Senators, Devils advance to conference semis
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., April 18 (UPI) -- The New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators both advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday.
The Dallas Stars also moved to within one game of reaching the semifinals in the West by taking the lead in their quarterfinal series.
Two nights after he was pulled from a playoff game for the first time in eight years, Martin Brodeur recorded his second shutout of the series as the Devils eliminated the Boston Bruins with a 3-0 blanking in Game 5.
Brodeur went to the bench in the third period of Tuesday's 5-1 loss in Boston. But he stopped 28 shots in this one for his 15th career playoff shutout and sixth against the Bruins.
John Madden had a goal and two assists and Jamie Langenbrunner scored twice for the Devils, who advanced to the conference semifinals a year after losing in the first round to the Carolina Hurricanes.
New Jersey, which played before just three sellouts during the season at the Continental Airlines Arena, was the only team to win all of its home games in the opening round.
Boston was knocked out in the first round for the fifth time in its last six playoff appearances.
Patrick Lalime recorded 31 saves for the Senators, who won four straight after losing the series opener. Ottawa allowed only four goals following a 3-0 loss in Game 1.
The Senators advanced to the conference semifinals for the second straight year and the third time in franchise history. They have never been beyond the second round of the playoffs.
In Dallas, Scott Young and Sergei Zubov scored power-play goals 53 seconds apart midway through the first period as Stars defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 5-2, to take a three games to two lead.
Dallas allowed Edmonton just eight shots through the first 40 minutes.
Mike Modano scored 5:34 into the second period before Zubov tallied again 5:39 into third, making it 4-0.
While the Stars never were in danger of letting the lead get away, Marty Turco allowed a pair of soft goals in the final 10:02. Mike Comrie spoiled the shutout bid before Eric Brewer made it 4-2 with 1:50.
On Friday night, St. Louis will try to wrap up its series in Vancouver, holding a 3-1 advantage, while Washington will visit Tampa Bay in a series that is deadlocked at 2-2.
Wilkens out in Toronto
TORONTO, April 18 (UPI) -- After encountering more injuries than any team in NBA history, the Toronto Raptors and Coach Lenny Wilkens parted company Thursday.
The NBA's career leader in wins and losses with a record of 1,292-1,114, Wilkens had little chance to succeed this past season with a team that missed a total of 519 manpower games due to injuries, easily shattering the league record of 480.
Even Raptors general manager Glen Grunwald admitted as much on Thursday, one day after the team concluded a 24-58 season with an eight-game losing streak.
"In our case, injuries were not an excuse, they were a reality that no team could expect to overcome," Grunwald said. "But in discussions with Lenny about the future direction of the team, it became apparent to both of us that parting company would best serve his interests as well as those of the organization."
On average, the Raptors missed six players from their 15-man roster every game and never once had the full complement of 12 players available for every game. Star Vince Carter missed 39 games and forward Antonio Davis missed 29.
Sosa homers again
CHICAGO, April 17 (UPI) -- Sammy Sosa homered for the third time in as many games Thursday, boosting the Chicago Cubs past Cincinnati, 16-3.
Sosa produced a three-run blast for the second straight day and Kerry Wood flexed some muscle with his fifth career home run.
It marked the third straight game the Cubs reached double figures in runs against the Reds, totaling 37 in that span. Sosa hit a homer in each of those games and all four of his home runs this season have come against Cincinnati.
The Reds had won seven straight games at Wrigley Field, including the opener of this four-game series on Monday before the Cubs erupted.
Wood (3-0) pitched five scoreless innings before yielding a three-run homer to Adam Dunn in the sixth. By that time, the Cubs had opened an 11-0 lead. Wood contributed to that with a two-run homer in the fifth off Jimmy Haynes (0-4), who lasted 4 2/3 innings and yielded 10 runs and 10 hits.
Other National League results: Florida 7, Philadelphia 3; Atlanta 14, Montreal 8 in 12 innings; Arizona 11, Colorado 2; New York 7, Pittsburgh 2; Milwaukee 4, Houston 2.
Mariners win in 10
SEATTLE, April 18 (UPI) -- Mark McLemore's bloop single with two outs in the 10th inning delivered the winning Thursday in Seattle's 4-3 win over Oakland.
