Flyers force Game 7 against Sabres on Leino's OT goal
Goalie Brian Boucher got his second chance. Chris Pronger's presence provided an inspirational boost. And thanks to Ville Leino, the Philadelphia Flyers made this comeback stick against the host Buffalo Sabres. On the brink of elimination, and with the Flyers enduring the latest in a string of goalie shuffles, Boucher stopped 24 shots in yet another relief effort and Leino capped Philadelphia's two-goal comeback by scoring 4:43 into overtime in a 5-4 win on Sunday to force Game 7 in the first-round playoff series.
The deciding game is at Philadelphia on Tuesday to close what's been a tightly contested and topsy-turvy series, in which five of the six games have been won by one goal.
"I've been through some pretty wild and crazy games through my career," said Danny Briere, the former Sabres co-captain who scored twice against his former team. "And today was one of them, the roller-coaster ride that it was. My heart definitely skipped a few beats today."
He wasn't the only one.
Michael Leighton became the third Flyers goalie to start a game this series, before proceeding to become the third Flyers goalie to be yanked after allowing three goals on the first seven shots he faced.
Enter Boucher, who made up for his dreadful performance in a 4-3 overtime loss on Friday, in which he gave up three goals on 11 shots. And unlike what happened in Game 5, in which the Flyers rallied from a 3-0 deficit before faltering, Leino sealed this victory during a scramble in front.
■ Nick Spaling scored his second goal of the game at 4:53 of the third period and the Nashville Predators closed out their first post-season series victory to advance to the Western Conference semifinals, beating the visiting Anaheim Ducks 4-2.
Steve Sullivan scored a goal, David Legwand had an empty-netter and Jordin Tootoo assisted on Spaling's goals. The Predators won the series 4-2 in their sixth post-season in seven seasons.
"I'm happy because I think of the resiliency of the group that worked so hard all year, and I'm relieved because there is a little bit of a cloud that we wanted to get to the next level," said Barry Trotz, the only coach of the franchise that hit the ice in the 1998-99 season.
■ Ben Smith scored on a rebound at 15:30 of overtime and the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks beat the visiting Vancouver Canucks 4-3 to force a seventh game in the opening-round series. The Canucks, with the NHL's best record during the regular season, have lost three straight after it appeared they were in control of the series. Game 7 is Tuesday night in Vancouver.
Smith, a rookie, followed in a long, hard shot from the point by teammate Niklas Hjalmarsson that bounced off goalie Roberto Luongo. Luongo didn't start the game but was called upon in the third period when Cory Schneider had to be helped off the ice when he was injured as he tried to stop Michael Frolik's penalty shot that tied it at 3.
Miscues keep UK softball from sweep
A two-out RBI single into right-center enabled South Carolina to walk-off with a 4-3 win in extra innings over No. 16 Kentucky to avoid a sweep in the final game of the series in Columbia, S.C. It was the first extra-inning loss of the season for the Wildcats, and the first time the team lost a game when hitting a home run.
Kentucky (35-11, 13-7 Southeastern Conference) was hurt by a pair of errors that led to one of the Gamecocks' runs and a base-running error in the top of the eighth that ended a scoring threat.
Megan Yocke was 2-for-3 a two-run homer in the third, her 10th home run this season. Meagan Aull had a pair of doubles and Samantha DeMartine hit her third home run of the series.
Centre men take conference title
Centre's men's track and field team won the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship for the first time in school history on Saturday in Memphis. The Colonels outscored host Rhodes, which finished second, 1681/2-152.
Clinton Cahall won the 5,000 in 15:13.52 and Chrys Jones of Harrodsburg won the triple jump (46 feet, 62⁄3 inches).
Nadal earns 6th Barcelona Open title
Rafael Nadal defeated David Ferrer 6-2, 6-4 in their second all-Spanish finals in two weeks to claim his sixth Barcelona Open title Sunday in Spain. The top-ranked Spaniard won his 29th straight match at the clay court event when the fourth-seeded Ferrer hit his backhand wide.
"It is a dream for me to win here six times," said Nadal, whose sole loss at Barcelona came against another countryman, Alex Corretja, in 2003. "I think it will be difficult to repeat. Six years is a long time in the life of a tennis player."
It was Nadal's 45th career ATP title and his second consecutive trophy after beating Ferrer at Monte Carlo in straight sets April 17.
■ Julia Goerges upset top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki 7-6 (3), 6-3 in the finals of the Porsche Grand Prix on Sunday in Stuttgart, Germany. The 22-year-old German won in Bad Gastein, Austria, last year, but she had never captured a title in one of the WTA's premier events.
"I only know I won, but I don't know how," Goerges said. "Playing against Caroline is like climbing a high hill."
Goerges becomes the first German to win the tournament since Anke Huber in 1996 and will now move to a career-best ranking of No. 27. Wozniacki was looking for her fourth title of the year.
"Julia played very well and very aggressive. I wasn't good enough today," said Wozniacki, who had not dropped a set in the tournament until the finals and had not lost a match on clay this year.
The last word
Right-hander Justin Duchscherer, a two-time All-Star with Oakland, is now on the disabled list with Baltimore. In the May issue of Men's Journal, he had some candid comments about his battle with depression:
"People think if you're rich you must be happy. They can't understand why you're not. I feel guilty making so much money playing a game. If I pitch a shutout, it doesn't make me happy. I think of the guys I struck out, how they're going home depressed, to their families."