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It was a real challenge facing them in the fifth," Scherzer said. "They put together some really good at-bats against me

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It was a real challenge facing them in the fifth," Scherzer said. "They put together some really good at-bats against me

Post autor: wangshi » śr lis 15, 2017 8:12 pm

TORONTO -- Dion Phaneuf admits he made a mistake. Earl Mitchell Jersey . The Toronto captain said Thursday he erred in not talking to reporters following the Maple Leafs 5-3 home loss Tuesday night to the St. Louis Blues. Phaneuf was widely criticized for blowing off the media following the clubs sixth straight loss that dropped it to 10th in the Eastern Conference standings. "I shouldve been available, thats about all Im going to say about it," the veteran defenceman said following Thursdays practice. "I cant remember the last time I didnt make myself available but I shouldve been available." On Wednesday, a day off for the Leafs, Phaneuf told a Toronto all-sports radio station he didnt talk because he was too emotional following the loss. "I just didnt play well enough," he said. "Bottom line, I wasnt even close to the level I have to play at. "I accept responsibility for that. I will be better." Phaneuf and his teammates dont have time to fret about their respective situations. Toronto visits the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night in one of just eight regular-season games remaining for the Leafs. The contest is important for both teams. Philadelphia (38-37-7, 83 points) is sixth in the Eastern Conference heading into action Thursday night. Toronto (36-30-8, 80 points) is tied in points with Columbus, Detroit and Washington, but all three clubs having games in hand on the Leafs. With each mounting loss, the Leafs find themselves increasingly under the media microscope in Toronto. There was no shortage of TV cameras and media at Thursdays practice. "If you look back two weeks ago we werent having to answer these questions, but the reality is were where were at right now," Phaneuf said. "We havent won in six games and when you dont win hockey games there are questions asked and theres every right to ask those questions because its our job to win games. "Im not going to stand here and say weve played well, we havent. I know right now it seems were at a low point but well come through it." And for head coach Randy Carlyle, the turnaround wont come about by continually harping on how tight the Leafs have played during the streak. "The more you talk about it, the more you focus on the tightness the harder it is to flush," he said. "We have to be prepared to look at the positives that are in the hockey game, the things weve done well and not focus on the negatives. "Pressure comes from within, comes from outside, it comes from everywhere. I think the amount of pressure you put on yourself to perform is really and truly who you have to answer to." But Carlyle didnt sugar-coat Torontos current situation, either. "We feel theres a lot of areas in which there are some positives but you cant look past weve lost six in a row," he said. "Bottom line, theres no other way to say it. "We cant feel good about ourselves but we have to prepare ourselves to play the best game of the year (Friday)." Toronto could have defenceman Paul Ranger back Friday. Ranger left a 5-3 home loss to Tampa Bay on March 19 on a stretcher with a neck brace after being hit by Lightning forward Alex Killorn. "I feel pretty good but Ive got to talk to the trainers and doctors and see if they can clear me to play," Ranger said. "I think its just a combined decision (Friday). "If I can help in any way Im going to and I plan on it. I had some encouraging words from teammates and trainers saying, We could use you back. It felt pretty good. Im excited to get back into a game and contribute as much as I can." Carlyle would consider playing Ranger in Philadelphia if the defenceman was cleared medically. "He looked good (Thursday)," Carlyle said. "As soon as the player tells us, then we have an option." Toronto has been plagued by poor starts over its losing streak, something Carlyle says gives the opposition an advantage. "It seems like were chasing the game and when you chase the game you have to open up and that gives the team youre playing against more opportunities," he said. "Its tough enough when youre on an even keel . . . especially at this time of year. "The bottom line is we have to find a way to start better and continue it." Forward Phil Kessel agreed. "It helps to get the first goal," he said. "Youre up one instead of being down one or down two. "Its tough to come back in this league." Given the intense media glare in Toronto, forward Nazem Kadri said its hard for the Leafs not to feel pressure to win. "When you drop six straight its definitely hard to focus on other things," he said. "Weve had some meetings and understand this is desperation time. "We have to play for our lives so we have to go start acting like it." Defenceman Cody Franson said the Leafs psyche remains solid. "I think were in a good spot," he said. "Obviously weve been through a tough stretch here but . . . were very aware of our situation and we all want to do the right things to get this back on the right foot. "Were aware of what we have to do. We dont feel sorry for ourselves, weve played well in a lot of games and done a lot of good things and were going to build on that." Toronto returns to the Air Canada Centre on Saturday versus Detroit, the first of four straight home games. After facing Calgary (Tuesday), Boston (Thursday) and Winnipeg (April 5), the Leafs will end the regular season with road games against Tampa, Florida and Ottawa. "Its not like were out of a playoff position," defenceman Jake Gardiner said. "Were in a decent spot, we