They held the advantage when it came to even-strength play

(Sports Network) – The playoff-bound Dallas Mavericks will begin their final road trip of the regular season tonight, when they visit the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena in the opener of a six-game western trek. . Dallas is 24-10 away from Big D and will also visit the Suns, Clippers, Lakers, Warriors and Trail Blazers. The club is currently 6 1/2 games behind San Antonio in the Southwest Division and 1 1/2 games in back of the Lakers for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference with 11 to play. The Mavericks have won two in a row since losing three of four games and finished a three-game homestand with a 2-1 mark following Thursdays 104-96 win over the Kevin Love-less Minnesota Timberwolves. Love is out with a strained groin while Dirk Nowitzki finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds for the victors. Jason Terry had 18 points in the win. It wasnt pretty tonight, we were a little rusty there in the first half, Nowitzki said. We missed a lot of shots, wide open shots actually, and in the second half we really had to fight for it. Give Minnesota credit, they really made us work, they made shots down the stretch and they really made us reach deep. The Mavs have won 50 games in each of the previous 11 seasons and got 16 points in a reserve role from Peja Stojakovic. Nowitzki has made his last 63 free throw attempts, which is the longest streak in the NBA this season. The Mavericks are 39-4 this season when scoring 100-plus points in a game and own a 23-6 mark in the previous 29 games. Utah hopes to put the brakes on a four-game losing streak when it continues a homestand Saturday night. The Jazz started the four-game stay in Salt Lake City with a 121-117 overtime loss to the New Orleans Hornets, as Paul Millsap totaled 33 points and 11 rebounds in a losing effort. Everybodys working hard, Millsap told Nobody wants to lose; it just happened. A guy hit a tough shot. They just had more energy than we did. Millsap was referring to Bobcats center Emeka Okafors circus shot that tied the game at the end of regulation. Al Jefferson had 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Jazz, who have dropped six of eight games overall and fell to 20-16 as the host. The Jazz will also welcome the Wizards and Lakers to town, and are four games off the eighth and final postseason spot in the West with nine games remaining. They havent missed the playoffs since 2005-06. In injury news for Utah, guard Devin Harris (hamstring) and forward Andrei Kirilenko (knee) are both questionable versus the Mavericks. Harris has missed back-to-back games and Kirilenko did not play versus the Hornets. Harris was acquired in the deal that sent Deron Williams to New Jersey and is averaging 14.6 points and 5.2 assists in 13 contests with the Jazz. Dallas is trying to sweep a season series from Utah for the first time since winning all three matchups during the 2004-05 campaign. It has won the first three matchups of this season and five of the past seven contests between the teams. The Mavericks, however, have lost seven of 10 and 10 of the previous 14 trips to Salt Lake City. nike free schweiz online . — When the Baltimore Ravens last went to the Super Bowl, Art Modell was owner of the team and Brian Billick was the coach. . Team spokesman Josh Rawitch says Lasorda was resting at home Monday. He spent four days in the hospital last week. Lasorda currently serves as a special adviser to Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.The early games brought a pair of mismatches, with the Boston Bruins thoroughly controlling the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Pittsburgh Penguins blanking the New York Islanders. Scott Cullen weighs in with notes and stats from Wednesday nights action. BOSTON POPS LEAFSSomewhat predictably, given the possession numbers the two teams displayed this season, the Boston Bruins outshot the Toronto Maple Leafs 40-20 on their way to an easy 4-1 win in Game One of their series. Veteran D Wade Redden got the Bruins going, putting up a goal and an assist — his first multi-point NHL game since March, 2010. In his career, Redden has career-bests of 43 points and a plus-30 rating in 62 games. Even if Redden, at 35, is a long way from his best days in the NHL, his contributions in Game One certainly justified including him ahead of rookie Dougie Hamilton in the lineup. The Bruins, struggling to score late in the year, got three points from David Krejci, two assists from Milan Lucic and a goal from Nathan Horton, all of whom are going to have to perform if the Bruins are going to go on an extended playoff run. Additonally, Tyler Seguin, while held without a point, led the Bruins with seven shots on goal. There have been many times this year that Seguin lacked the jump that he shows when hes on his game and he had more of it in Game One, using his speed to create chances and having the confidence to pull the puck through his legs from behind, in traffic, while coming off the boards in the offensive zone. He had more than seven shots on goal just twice in 48 games during the regular season. Of course, when the Bruins and Maple Leafs meet, any Seguin performance must be juxtaposed against what happens with Phil Kessel and it wasnt a banner night for the Leafs leading scorer, as he managed just one shot on goal and his line was chewed up and spit out and spit out by the Bruins line of Seguin, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, with Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg the defence pairing that was locked on Kessel most often. The Leafs know, given their tendency to get outshot, that they need more from James Reimer. Giving up four goals in the first two