court in Bridgeport, Conn., as part of a lawsuit she and several team members filed last month that accuses the school of failing to provide female students with equal opportunity to participate in varsity intercollegiate athletics.

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