can still compete for those last two spots and just see what happens. "Yeah, theres always that pressure . . . but we know we have a good team in here and we know we can do it. Its just a matter of playing the way we know we can." Elvis Dumervil Jersey . Trailing by a goal after 20 minutes of play, Joe Pavelski responded with three goals and an assist as the Sharks snapped a two-game losing skid with a 5-2 victory over the struggling Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. Cornellius Carradine Jersey . The lightning strike was in the parking lot of Crew Stadium on Saturday night, but its not known if the off-duty lieutenant was struck directly, Columbus Fire Department Battalion Chief Tracy Smith said. The firefighter, identified as Lt. http://www.officialauthenticsf49ersonli ... USTOMIZED/ . Boston is making its first appearance in the ALCS since 2008. For Detroit, its a third straight trip to the ALCS and its fourth in eight years. ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The day after the Detroit Tigers traded for Texas Rangers closer Joakim Soria, Joe Nathan made a point of showing why he is still manager Brad Ausmus No. 1 option in the ninth inning. Nathan struck out the side on 12 pitches to secure Max Scherzers 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series between two of the top three teams in the majors. The six-time All-Star posted his 21st save in 26 chances after Joba Chamberlain gave up a run on Josh Hamiltons sacrifice fly in the eighth. "Honestly, I just thought of tonight as just another game," Nathan said. "I didnt look at it as anything more important than going out and trying to get a W for us. "Its not about individuals. Its about this team winning. So there was really no concern on my part about going out there and making sure I got it done so that I could stay where Im at. Its up to Brad to make decisions like that, so Im just going to go out and compete when they allow me to." Nick Castellanos drove in the tying and go-ahead runs with a double in the sixth inning against Garrett Richards and Scherzer won his fourth straight decision. Scherzer (12-3) tied teammate Rick Porcello and New Yorks Masahiro Tanaka for the league lead in wins. He allowed three runs and six hits over seven innings and struck out 11. It was the fourth time this season and 22nd in his career that the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner had double digits in strikeouts. "Richards is a great pitcher and hes been having an awesome year, so you know you have to bring your A game," Scherzer said. "I felt good with everything tonight and had all four pitches going. I hadnt been getting the swings and misses I had been searching for with that pitch, so I made a little adjustment with my grip. Tonight I felt like I had a lot more consistency with it and a lot more downward action." Scherzer, the winning pitcher in the All-Star game, is 4-0 with a 2.21 ERA in six starts since giving up 10 runs over four innings in an 11-4 home loss to Kansas City on June 17. That came just five days after the seven-year veteran posted his first complete game and shutout in the major leagues with a three-hitter against the Chicago White Sox. Richards (11-3) allowed four runs and seven hits over six innings with five strikeouts and two walks. The right-hander was 7-0 with a 1.25 ERA over his previous nine starts following a 9-5 loss at Oakland on May 300. Marquise Goodwin Jersey. "His command was a little bit off early, although his velocity was good and his movement was terrific," manager Mike Scioscia said. "His slider was there, but he just got some pitches in some zones where those guys caught up to it." Scherzer made 30 of his 103 pitches during a three-run fifth that put the Angels ahead 3-1. C.J. Cron beat out a broken-bat single in the hole to shortstop Eugenio Suarez to drive in Howie Kendrick, and Kole Calhoun hit a broken-bat single to right field to score David Freese and Cron. "It was a real challenge facing them in the fifth," Scherzer said. "They put together some really good at-bats against me. They grinded it out, kept fouling pitches off and they were able to capitalize on a couple of mistakes. They kept finding ways to put the ball in play and keep that inning going." The Tigers responded with three runs in the sixth. Richards gave up hits to the first four batters, including Torii Hunters RBI double to left-centre and Castellanos two-run double to the same spot. "I cannot say he was hittable. It was not fun," Hunter said. "I mean, he made some mistakes with his curveball, and we live off mistakes. We dont live off pitchers pitches. Garrett is filthy, and its not fun facing him at all. So hopefully, I hope I dont face him every again." Ian Kinsler increased Detroits margin to 5-3 in the sixth with an RBI double against Jason Grilli, and Austin Jackson added an RBI single in the eighth off Fernando Salas. The Tigers scratched out a run in the third on a groundout by Kinsler after Suarez drew a leadoff walk, Rajai Davis singled and both runners advanced on a wild pitch that bounced off Congers chest protector. NOTES: Among the crowd of 40,146 was reality TVs Vicki Gunvalson, one of the original "Real Housewives of Orange County." ... Soria met his new teammates before the game. Hunter remembered the two-time All-Star as a tough adversary. "It was a battle, man," Hunter said. "Before the surgery he had a 93 mile-an-hour fastball that looked like it was 97 or a hundred and was pretty sneaky. He was good at hitting the outside corner, his curveball was pretty good, and he wasnt afraid to throw it at any count. He throw strikes and he works fast. So to have him over here, Im going to love it." ... Scherzer is 10 strikeouts from becoming the 16th pitcher to get at least 1,000 in a Tigers uniform. 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