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The Clippers dominated
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CHICAGO -- Even without Patrick Kane -- and despite a run of sloppy plays and penalties -- the Chicago Blackhawks found a way to buckle down and beat the Carolina Hurricanes. Jonathan Toews short-handed breakaway goal early in the third period snapped a tie, and lifted the Blackhawks to a 3-2 victory on Friday night. Patrick Sharp scored his team-leading 30th goal and Kris Versteeg ended an eight-game drought to help the Blackhawks pull out a win without Kane, the teams leading scorer who was placed on long-term injured reserve after sustaining a lower-body injury in Chicagos victory over St. Louis on Wednesday. The Blackhawks were also without injured forwards Brandon Saad and Bryan Bickell, and defenceman Michal Rozsival. "Thats one of those things, we have to learn how to play without our best players," Toews said. "Weve done it without Hoss (Marian Hossa), and now Sadder and Kaner. "It doesnt matter. If someones nursing something, we have to find a way to fill that void." Sharp has scored at least 30 goals four times in his career. He has reached the mark in the past three full NHL seasons. Corey Crawford made 26 saves as defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago tightened up defensively and overcame mistakes late in the second period and early in the third that helped the Hurricanes fight back from a two goal deficit. "Thats a game we can look back on during the playoffs as being able to shut a team down in the last five minutes," Crawford said. "I dont think they got a shot in the last five minutes. Thats the way you want to play." Carolinas Alexander Semin scored his 20th and 21st goals 3:36 apart, but the Hurricanes lost to Chicago for the second time this season. The Blackhawks beat Carolina in a road shootout on Oct. 15 in their only other meeting this season. Semin tied it off a faceoff during a 5-on-3 power play at 2:58 of the third. Eric Staal won the draw and fed Semin, who fired in a screened shot from the top of the left circle. Semin had cut Chicagos lead to 2-1 with 37.7 seconds left in the second. He was open in the right circle, took Staals pass from the left boards and fired a quick shot past Crawfords glove. "We gave them some excitement to their game at the end of the second," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We took six penalties in a row, a stretch of six penalties that got them right back in the game. "Then Johnny scored a huge goal for us, which was very timely." Toews third short-handed goal at 3:29 of the third put Chicago ahead for good. A shot by Staal rimmed all the way around the boards in the Chicago zone and came out to centre ice. Toews got the puck, skated in alone, and beat Anton Khudobin with a high backhander. "Obviously I missed the shot down the wing," Staal said. "I wanted to go high glove, and they got a good bounce and good player going the other way on a breakaway." Once Toews put Chicago in front, the Blackhawks sparkled defensively in the third period and held on to extend their point streak to four games (3-0-1). Khudobin stopped 22 shots after a career-best 46 saves in Carolinas win at Columbus on Tuesday. Kane, who could miss the rest of the regular season, was injured in a collision with St. Louis Brenden Morrow. He left the ice under his own power, favouring his left leg. Earlier Friday, Chicago recalled top prospect Teuvo Teravainen and forward Jeremy Morin from Rockford of the AHL. The 19-year-old Teravainen, Chicagos first-round selection in the 2012 draft, didnt play against Carolina. The Blackhawks came out flying in the scoreless first and outshot Carolina 11-4. The Hurricanes didnt record their first shot until Nathan Gerbe forced Crawford to make a glove save 11:21 in. Sharp opened the scoring on a breakaway at 3:09 of the second. He took a stretch pass up the middle from Andrew Shaw and accelerated past defencemen Justin Faulk and Ron Hainsey. He beat Khudobin with a high backhander on the stick side. Versteeg made it 2-0 with 3:34 left in the second during 4-on-4 play. Defenceman Nick Leddy carried the puck down to the left corner, then centred a pass to Versteeg, who beat Khudobin on the glove side. NOTES: Kane must sit out a minimum of 10 games and 24 days. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said there is "no reason to think he wont" be ready for the playoffs. ... Morin has one goal and four assists in 15 games with Chicago this season. ... D David Rundblad played in his second game with the Blackhawks since being acquired from Phoenix. ... Carolina D John-Michael Liles returned after missing six games with a concussion, C Jiri Tlusty came back after sitting out two with a lower-body injury, and C Elias Lindholm and D Justin Faulk played after missing the previous game because of illnesses. 