periods isnt good, but the way in which the goals were scored was troubling. Three were generated off shots from the point and its up to Reimer to stop, and control, shots from that distance, but it also falls on the Leafs forwards to prevent so many clean looks for the Bruins defencemen. One piece of good news for the Maple Leafs was the play of LW James van Riemsdyk, who led Leafs with five shots on goal and scored their only goal. Curiously, in a game in which the Leafs trailed for the last two periods of play, both Phil Kessel and Nazem Kadri received less than 14 minutes of ice time. One other ice time note: the Leafs will need to monitor the status of D Cody Franson, who played just 14:04, apparently suffering a foot or ankle injury. As a result, Mike Kostka played 22:22, but also finished minus-3 for the night. The novelty of making the playoffs for the first time in nine years wore off pretty quickly once the Bruins took control of the game, so now Toronto will have to try and bounce back. Obviously, they would prefer to win Game Two but, at the very least, they need to give a much better accounting of themselves if they are going to give any indication that they will be competitive in this series. PENS MUCH MIGHTIER THAN ISLESEven though the Pittsburgh Penguins didnt have Sidney Crosby for their playoff opener, against the New York Islanders, they didnt need him, cruising to a 5-0 win. The Penguins had raced out to that 5-0 lead by the end of the second period. Pascal Dupuis, who was the Penguins second-leading scorer in April with 12 points in 12 games – without Crosby — scored a pair of goals, while Evgeni Malkin, Jussi Jokinen and Jarome Iginla each had two assists. The Penguins finished with 22 blocked shots, compared to the Islanders 12, which seems notable when both teams recorded 26 shots on goal. One player that didnt manage any shots on goal for the Islanders was John Tavares. Even though the Islanders had good puck possession numbers with Tavares on the ice, it was still the first time all year that he hadnt recorded a single shot on goal, so some credit needs to go to Brandon Sutter, Matt Cooke and Brenden Morrow. Kris Letang and Paul Martin were the Penguins defencemen to see the most of Tavares. One of the question marks for the Penguins coming into this years playoffs was the play of G Marc-Andre Fleury, who struggled in last years playoffs, but Fleury was strong, turning aside all 26 Islanders shots for the shutout. At the other end, Evgeni Nabokov was yanked after allowing four goals on 15 shots, his fifth straight loss in the postseason. Kevin Poulin relieved Nabokov early in the second period. Islanders LW Matt Martin tried to make his presence felt, delivering 10 hits, while playing 13:00. Martin led the NHL with 234 hits in the regular season. It doesnt come as any great surprise that the high-powered Penguins would be too much for the Islanders, but New York can be better. They have to be. SHARKS ATTACK IN VANCOUVER The story for the Vancouver Canucks was decided before the game even started, when it was announced that Roberto Luongo would start in net. Though the Canucks lost, it can hardly be pinned on Luongo, who stopped 25 of 28 shots in a 3-1 Game One loss to the San Jose Sharks. While none of the three goals were impossible to stop, there wasnt a lot of blame to direct at Luongo for any of the three. San Jose got multi-point games from D Dan Boyle, C Joe Pavelski, and C Logan Couture. While the Sharks were the lowest-scoring team in the Western Conference to make the postseason, they do have a lineup that works in their favour at the moment, with scorers spread across three lines. So, when Joe Thornton, Brent Burns and T.J. Galiardi get shut down, its nice to get a couple of points from Pavelski and Couture. Couture, who had two minor penalties all season, drew three minors from the Canucks Wednesday night. Couture has been playing with Patrick Marleau, who scored the third goal to give the Sharks some breathing room. Marleau has been maligned for playoff performance but, since 2001-2002, he ranks ninth in playoff points and he sits second among active players, behind only Jaromir Jagr, with 53 playoff goals. Marleau also led the Sharks with five shots on goal in Game One. It was also noteworthy that the Sharks played their big guns more. Thornton, for example, played 21:10 Wednesday, his most ice time in a game since the 22nd game of the regular season, and a total he surpassed only four times in 48 games this year. Sharks LW Raffi Torres was throwing his weight around, delivering a few heavy hits among his team-leading six hits in the game. Dale Weise tried to play aggressively for Vancouver, too, delivering five hits in 7:57 of ice time. It wasnt all good for the Sharks, however, as winger Martin Havlat left with an injury, playing only 3:16. Torres moved into Havlats spot, on the wing with Couture and Marleau. C Ryan Kesler led Vancouver forwards in ice time, playing 21:33, a threshold he passed twice in 17 regular season games. Its not as though this game wasnt there for the Canucks to take. They held the advantage when it came to even-strength play, though the number one line — Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows — managed a total of four shots on goal; they need to be more productive. The Sharks-Canucks series figures to be closer and more competitive than the other two series that started Wednesday night, but after losing the first game of the series at home, the Canucks will either need a spark from a goaltending change or internal improvement throughout the roster for Game Two. Scott Cullen can be reached at and followed on Twitter at For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. ‘ ‘ ‘

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