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The Pittsburgh Penguins will start their bid for a Stanley Cup three-peat at home.

 

Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel banked in goals off Craig Anderson minutes apart in the second period Authentic Jordan Whitehead Jersey , Casey DeSmith stopped 34 shots and the Penguins beat the Ottawa Senators 4-0 to clinch second place in the Metropolitan Division and home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.

Phil Kessel got his 34th goal of the season and Patric Hornqvist pushed his career-high to 29 when he beat Anderson late in the third period for the Penguins, who will host Columbus, New Jersey or Philadelphia next week.

Anderson finished with 19 saves but was beaten twice from behind the goal line in the second period as the Senators lost for the ninth time in 11 games.

Ottawa and Pittsburgh met in the Eastern Conference finals 10 months ago, with the Penguins winning on an overtime goal in Game 7 before going on to beat Nashville for their second straight Cup. The Senators hoped it would be a springboard to becoming perennial contenders. Instead they will miss the postseason for the third time in five years.

DUCKS 5, STARS 3

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Jakob Silfverberg had a goal and two assists to help Anaheim keep up its surge toward the postseason with its ninth win in 11 games.

Josh Manson and Andrew Cogliano each had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who leapfrogged the Los Angeles Kings by one point for third place in the Pacific Division. The playoff-bound rivals have been trading the spot down the stretch, and the race will go down to the last day of the regular season.

Rickard Rakell and Derek Grant also scored for Anaheim before Cogliano got a key breakaway goal with 5:25 to play. Ryan Miller made 23 saves to win his second straight start in place of John Gibson. Miller also earned the 369th victory of his NHL career, tying Tom Barrasso for second among U.S.-born goaltenders.

Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist, and Marc Methot and Radek Faksa also scored for Dallas. Mike McKenna stopped 28 shots in his second appearance of the season.

LIGHTNING 7, SABRES 5

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Nikita Kucherov became the second player in the NHL to reach 100 points this season Youth Alex McGough Jersey , and Tampa Bay took a two-point lead for the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Divisiion lead.

Kucherov scored in the first period and got his 100th point assisting on Dan Girardi’s goal 1:04 into the second that put the Lightning up 4-2. Edmonton’s Connor McDavid tops the league with 106 points. According to the NHL, this is the first season since 2009-10 with multiple 100-point players.

The Lightning got two goals from Anthony Cirelli, while Yanni Gourde, Brayden Point and Victor Hedman also scored. Alex Killorn had three assists and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 27 shots.

Casey Mittelstadt and Alexander Nylander each got his first NHL goal for the last-place Sabres. Jason Pominville, Jordan Nolan and Kyle Okposo also scored for Buffalo, and Chad Johnson had 27 saves.

BLUES 4, BLACKHAWKS 1

CHICAGO (AP) – Patrik Berglund scored three times, including a tiebreaking rebound goal in the third period, and St. Louis moved into position for the last Western Conference wild card.

Carter Hutton made 19 saves as St. Louis stopped a three-game slide. Jaden Schwartz also scored in the third after an ugly turnover by the Blackhawks.

The Blues (44-31-6) moved one point ahead of the idle Avalanche (42-30-9) heading into their finale in Colorado on Saturday night. St. Louis has won three of four against Colorado this season.

Erik Gustafsson scored for Chicago, and Jean-Francois Berube made 31 saves. The last-place Blackhawks (33-38-10) finished with an 18-18-5 record at home.

The tumult and uncertainty of the Los Angeles Chargers' relocation season is finally a memory.

 

Now it's time to find out whether the Chargers truly left their San Diego identity back in San Diego.

A franchise with one Super Bowl appearance in its entire history and one playoff victory in the past decade has one of its most promising teams in many years. Coach Anthony Lynn's second roster is stacked with talent, fully settled in Orange County and reaping the benefits of coaching staff continuity.

Everything is in place for the Chargers to make a playoff run, perhaps even a Super Bowl surge. But after years of unfulfilled potential and catastrophic injury setbacks Authentic Alex Cappa Jersey , even the Chargers themselves are waiting to see how the season develops before pronouncing themselves contenders.

"It's interesting, because it's been a while," quarterback Philip Rivers said of external expectations of success. "I've been on some teams here that had those expectations, and we went out and did it year after year there for a while. It's been a long time, though. There aren't many guys that have been through that on this team."

The Chargers know what they've got, however. It's tough to identify many weak spots on their roster, and they have everything from a favorable schedule to a wide-open AFC West working in their favor.

They've also got Lynn, offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley in charge for the second straight season, making them the only team in the division with that much coaching continuity.

"I can say I definitely feel a little bit more comfortable, knowing what to expect," Lynn said. "We're not moving, and not living out of boxes. We're definitely more comfortable Matt Calvert Jersey , but the expectations have not changed. Not one bit."

Los Angeles is loaded with skill-position talent, including Rivers throwing to Pro Bowl receiver Keenan Allen and several strong targets in the NFL's best passing offense of 2017. Workhorse running back Melvin Gordon is healthy, and the offensive line got a boost with the addition of hard-nosed center Mike Pouncey.

The Chargers have had other outstanding rosters in the past quarter-century, but none of them made it to the Super Bowl. This team clearly has a shot, but don't expect many Bolts to get that far ahead of themselves.

"We're not thinking that far down the line," said Rivers, entering his 13th consecutive season as the Chargers' starter. "That kind of stuff doesn't always help. We're focused on Week 1 against Kansas City, and we'll go from there."

DYNAMIC DUO

The Chargers could have one of the NFL's top defenses led by Bosa and Ingram. The elite pass-rushing duo has combined for 41 1/2 sacks over the last two seasons, and there's little reason to think those two won't continue tormenting quarterbacks all year. Ingram has looked particularly sharp in preseason games, while Bosa has been slowed by injury. Bradley said the duo's presence changes every offense faced by the Chargers because opponents must game-plan around the threat.

OLDER MAN RIVERS

Rivers turns 37 during the season, but he still isn't close to retirement. He also remains one of the NFL's most consistent passers, racking up at least 4 http://www.jetsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-chris-herndon-jersey ,000 yards and 27 touchdown passes in eight of the past nine seasons. Rivers expertly commanded the Bolts' offense during their late-season surge for nine wins in 12 games, and he benefited from an offensive line that barely allowed him to be touched. Tackles Russell Okung and Joe Barksdale are back to keep Rivers upright.

STOP THE RUN

The Chargers' greatest defensive flaws were exposed by strong rushing games last season, and it's still not clear whether they've shored up their stoutness against the run. Defensive tackle Corey Liuget also will miss the first four games under suspension, but Darius Philon will attempt to keep the middle strong. Los Angeles could use a strong season from linebackers Denzel Perryman and rookie Uchenna Nwosu, who will play a key role in their run-stopping efforts.

BIG MIKE

Williams barely played last season after an injury kept him out of training camp, but the No. 7 overall pick has been a revelation in August. Using his size and speed to full advantage, Williams has embarrassed defensive backs and even held his own against Casey Hayward, the Chargers' Pro Bowl cornerback. Williams could be poised for a breakout season in a receiving group that's already stacked with talent.

KICKING GAME

The Chargers used four kickers last season and lost at least two games that likely could have gone their way with a made field goal. Caleb Sturgis and Roberto Aguayo have been competing for the job throughout camp, and the winner's early-season performance will be heavily scrutinized as a bellwether for the Bolts' future.

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