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Blatter should arrive at the Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo to watch host Brazil play Croatia confident that this tournament -- his fifth as president -- wont be his last leading the worlds favourite sport. LOS ANGELES -- The Clippers told themselves they couldnt make any excuses. Didnt matter how physically tired or mentally drained they were from a seven-game trip. They had to find a way to win, just like San Antonio -- a team Doc Rivers calls "the gold standard"-- typically does. And the Clippers did, notching their largest margin of victory ever against the Spurs. Blake Griffin scored 27 points, hitting 11 of 15 free throws, in the 115-92 win Monday night, 48 hours after returning to Los Angeles. "The best part about this game was we knew what we had to do," Griffin said. "We executed our game plan. Even when they made runs nobody got down. That positive attitude is big." Chris Paul added 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and Jamal Crawford had 17 points in his second straight start for the Clippers, who repelled several threats in the third quarter to maintain their lead. "Another good win for us coming off the road trip," said Paul, who wont be dwelling on it. "We got to get past it." Tim Duncan had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, whose four-game winning streak ended. Tony Parker limped off the court with a right shin contusion with 5:09 left in the third. He finished with eight points and six assists in 26 minutes, and didnt speak with reporters afterward. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Parker was in pain and having trouble walking on it, so he had to be taken out of the game. "He has the ball in his hands for a long time, especially when it counts the most," Manu Ginobili said about Parker. "So we couldnt adjust to it and it was hard, especially against a team that is aggressive." DeAndre Jordan added 11 rebounds and Griffin had nine to help the Clippers control the boards, 43-36. Jared Dudley had 14 points, including four 3-pointers. Los Angeles went 4-3 on its road trip, closing it out Saturday with a 113-97 victory over the Washington Wizards. The Clippers didnt practice Sunday before facing off against the Spurs, whose 19-5 record is third-best in the NBA. "It tells you theyre in it mentally," Rivers said of his team. "Very proud of them. I think they wanted to win very bad." San Antonio made one last runn to open the fourth, getting consecutive 3-pointers from Patty Mills and Danny Green that drew the Spurs to 86-82.dddddddddddd The Clippers dominated the rest of the way, stretching their lead to 106-86 during a 20-4 run that ended with three 3-pointers in a row: one by Willie Green and two by Dudley. Crawford put one last dagger in the Spurs as he dribbled down the final seconds before casually popping a deep 3 for the final basket. "We turned the ball over way too much (22 times) and went through bad stretches. We just cant put games together like that and expect to win," Duncan said. "But its early in the season and were going to learn every one of these losses and continue to grow as a team. Hopefully at the end of the year, were a better ballclub because of it." The Clippers stretched their lead to 59-51 early in the third before the Spurs cut it to 59-58 after scoring eight straight points. Crawford, Griffin and Paul took over the rest of the third, combining to score the Clippers last 20 points and stretch their lead to 78-70 going into the fourth. Crawford launched the 20-12 run by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers. The Spurs got within three points on a layup by Ginobili before Griffin scored six of the Clippers next eight points to extend their lead. "Its my job to keep feeding him," Paul said of Griffin. "I love it when he demands the ball. Were going to keep playing through him every night." The Clippers trailed 28-21 after the opening quarter before unleashing a 19-0 run early in the second. Green bookended the spurt with 3-pointers, and in between five different Clippers scored to give them a 40-31 lead. Griffin scored their final eight points to send them into halftime leading 55-49. NOTES: Crawford started for the second straight game and just the second time in 102 games with the team. ... Clippers F Stephen Jackson faced his old team for the first time since the Spurs released him last April. He was signed by the Clippers last week and had six points. ... Popovich and some of the players, including Parker, didnt arrive until about an hour before game time. "The sunset was great over Santa Monica, so we stayed a little longer," Popovich cracked. ' ' '
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