In Sports from United Press International

April 20, 2002 at 12:22 AM
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Canucks beat Red Wings again

DETROIT, April 20 (UPI) -- Andrew Cassels and Scott Lachance scored six minutes apart in the second period Friday night, carrying the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-2 triumph over the Detroit Red Wings and a shocking two games to none lead in their Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Carolina also took a 2-0 lead in its series with New Jersey.

Cassels struck seven minutes into the second period by tipping a slap shot from defenseman Ed Jovanovski between Hasek's pads. Just three minutes after defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom got Detroit within 2-1, Lachance extended Vancouver's lead to 3-1 with a rising slap shot over Hasek's right shoulder.

Vancouver scored three goals on its first 10 shots against Hasek, who has allowed eight goals in the two games.

Dan Cloutier stopped 34 shots and Markus Naslund added an insurance tally with 1:52 left in the game for the Canucks, who captured the first two games of a playoff series on the road for the first time since the Western Conference semifinals in 1994.

Detroit, which dropped the first two games of a series at home for the first time since the 1996 Western Conference finals, looks to rebound on Sunday when the series moves to Vancouver.

In Raleigh, N.C., Bates Battaglia scored on a beautiful deflection at 15:26 of overtime night to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 win and two games to none lead over the Devils in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Carolina dumped the puck the length of the ice to get an icing call. But rookie left wing Erik Cole had a different idea.

Cole pursued the puck ahead of New Jersey's defensemen, causing goaltender Martin Brodeur to leave his net. Brodeur pushed the puck to defenseman Scott Niedermayer, who banked it off the boards to rookie right wing Brian Gionta.

Feeling pressure, Gionta blindly attempted to clear the zone, but defenseman Marek Malik stopped it at the left point and fired a shot toward the net. Stationed alone in front of the crease, Battaglia got his stick on the puck, causing it to bounce off the ice in front of Brodeur and over his left shoulder just under the crossbar.

It was Battaglia's first career postseason goal.

Carr to highlight NFL Draft

NEW YORK, April 20 (UPI) -- The showroom is set for David Carr, but Joey Harrington is driving to an unknown destination.

The tale of two quarterbacks is an intriguing story for the 2002 NFL Draft, which will kick off today. The Theater at Madison Square Garden will be the place where Carr will be announced as the No. 1 pick of the expansion Houston Texans.

In an unprecedented move, Texans general manager Charley Casserly announced two weeks ago that the Fresno State quarterback would be their top choice and immediately started negotiations with Carr's agent Mike Sullivan, who also represented last year's top pick Michael Vick.

Carr, 22, has reached a tentative agreement with Houston on a contract that is similar to the one structured by Sullivan for Vick with the Atlanta Falcons. Carr will receive a signing bonus of more than $10 million and a guaranteed payout of $16.25 million in the first three years of the deal. Vick got a guaranteed $15.3 million in the first three seasons of his contract.

While Carr has already moved his wife and son to Houston, Harrington has "no clue" as to where he is headed and will not even attend Saturday's draft. The Oregon quarterback recently visited with five teams in an eight-day span and remains in a befuddled state.

"Nobody is giving their hand away," Harrington said. "But I guess the biggest thing is, nobody actually knows."

Three teams with questionable quarterback situations -- the Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills -- pick second, third and fourth, respectively, and it appears each will pass on Harrington, who led unheralded Oregon to the No. 2 national ranking.

New teams headline NBA playoffs

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Aug. 20 (UPI) -- There are new teams at the top as the NBA playoffs begin today. They will be trying to prevent the same old finish two months from now.

The New Jersey Nets, the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and the Sacramento Kings, the top seed in the West, both host playoff openers as they try to rise to the challenge of toppling the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.

The Nets are one of four playoff teams that missed last year's postseason. They face the eighth-seeded Indiana Pacers in their first playoff game in four years.

The Kings are in the playoffs for the fourth straight year but the first time as the top seed. Owners of the best record in the NBA and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, they meet the eighth-seeded Utah Jazz.

There are four games Saturday and four more Sunday, including the third-seeded Lakers hosting the sixth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers. Los Angeles is trying to become just the fourth team in NBA history to win three straight championships.

Martinez throws a gem

KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 20 (UPI) -- Pedro Martinez allowed only one hit in eight scoreless innings and was supported by Shea Hillenbrand's three-run triple in the sixth inning Friday night to give the Boston Red Sox a 4-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

Martinez (2-0), who has won the Cy Young Award three times, including twice with the Red Sox, struggled in two of his first three outings but was nearly unhittable against the Royals.

The Dominican righthander allowed only two runners -- both in the fourth inning -- and struck out six. He threw 68 of 92 pitches for strikes and did not walk a batter.

Hillenbrand leads the American League with 20 RBI after stroking a bases-loaded triple off Kansas City reliever Blake Stein with two outs in the fourth.

Royals starter Chris George (0-1) was charged with the loss after putting runners at the corners with one out.

Boston has won four straight games and improved to 3-0 on an eight-game road trip.

Other American League results: New York 6, Toronto 5; Baltimore 6, Tampa Bay 5 in 14 innings; Minnesota 12, Cleveland 3; Detroit 8, Chicago 2.

Furcal stars for Braves

ATLANTA, April 20 (UPI) -- Rafael Furcal went two for four and scored the winning run in the eighth inning Friday night as the Atlanta Braves rallied for a 3-2 win over Florida.

