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Jaden Schwartz lifts St. Louis Blues over Montreal Canadiens in OT

By Rob Rains, The Sports Xchange   |   Dec. 7, 2016 at 12:47 AM
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ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues trailed the Montreal Canadiens, the best team in the NHL so far this season, 2-0 going into the third period Tuesday night but still had confidence that the game was not over.

"We just needed to regroup," left winger Jaden Schwartz said. "The first two periods didn't go our way but we knew we had a chance."

A goal by center Paul Stastny 7:40 into the final period brought the Blues within 2-1, and Stastny then set up Schwartz for the tying goal at 10:31. The game went to overtime, where Schwartz scored his second goal of the night 3:38 into the extra session to complete the Blues' comeback win.

"They might have had a couple of tired guys out and (Alexander) Steen took off and I went with him," Schwartz said. "I think the D men might have been cheating his way a little bit, and he made a great pass over a couple of sticks and it landed on my tape, and I kind of had a step on a defenseman and I just tried to get it up as quick as I could."

The goal was the 10th of the season for Schwartz and improved the Blues' record to 10-0-3 in their last 13 home games. Four of their last five games have been decided in overtime or in a shootout.

"Not every game is going to go the way you want it to," Schwartz said. "Sometimes you get off to a good start. Today we didn't get off to a good start, but we stuck with it and got a big comeback win."

Part of the reason for the Blues' slow start was their inability to take advantage of three power-play opportunities in the first period. They had 13 shots on goal against Montreal's backup goalie, Al Montoya, but could not get a shot past him.

A fluke goal put the Canadiens in front at 10:06 of the opening period. Goalie Jake Allen could not handle the rebound of a shot by left winger Paul Byron, and Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson kicked the puck past Allen and into the net.

The Canadiens increased the lead to 2-0 at 17:42 of the second period. Byron and center Tomas Plekanec had a 2-on-1 break and Byron was able to feed a pass past defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to Plekanec, who shot past Allen.

Plekanec's goal ended a personal drought of 13 games and was only his second of the season.

The Canadiens could not maintain the lead, though, in the closing game of a five-game trip. Coach Michel Therrien preferred to look at the positives, however.

"You know what? We've got to be satisfied," Therrien said. "Disappointed losing the game, obviously, but we played against a really good hockey team and you look at the big picture. On that road trip, we met really good hockey teams and they were all close games, and I like the way our team played."

Left winger Max Pacioretty had the same attitude about the game and the result.

"That's a good team," he said. "On the road, it would have been nice to get two (points), but we battled hard. They got a little bit of life there, but I thought we battled to the final."

The win was the eighth in a row for Allen and improved his home record to 10-0-2 this season. He hopes the late rally gives the Blues some momentum as they begin a four-game trip; they are only 3-5-1 on the road this season.

"I think we just know that unless it's a five- or six-goal deficit, if it's a couple goals, we're confident in our ability to go out there and score two goals," Allen said. "You have to take it one shift at a time, not force anything, use the whole 20 minutes. ... We were patient. We had our chances and we played the way we wanted to play in the third -- and got it done.

"I think our first two periods were a little sloppy. We came back in the third. That's a good win for us, especially against the No. 1 team in the league. It's good momentum to go on this road trip."

NOTES: The Canadiens were without their leading scorer, C Alex Galchenyuk, who suffered a lower-body injury in their game Sunday in Los Angeles. He is scheduled to be re-evaluated by team doctors Wednesday in Montreal. Galchenyuk had nine goals and 14 assists in the first 25 games of the season. He had played in 130 consecutive games. ... The Blues activated D Joel Edmundson from injured reserve but lost D Robert Bortuzzo for at least six weeks because of a lower-body injury sustained Saturday night. ... C Jori Lehtera returned to the Blues' lineup after being a healthy scratch Saturday. ... The Blues open a four-game trip Thursday night against the Islanders, while the Canadiens return home to play New Jersey the same night.

© 2016 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.

