Penguins rally to force Game 6; Predators finish off Red Wings
Steve Sullivan, Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy scored and the Pittsburgh Penguins fended off elimination with a 3-2 comeback victory over the visiting Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves — including a series of big stops in the third period — to help Pittsburgh cut Philadelphia's lead to 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.
Matt Carle and Scott Hartnell scored power-play goals in the first period for Philadelphia, but the Flyers failed to close out Pittsburgh for the second straight game.
Following four wild games that featured a record 45 goals, the teams played something more closely resembling playoff hockey.
Staal, coming off a hat trick in Pittsburgh's 10-3 victory in Game 4, likely extended the Penguins' season when he beat Ilya Bryzgalov over the glove 6:15 into the second period to tie the game and give the team an energy boost in front of the largest crowd in the Consol Energy Center's brief history.
Kennedy put Pittsburgh in front to stay just over 3 minutes later, ripping a shot past Bryzgalov.
■ David Legwand scored 13 seconds into the third period, and the Nashville Predators advanced to the Western Conference semifinals with a 2-1 victory at home over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 5 of their series. Legwand added an assist, and Alexander Radulov also had a goal and assist for Nashville. The team that scored first won each game, and that was Nashville again.
Emmert: Coaches being held accountable
NCAA President Mark Emmert found one bit of good news in all the bad that has rocked college sports and cost several big-name coaches their jobs.
"I encourage you to be attentive to something that was positive in all those scandals in a sense that it really demonstrated a sea change in responsibility," Emmert said Friday.
"If 14 months ago ... we had said this next cycle we will watch the firing of the head coaches of Ohio State, Penn State, North Carolina, Tennessee basketball, Arkansas — all fabulously successful coaches on the floor and on the field — to see those five men fired for misdeeds, not for failures on the court or on the field, none of us would have believed it.
"I sure wouldn't have thought that was possible," Emmert during a meeting with Associated Press Sports Editors.
Coaches such as Joe Paterno (Penn State), Jim Tressel (Ohio State), Bobby Petrino (Arkansas), Butch Davis (North Carolina) and Bruce Pearl (Tennessee) in the past had been considered "untouchable," Emmert said.
"You're seeing boards of directors, of trustees, and presidents and athletic directors saying 'You know you've done a great job here. We love you. We pay you really well. You get all this adoration. You've got to live by the rules.' ... And that's a good thing."
Emmert also said transfer rules are too complex and need to be changed. Forty percent of students who play men's Division I basketball transfer at some point during their careers, according to NCAA data. The rules for transferring are varied and come from a variety of governing bodies.
"We have different transfer rules for different sports. We have different transfer rules based upon different circumstances in a sport. We have different authority over transfer rules; some at the conference level, some at the institutional level, then some at the national level," Emmert said.
"I think it's a crazy quilt of messages that are being sent out to the public, but more importantly to the kids. We need to sort that all out. I don't think it's working very well."
■ Arkansas Athletics Director Jeff Long said the search for a new football coach will extend beyond this weekend. Long said he has begun reviewing potential candidates inside and outside the program to replace Bobby Petrino, who was fired April 10 for hiring his mistress and failing to disclose the conflict of interest.
Gardner ends Olympic comeback bid
Forty-year-old heavyweight Rulon Gardner ended his comeback bid a day before the U.S. Olympic team trials.
Gardner didn't show up to weigh in on Friday in Iowa City, ending his quest. Gardner said in a statement released by USA Wrestling that he was within five pounds of reaching the 264.5-pound limit for his weight class before falling short.
"I'm disappointed I didn't make the weigh-in. I worked hard," Gardner said. "I'm glad I did this and have my health back."
Gardner won the gold medal in Sydney in 2000 and bronze in Athens eight years ago, but he gained nearly 200 pounds after retiring from wrestling in 2004. A stint on the NBC reality show The Biggest Loser convinced him to give wrestling one final shot.
Gardner told The Associated Press two weeks ago that he was roughly 25 pounds heavier than he needed to be to qualify for the Olympic trials. He was always considered a long shot to get past Dremiel Byers in the 120 kilogram (264.6 pounds) class.
The last word
From the time Dale Earnhardt Jr. put Brad Keselowski in a Nationwide Series car in 2007, Keselowski made a promise to himself. Keselowski vowed to do the same one day for an up-and-coming driver looking for a chance. Keselowski is making good on that pledge by fielding a Truck Series team for Parker Kligerman. Keselowski said:
"As drivers we have a tendency to take a lot from the sport. We get a lot of credit and do very little of the work. It's important for those who take to give. ... I look at it as a fruit tree. As a driver, we are always underneath the fruit tree, and we're picking the apples, and we're eating, and we're making a great living off of this. At some point, you have to take a couple of them apples and bury them in the ground and grow some new trees so the next person who walks up behind you has some fruit to eat."