With the score tied, 2-2, Atlanta rallied against Ryan Dempster (0-1). Pinch-hitter Keith Lockhart opened the inning with a double and Chipper Jones drove in the winning run with a line drive off the glove of the Marlins starter.

Braves closer John Smoltz escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth by getting Andy Fox to pop out to left field. It was Smoltz's fourth save.

Dempster, who was making his third start, struck out four over eight innings.

Other National League results: Chicago 5, Cincinnati 2; Pittsburgh 7, Philadelphia 4; Montreal 5, New York 3; San Francisco 3, Houston 2; Milwaukee 6, St. Louis 1.

Johnson wins NASCAR pole

TALLADEGA, Ala., April 20 (UPI) -- Rookie Jimmie Johnson continued his impressive NASCAR season Friday, winning the pole for Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Johnson, who won the pole at Daytona 500, raced around the track in 51.337 seconds at an average speed of 186.532 miles per hour in his No. 48 Chevrolet. His effort led a big day for Chevrolets, which took the top four spots and six of the top 10 on the restrictor-plate track.

Robby Gordon raced 30 cars after Johnson when the temperatures had cooled after a warm day. But Gordon still fell just .034 seconds shy of stealing the pole with his speed of 186.408 miles per hour.

Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip finished third, just .002 seconds behind Gordon with a speed of 186.401 miles per hour.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fourth while Ward Burton, in a Dodge, was fifth.

The next-to-last qualifier was Johnny Benson. Benson was the fastest in the two-hour pre-qualifying practice, but his Pontiac had only the seventh best lap with a speed of 185.316 miles per hour.

Grizzlies fire Billy Knight

MEMPHIS, Tenn., April 20 (UPI) -- The Memphis Grizzlies fired General Manager Billy Knight Friday after back-to-back 23-59 seasons.

Knight, the GM of the Grizzlies for the past two years, had one year left on his contract. But Memphis finished with the league's third-worst record this season after Knight orchestrated a series of moves to overhaul the roster.

He sent the franchise's all-time leading scorer, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, to the Atlanta Hawks for a draft pick that became Pau Gasol, and swapped point guards with the Sacramento Kings, dealing Mike Bibby for Jason Williams.

Before joining the Grizzlies, Knight spent 14 years with the Indiana Pacers, the last three as vice president of basketball operations.

Memphis did not name a replacement for Knight, but there is speculation that the Grizzlies will talk with Los Angeles Lakers consultant Jerry West about joining the organization.

Drew Gooden to turn pro

LAWRENCE, Kan., April 20 (UPI) -- Kansas forward Drew Gooden announced Friday he will bypass his senior season in order to enter the NBA draft.

Gooden led the nation in double-doubles with 25 and averaged 19.8 points and 11.4 rebounds as Kansas reached its first Final Four since 1993. The 6-10, 230-lb Gooden was named co-Player of the Year in the nation by the NABC and was a first team All-American selection.

Gooden finished his career with 1,526 points and 902 rebounds.

Bird first pick in WNBA Draft

SECAUCUS, N.J., Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The WNBA draft left little doubt why Connecticut went 39-0 and captured the national title this past season.

Connecticut guard Sue Bird was the top overall selection by the Seattle Storm Friday and joined three other Huskies in the top six picks of the league's annual draft.

Bird led Connecticut to two national titles in her career, including a perfect 39-0 mark last season. She won the Naismith Award and the Wade Trophy and averaged 14.4 points for the Huskies.

Seattle made the top overall selection for the second consecutive year. Last season, the Storm picked Australian star Lauren Jackson but still finished tied for the league's worst mark at 10-22.

Detroit selected Bird's teammate, guard Swin Cash, with the second overall selection. Cash averaged 14.9 points.

Asjha Jones was taken fourth by Washington and Tamika Williams was selected sixth by Minnesota.

Mickelson leads at Hilton Head

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C., April 20 (UPI) -- Phil Mickelson, who finished third behind Tiger Woods at The Masters last week, carded a 7-under 64 Friday to open a two-shot lead over Justin Leonard and Davis Love III after two rounds of the Worldcom Classic.

Although the 31-year-old Mickelson continues to carry the tag as the best active player never to win a major, he is enjoying a solid year.

In addition to winning the Bob Hope Classic in a playoff in January, Mickelson has a trio of top-three finishes in his last four starts. Now he will have a chance to capture his 21st career title and can do so without the specter of Woods, who is taking the week off after winning his third Masters title.

Leonard also carded a 64 and moved up from a tie for ninth at the start of the day.

Love, who has won this event four times, followed a putting tip from his brother to shoot a 62 on Thursday. But he cooled off Friday, settling for a 2-under 69 that included birdies on the final two holes. Love also shot a 63 in the Pro-Am on Wednesday.

Serena Williams upset

CHARLESTON, S.C., April 20 (UPI) -- Serena Williams suffered a stunning loss Friday at the Family Circle Cup, ending a series of streaks along the way.

Patty Schnyder of Austria rallied past the third-seeded Williams, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, to reach the semifinals of the claycourt tournament at Daniel Island.

Williams had won her last 12 matches overall and each of her five previous meetings with Schnyder.

Schnyder, who also has knocked off sixth seed Amelie Mauresmo and 2000 French Open champion Mary Pierce this week, faces top seed and defending champion Jennifer Capriati of the United States, who defeated Anastasia Myskina of Russia, 6-0, 7-5.

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