Seattle took a 3-1 lead into the ninth, but closer Kazuhiro Sasaki surrendered a leadoff homer to Eric Chavez.
The A's went on to load the bases with one out, but Sasaki struck out Mark Ellis. With a chance to escape the jam, Sasaki got a ground ball to third base but McLemore, filling in for injured starter Jeff Cirillo, booted the ball, allowing pinch-runner Eric Byrnes to score.
In the 10th, A's reliever Jeremy Fikac (0-1) got the first two batters only to have Mike Cameron walk and steal second. McLemore then atoned for his mistake by blooping a 3-1 pitch into left-center field.
Jeff Nelson notched the win with a hitless top of the 10th inning. Oakland lost three of the four games in the series and has dropped seven of its last eight overall.
Seattle built a run in the first as Ichiro Suzuki walked, was bunted over, took third on a flyout and scored on Edgar Martinez's single up the middle.
Other American League results: New York 4, Toronto 0; Chicago 8, Kansas City 2; Texas 9, Anaheim 7; Boston 6, Tampa Bay 0; Baltimore 6, Cleveland 4 in 12 innings; Minnesota 6, Detroit 0.
Barlow leads Heritage
Barlow's 28, which included a pair of eagles, came out of nowhere. In his first nine starts this year, he missed six cuts and finished no higher than a tie for 65th. He came into this week having earned just $26,430.
The 30-year-old Nevada native experienced a full range of emotions as he bogeyed three of the first six holes on the back and made the turn at 2-over.
Barlow apparently enjoys living on the edge. Last year, he barely retained his card, finishing 124th on the money list. He got off to a late start after undergoing hip and shoulder surgery in September 2001.
Prior to this week, Barlow missed three straight cuts and shot an 80 in the last round at the BellSouth Classic.
Love, who won the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February and The Players Championship in March, was the early leader in the clubhouse before Barlow raced past him.
NCAA probation for Arkansas
INDIANAPOLIS, April 18 (UPI) -- The NCAA Thursday placed the athletic program at Arkansas on three years' probation for the improper employment of school athletes.
The NCAA did not place bans on postseason competition.
In its decision, the NCAA Committee of Infractions accepted self-imposed actions by the university, citing the school with the "appropriate corrective measures" and "meaningful penalties," which included the loss of eight football scholarships over four years and one scholarship in men's basketball next season.
The NCAA took away two more scholarships for one more year in football as well as reducing permitted recruiting visits. There were no postseason bans or any limits on television appearances.
The main violation regarded overpayments by a trucking firm to student-athletes in the mid-1990s. The university first launched an inquiry in December 1999, when allegations of improper employment first arose. Two of the 20 athletes involved in the payments were hired before they enrolled at Arkansas, a violation of NCAA rules.
van Breda Kolff fired by St. Bonaventure
BUFFALO, N.Y., April 18 (UPI) -- St. Bonaventure, which endured a bizarre end to the basketball season, announced Thursday it had fired Coach Jan van Breda Kolff.
St. Bonaventure forfeited six games for using an ineligible player and further embarrassed itself by not playing its final two contests.
The school officially stated it has "severed the relationship" with van Breda Kolff and accepted the resignation of Athletic Director Gothard Lane and assistant coach Kort Wickenheiser.
Interim athletic director Paul Grys, junior guard Marques Green, a team manager and faculty members are among those on the search committee for a new coach.
Ravens sign WR Frank Sanders
OWING MILLS, Md., April 18 (UPI) -- The Baltimore Ravens Thursday signed veteran receiver Frank Sanders, who caught 493 passes in eight years with the Arizona Cardinals.
Financial terms were not disclosed for the multi-year contract.
The Ravens were seeking an effective complement to Travis Taylor after deciding not to re-sign possession receiver Brandon Stokley, who had just 24 catches last year.
Sanders, 30, missed four games due to injuries last season and had career-lows in receptions (34) and receiving yards (400).
However, Sanders caught more than 50 passes in each of his first six seasons, including a total of 164 receptions for 2,162 yards in 1997 and 1998.