Fantasy Football: Week 14 Running Back Rankings

By Alex Butler   |   Updated Dec. 6, 2016 at 11:28 PM
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MIAMI, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- If you've made it to this point in the fantasy football season, it's unlikely that you've remained unscathed from the injury bug.

By adding proper depth at the running back position prior in the season, you might have some good options to decide between when selecting your Week 14 lineup. Studs like David Johnson, Le'Veon Bell, DeMarco Murray, and Ezekiel Elliott should never see your bench. But after that, you should invest time in educating yourself about the best matchups to capitalize on.

To help you figure out who to sit or start at the position, take a look at my top 30 running backs for Week 14. You can also view my add/drops for the week and more positional rankings in the links below.

TOP SHELF

Spencer Ware is an RB1 this week against an Oakland Raiders unit allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs. Ware has at least 16 touches in four consecutive games. He should get excel against the Raiders after battling the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons.

LeSean McCoy might carry your fantasy team to glory, following his stellar Week 13 showing. This week, the Buffalo Bills workhorse gets to face a Pittsburgh Steelers defense allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs. McCoy piled up 191 yards from scrimmage on 24 touches last week against the Oakland Raiders. He has at least 100 yards from scrimmage and/or a touchdown in four consecutive games.

SNEAKY PLAYS

Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill should be the biggest benefactor of a Week 14 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. The Browns are allowing the second-most fantasy points to running backs. Hill has four scores in his last six games and won't disappoint for you in the opening round of the playoffs.

Although Doug Martin's status for this weekend is clouded, I would take him, or any of his Tampa Bay Buccaneers backfield-mates, as an RB1 against the New Orleans Saints. The Saints have allowed a combined 16 scores from running backs via the ground and through the air, the second-most in the NFL. Martin has at least 90 yards from scrimmage and/or a touchdown in every game since his Week 10 return from injury.

LONGSHOTS

While the New York Jets' quarterback situation is as ugly as it gets, I expect Matt Forte to continue to get a large workload. The Jets will lean on the run against a San Francisco 49ers defense allowing the most fantasy points to running backs. Forte cracks the RB1 cut this week. The 49ers have also allowed a league-high 20 touchdowns to the position and are the only NFL defense that has allowed more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage to opposing running backs. Forte has gone for more than 100 yards from scrimmage and/or scored a touchdown in every game when he has gotten 20 or more touches.

Philadelphia Eagles running back Wendell Smallwood is a borderline RB2 against the Washington Redskins. The Redskins are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs. Smallwood can be booked for about 10 carries in this contest.

RANK NAME TEAM OPPONENT
1 Ezekiel Elliott Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
2 David Johnson Arizona Cardinals at Miami
3 Le'Veon Bell Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo
4 Melvin Gordon San Diego Chargers at Carolina
5 Devonta Freeman Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles
6 Spencer Ware Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland
7 LeSean McCoy Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh
8 Jeremy Hill Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland
9 Doug Martin Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans
10 DeMarco Murray Tennessee Titans vs. Denver
11 Matt Forte New York Jets at San Francisco
12 Thomas Rawls Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay
13 Lamar Miller Houston Texans at Indianapolis
14 Latavius Murray Oakland Raiders at Kansas City
15 Jordan Howard Chicago Bears at Detroit
16 Carlos Hyde San Francisco 49ers vs. New York Jets
17 LeGarrette Blount New England Patriots vs. Baltimore
18 Jay Ajayi Miami Dolphins vs. Arizona
19 Frank Gore Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston
20 Robert Kelley Washington Redskins at Philadelphia
21 Mark Ingram New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay
22 Todd Gurley Los Angeles Rams vs. Atlanta
23 Theo Riddick Detroit Lions vs. Chicago
24 Devontae Booker Denver Broncos at Tennessee
25 Jonathan Stewart Carolina Panthers vs. San Diego
26 Wendell Smallwood Philadelphia Eagles  vs. Washington
27 Rashad Jennings New York Giants vs. Dallas
28 Kenneth Dixon Baltimore Ravens at New England
29 Dion Lewis New England Patriots vs. Baltimore
30 Tim Hightower New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay
© 2016 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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