BROSSARD, Que. -- Those impatient for the Stanley Cup to return to Canada will have just one team to root for in the NHL playoffs -- the Montreal Canadiens. For the first time since 1973, only one Canadian team has qualified for the NHL post-season. The Canadiens will face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the opening round, with only home ice advantage to be decided in the final regular-season games on the weekend. Defenceman Josh Gorges said Friday he expects a lot of attention, but it will be no more pressure than what the team deals with every day of the season. "There may be more eyes within Canada watching our games," the Kelowna, B.C. native said. "In Canada, they have their loyalties to their local teams, but come playoff time, youve watched when Vancouver was in the Cup (final) a few years ago. "Calgary, Edmonton, the same thing. The whole country rallies around because they want to see a Stanley Cup come back to Canada. But I dont think it adds anything. Theres enough pressure just because of what were trying to accomplish." In 1973, the Canadiens were the lone Canadian playoff team and they won the Cup. They are also the last Canadian team to win a Cup in 1993. They are widely considered to be long shots to go more than a round or two this time, even though theyve had an excellent season, have Canadian Olympic gold medallist Carey Price in goal, and got a major boost at the trade deadline in scoring winger Thomas Vanek. Last season, four Canadian teams made the playoffs. Only two made it in the two seasons before that. It seems odd that clubs with such enthusiastic fans and which sell out every game have so much trouble finishing in the top eight in their conferences. But Gorges said the added attention may be what makes it so difficult. "Its a little bit strange, but at the same time, its not easy playing in Canadian markets," he said. "On a lot of teams in the States, theres nothing more to it than going out and playing the game and getting the two points, whereas a lot of times in Canada, you cant escape hockey. "No matter where you go, theres added, outside things that affect your performance. I think weve done a good job here of trying to find that balance, but that could, maybe, be a reason why some Canadian teams havent been in there." The Canadiens have reached the playoffs in six of the last seven seasons, missing in 2012. Their best season since 1993 was in 2010 when they reached the Eastern Conference final. The Vancouver Canucks saw a run of five straight trips to the post-season end this season. "Going into the season, you look at all the Canadian teams and youd think most of them would be contending," said Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher. "For us, being the only one, well probably have some of Canada on our side. "Some of them will still hate us, but it doesnt change what we do and how we have to prepare." The second-year forwards only playoff experience was in an all-Canadian series last spring, when Montreal was beaten in five games by the Ottawa Senators. "Theres so much expectation for Canadian teams to compete because the fans are so passionate and they care so much," said Gallagher, an Edmonton native. "Every fan base in Canada expects their team to be in the playoffs every year. "Im sure next year it will be different, but for us, it doesnt change anything. Were happy to be where we are and want to take advantage of it." While having only one team is rare, its an improvement on 1970, when no Canadian teams made it. Bobby Orrs Boston Bruins beat St. Louis in the final that year. The Canadiens, who are 0-for-20 on the power play in their last seven games, worked mostly on special teams going into their regular season finale Saturday night at home against the New York Rangers. The Canadiens hope a win coupled with a Tampa Bay loss will let them start the playoffs at home, but they dont seem to be sweating it one way or the other. "If its us or Tampa Bay that has home ice advantage, we dont know," said coach Michel Therrien. "But I can predict what the answers will be when we know on Sunday night: The team that has it will be really happy and the team that doesnt will say it doesnt matter." Forward Lars Eller didnt skate and it likely to miss a third game with a flu. Winger Brandon Prust is also out with an upper body injury. Therrien expects him to be ready for the playoffs but cautioned "were not quite sure yet." Forward Travis Moen, out eight games with a concussion, is also a question mark. Winger Michael Blunden was recalled from AHL Hamilton. The Canadiens announced that captain Brian Gionta edged out Gallagher for the Jacques Beauchamp Trophy as the teams unsung hero in voting by the local media. The two-way right winger has played 80 games this season after missing a large part of the last two campaigns with biceps injuries. "From the outside looking in, fans may not realize how important he is," Gorges said of Gionta. "Its not always about how many points you get, its what you do to help the team win games." 17:39ET 11-04-14 Jerian Grant Jersey
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.com) - Many people at Eastern Washington are waiting to see if star quarterback Vernon Adams Jr.ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Kole Calhoun homered and drove in three runs, Albert Pujols also went deep and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Chicago White Sox 8-4 Friday night. Jered Weaver (7-4) won for the sixth time in eight starts, allowing two runs, five hits and four walks in six innings. His teammates staked him to a 7-1 lead through four. The All-Star right-hander, pitching at home for the first time since his two-hit, 2-1 victory against Houston on May 21, struck out nine and improved to 8-2 with a 1.70 ERA in 11 starts against the White Sox. Angels sidearming righty Joe Smith hit Alejandro De Aza and Adrian Nieto with consecutive pitches in the eighth, and nearly plunked Adam Eaton with his next offering before retiring him on a soft line drive to first with the bases loaded. Pujols capped the Angels scoring in the bottom half with his 15th homer and the 507th of his career. Adam Dunn capped his three-hit night with a two-run homer off Ernesto Frieri, his 10th this season and the 450th of his career. Andre Rienzo (4-3) lost his third straight start, throwing 72 pitches over 3 2-3 innings and giving up seven runs on nine hits. Over the previous 15 games, White Sox starters had a combined ERA of 2.03 -- including a 5-2 loss to the Dodgers in which all five runs against Jose Quintana were unearned. Chicago, starting its third straight series in Southern California after losing two of three to San Diego and winning two of three from the Dodgers, slipped 3 1/2 games behind AL Central-leading Detroit. After this series, the White Sox return home for a four-game showdown with the Tigers. Calhoun got the Angels off and running with the second leadoff homer of his career, driving Rienzos third pitch of the game to right-centre. Mike Trout followed with a single, stole secoond and scored on a double by Josh Hamilton that ended his drought of 27 at-bats without an RBI against White Sox pitching.dddddddddddd De Aza got Chicago on the board in the third, leading off the inning with his fifth home run and first in 33 games since his two-run shot off Tampa Bays Jake Odorizzi on April 28. The White Sox loaded the bases with a single by Nieto and two walks, but Weaver minimized the damage by slipping a called third strike past Dunn. The Angels increased the margin to 7-1 with five more runs in the third. C.J. Cron hit a two-run double inside first base, Hank Conger snapped an 0-for-18 drought with an RBI single and Calhoun added a two-run double inside first base. White Sox rookie sensation Jose Abreu ended up with a gift double in the second when his high fly fell in short right-centre between Trout, Calhoun and second baseman Grant Green. But Weaver struck out Dunn and Alexei Ramirez before retiring Dayan Viciedo on a fly ball. Dunn drove in Chicagos second run with a fifth-inning single. NOTES: White Sox LHP Chris Sale and Angels LHP C.J. Wilson will miss each other by one day because of the way the rotations shake out for this series. In Wilsons last two starts against Chicago, both coming six days apart in May last season, Sale beat him 3-0 both times -- including a one-hitter at U.S. Cellular Field. ... Weaver fanned Abreu in the fifth for his 1,300th strikeout in the regular season. ... The Angels are 32-20 when Calhoun plays, and 0-7 when he doesnt. ... Hamilton played in his 900th regular-season game in the majors and his fourth since coming off the disabled list. ... Weaver has allowed a home run in five consecutive starts, one shy of his career-worst stretch, when he gave up at least one in each of his final six outings of 2012. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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