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Al Horford went down with a right pectoral injury
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cherry452



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BOISBRIAND, Que. -- Charline Labonte couldnt have asked for a better homecoming. The Boisbriand, Que., native got the start in net in her hometown on Thursday night, where the Canadian womens hockey team defeated the United States 6-3 in pre-Olympic action. "Its incredible," said Labonte. "I couldnt have asked for more. To bring the Canadian team here against the Americans a I knew people would answer the call. We immediately felt their support. "I couldnt have asked for anything better. It was worthy of Boisbriand." Labonte allowed three goals on 24 shots on the night. The game was the second of six encounters between the teams before the start of the Olympic Games in Sochi in February. The Canadians took the first game -- last Saturday in Burlington, Vt. -- 3-2. The game ended in brawl when a U.S. player ran into Canadian goaltender Shannon Szabados late in the third period. Veteran Hayley Wickenheiser, whos been a member of Canadas womens team since 1994 when she was only 15 years old, scored two goals on the night. Wickenheiser believed her team responded well to early pressure by the Americans. "We came out really strong and we had a great start and a lot of energy," said Wickenheiser. "They tried to take some physical liberties early on and they got away with a few things early in the game. But then we came back and we just played a pretty physical game." Wickenheiser, who is contemplating retirement at the end of the Sochi Games, is currently at the heart of a captaincy debate ahead of the Olympics. Canadas head coach Dan Church has yet to decide if Wickenheiser will don the "C" in Russia. Church is also considering Jayna Hefford or Caroline Ouellette -- who both also scored in Thursdays victory -- for the captains title. "Hayleys one of our leaders," said Church. "We decided in the first part of the season to grow our leadership within the team. Thats important. We need a team full of more leaders as we move towards Sochi. "Its all part of the master plan as we move through the next few months." Rebecca Johnston, who also scored twice on the night, opened the high-scoring affair with her first goal of this exhibition series at 8:59 of the first period. Haley Irwin started the play, patiently holding the puck for several seconds in the American zone before firing on net. Johnston jumped on the rebound. "I was at the right place at the right time," said Johnston. "It kind of popped out right at me and I just shot it quickly." Wickenheiser doubled the Canadians lead less than a minute later while playing short handed. Brianna Decker got one back for the Americans before Wickenheiser put her second of the game past a helpless Jessie Vetter on a 5-on-3 power play. Johnston scored her second of the game, the eventual game-winner, early in the second period. Johnston was behind the net when she scored, banking a pass off a defenders skate and into the net. Ouellette also scored mid-way through the second period to put the Canadians up 5-1. Jocelyne Lamoureux and Kendall Coyne scored consolation goals for the U.S., before Heffords back-handed goal quelled any attempt at a comeback at 15:47 of the third period. Vetter, who started in net for the Americans, made 10 saves in the first period. She was replaced by Molly Schaus, who stopped seven of 10 shots she faced. U.S.A. outshot Canada 24-23 overall. Canada is the three-time defending Olympic champion. Two of those victories, in 2002 and 2010, came against the Americans. Canada and the U.S. face off again in pre-Olympic action on Dec. 12 in Calgary. Cheap Jerseys Paypal . "I never commented to anyone that I wanted out," he explained. "My heart is with this group and making the playoffs." Kesler added that the rumours are "completely false" that he asked to be traded - recently or ever. 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The Calgary Flames will see if they can take their recent hot streak on the road when they shoot for a sixth consecutive win Monday night in Montreal.The Indiana Pacers earned the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and theyll begin their crusade for an NBA title Saturday night when they welcome the Atlanta Hawks to Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Catch the game on TSN2 starting at 7pm et/4pm pt. The Pacers held the No. 1 spot in the East for much of the regular season, but the end of the campaign didnt go as planned. Indiana went 10-13 to finish the season, but got the top seed when the Miami Heat rested some starters late in the campaign. "I was excited that we got it. It was something we set out for," head coach Frank Vogel said prior to their season-finale. "It gives us the best chances going into the playoffs." The Pacers lost in seven games to the Heat in last years Eastern Conference Finals. They finished second in the NBA in opponents scoring and first in opponents field-goal percentage. They also finished with the best home record at 35-6. But the Pacers will need to improve significantly if they are going to advance in the postseason. All-Stars Paul George and Roy Hibbert both regressed as did Lance Stephenson. But the team is built on defense and have had time to try and cure whats ailing them. "This is the best time of the year," said Stephenson. "Every game is on TV and every game is about business. Theres no joking around. Everybody is watching." The Hawks are in the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season and needed both late-season heroics and a collapse by the New York Knicks to punch a ticket. Under the guidance of first-year head coach Mike Budenholzeer, the Hawks managed to tread water in an otherwise dreadful Eastern Conference and hope to move past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2010-11.dddddddddddd The Hawks have been bounced in six games in each of the last two conference quarterfinals. They lost six in a row in late March and started to feel the heat. However, the Hawks won six of the next eight games to get back on track and a 98-85 win over the Heat on April 12 sealed the eighth spot. "Im happy for all the guys," Hawks guard Jeff Teague said. "We worked so hard all year. Injuries and everything that can happen to a team happened. We were able to still make it to the playoffs." The Hawks dealt with a major loss early on when All-Star center Al Horford went down with a right pectoral injury. But Teague and Paul Millsap picked up the slack and got Atlanta the eighth seed. Teague averaged 16.5 ppg and 6.7 apg and Vogel indicated that he was the key to stopping the Hawks. "The whole defensive game plan is keeping (Teague) out of the paint; its the toughest challenge were going to have," acknowledged Vogel. Indiana and Atlanta met in the 2012-13 playoffs and the Pacers disposed of the Hawks in six games. The Pacers and the Hawks will face each other in the postseason for a sixth time and the two sides split four regular-season meetings this season. The Hawks trounced the Pacers in Indiana on April 6, but Indiana is 10-5 in its last 15 as the host in this series. Atlanta has won 14 of its last 16 against the Pacers at Philips Arena. Wholesale NFL Jerseys ' ' '

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