WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16
Pittsburgh (Liriano 0-2) at Cincinnati (Cueto 0-2), 12:35 p.m.
Atlanta (Teheran 1-1) at Philadelphia (Burnett 0-1), 7:05 p.m.
NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS:
Columbus at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.
Philadelphia at New York, 7:30 p.m.
Philadelphia at Miami, 8 p.m.
Pens open NHL's second season vs. Columbus
PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Metropolitan Division champion Pittsburgh Penguins are ready for the postseason to begin tonight.
Despite a rash of injuries that included significant absences by stars such as Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Paul Martin, Pittsburgh posted the second-highest point total in franchise history and won the division easily.
While coach Dan Bylsma credited his team for finding a way to win with a constantly evolving lineup, he understands this season will be judged by what happens in the playoffs. Pittsburgh opens the postseason on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against Columbus.
The Penguins won all five meetings between the two clubs during the regular season, outscoring the Blue Jackets by a combined score of 16-8.
Liriano, Pirates wrapping up Cincinnati visit
CINCINNATI (AP) - Francisco Liriano is on the mound for the Pirates as they close out their visit to Cincinnati this afternoon.
Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer last night, ending Gerrit Cole's winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
First, the NL Central rivals completed a game that was suspended in the sixth inning because of rain the previous night. Andrew McCutchen doubled and came around on Russell Martin's single in the seventh inning, giving the Pirates an 8-7 win.
Leake (2-1) gave up three runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings for a split. The right-hander has won his last four starts against the Pirates. Jonathan Broxton escaped a two-on threat in the ninth while getting his first save.
Leake doubled and scored in the third. He hit his third career homer in the sixth off Cole (2-1), who had won his last six starts. Joey Votto had four hits.
Braves, Philles return to action after rainout
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Phillies had to wait a day to try to bounce back from Monday's heartbreaking loss to the Braves. Last night's scheduled Game 2 of Atlanta's visit to Philly was postponed by rain. No makeup date has been set.
Philadelphia is trying to snap Atlanta's four-game winning streak. After Atlanta took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth Monday, Luis Avilan gave up five runs, with Domonic Brown's three-run homer the big blow. The Braves, however, came back to win 9-6 on Dan Uggla's grand slam in the ninth.
The Phillies' bullpen has been dismal in this young season, with a 5.53 ERA this season and seven home runs surrendered in the past 26 2-3 innings. Philadelphia's bullpen should get a little better tonight, as Mike Adams - who last pitched in the majors in June before undergoing shoulder surgery - will be activated from the 15-day disabled list.
Cliff Lee starts for the Phillies. He'll face Atlanta's Julio Teheran.
76ers' nightmare season ends in Miami
MIAMI (AP) - The 76ers hope to put a positive cap on a dismal season tonight by finishing their schedule the way they started it; beating the defending NBA champion Heat.
The 76ers, who have lost 16 of 17 away from home, would finish with their third-worst record ever with a win at Miami toniggt. A loss would see them match the 1995-96 club for the franchise's second-worst mark, though that may be a good omen considering Philadelphia selected Allen Iverson with the top draft pick after that season.
Michael Carter-Williams continued the best campaign by a 76ers rookie since Iverson with 21 points and a season-high 14 rebounds in a 113-108 home win Monday over Boston. He's averaging 18.4 points on 53.0 percent shooting over his last nine contests.
He's the franchise's highest-scoring rookie since Iverson averaged 23.5, and his 6.3 assists per game are the second-most by a rookie in team history behind Iverson's 7.5. Carter-Williams is also averaging 6.2 rebounds, the most by a first-year 76er since Clarence Weatherspoon's 7.2 in 1992-93.
The Syracuse product finished with 22 points, 12 assists, nine steals and seven boards in his NBA debut against the Heat back on October 30th.
Flyers goalie Steve Mason iffy for playoffs
VOORHEES, N.J. (AP) - Steve Mason kept the Philadelphia Flyers afloat when they struggled early in the season. Now they may start the playoffs without their No. 1 goalie.
Mason practiced for 15 minutes before leaving the ice Tuesday, three days after he sustained an upper-body injury during a collision against Pittsburgh. Coach Craig Berube was uncertain whether Mason will play against the New York Rangers on Thursday night in Game 1 of their playoff series.
General manager Paul Holmgren refused to discuss specifics about Mason's injury. He also declined to rule out whether it was a concussion.
Mason was 33-18-7 with a 2.50 goals-against average and .917 save percentage this season. He helped the Flyers overcome a 1-7 start and coaching change to make the playoffs.
Steelers sign P Adam Podlesh
PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed punter Adam Podlesh to a one-year contract.
The Steelers are looking for a new punter after deciding not to re-sign Mat McBriar, who averaged a career-worst 41.3 yards per punt during the 2013 season.
The 30-year-old Podlesh will compete with Brad Wing when training camp opens in July. Podlesh spent the last three seasons with the Chicago Bears, averaging 40.6 yards per punt in 2013.
The seven-year veteran played four seasons for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2007-10 before signing with Chicago. Podlesh has a career 42.4 yards per punt average. Opponents have blocked just one of his 467 career kicks.
The Steelers announced the contract on Tuesday.
Panthers finish promising spring with dodgeball
PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh football team wrapped up its spring drills on Tuesday not with a formal scrimmage but Popsicles and dodgeball.
The Panthers made the unusual move of skipping a traditional Spring Game and opting for another regular practice. The program has typically ended each spring with a simulated game at a local high school.
The players say they appreciated the break and called the quiet ending to a productive month fitting for a team that is taking a workmanlike approach to improving on last year's 6-6 record.
Coach Paul Chryst said he liked the pace his team practiced with and he can tell their comfort level with each other and the coaching staff is rising.
The Panthers open the season on Aug. 30 against Delaware.
Panthers jump Sabres to win NHL draft lottery
The Florida Panthers bucked the odds by jumping up a spot to win the NHL draft lottery and earn the right to the top pick in June.
The Panthers, who finished 29th in the league, vaulted ahead of the last-place Buffalo Sabres, who had the best odds of winning the lottery held in Toronto on Tuesday night. The Panthers had an 18.8 percent chance of winning the lottery, behind only Buffalo, which had a 25 percent shot.
Florida will have the first pick for the fourth time in franchise history.
The top two projected prospects are left wing Samuel Bennett, of OHL Kingston, who finished first in the final rankings released by NHL Central Scouting last week, and OHL Barrie defenseman Aaron Ekblad.
The draft will be held in Philadelphia on June 27-28.
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