The Blackhawks had Brad Richards at second-line center for much of training camp, and then coach Joel Quenneville returned Andrew Shaw to that role near the end of the preseason.Sure looks like a smart move right now.Shaw, Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad combined for two goals and five assists, and the Blackhawks used a four-goal third period to beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-2 in their home opener on Saturday night. ”It is satisfying. Playing with those two guys, you know they’re going to make plays,” Shaw said, ”so I just try to go to the dirty areas and get them the puck and go to the net and they seem to make a lot of things happen.” Shaw, Kane and Saad helped lead the Hawks back from a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference final last season, but the Stanley Cup champion Kings won Game 7 in overtime. The Blackhawks then signed Richards in the offseason, but it looks as if Shaw is right at home playing center behind captain Jonathan Toews. ”That line had a couple of shifts that were pretty impressive in the third period,” Quenneville said. Zemgus Girgensons and Tyler Ennis scored in the first period for Buffalo, which lost 3-1 to Columbus in its season opener on Thursday night. Drew Stafford had two assists and Jhonas Enroth had 41 stops. ”In the third period, their star players turned it up a notch and we didn’t,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. Shaw and Kane each had a goal and an assist in the Blackhawks’ fifth consecutive win against the Sabres. Saad had a career-high three assists and Corey Crawford made 21 saves. ”I think we started really well, and we forgot to play defense,” said Marian Hossa, who had a short-handed goal in the third. ”They just kept coming and it was a tie game. But we had more chances and more shots, and eventually we played better defensively.” The game was tied at 2 when Kane one-timed a backhand pass from Shaw past Enroth at 5:58 of the third. It was the first of the season for the Buffalo native, who has five career goals against his hometown team.The Blackhawks poured it on from there. Hossa had a short-handed score at 10:03, Patrick Sharp converted a long power-play slap shot and Daniel Carcillo tapped in a feed from Saad with 2:37 left.Coming off a 3-2 shootout win at Dallas in their season opener, a victory that Quenneville said they stole from the Stars, the Blackhawks jumped out to a fast start against the Sabres.Shaw tipped Niklas Hjalmarsson‘s long shot past Enroth just 59 seconds into the game. Duncan Keith then had another long shot go off the stick of a Buffalo player and into the upper right corner for a 2-0 lead at 2:52 of the first.With the crowd of 22,012 looking for a quick knockout, Enroth settled down and the Sabres went to work on Crawford. Girgensons poked home a rebound to get Buffalo on the board, and Ennis scored on a short-handed breakaway to make it 2-2 at 18:40.Stafford set up the tying score when he intercepted a pass from Richards near the blue line and played it forward to a streaking Ennis, who skated in on Crawford for his first goal of the season. The Blackhawks went 1 for 4 on the power play.The Hawks had a chance to go in front in the final seconds of the first, but Enroth made a great save on Jonathan Toews right in front of the net.Buffalo had the best opportunity in the scoreless second period. After Blackhawks defenseman David Rundblad failed to control the puck at the point, Nicolas Deslauriers got loose for a breakaway, but was stopped by Crawford, leading to chants of ”Co-rey! Co-rey!” from the crowd. NOTES—Kris Versteeg and Ds Kyle Cumiskey and Michal Rozsival were the scratches for the Blackhawks … Former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon received a standing ovation before he participated in the shoot the puck contest in between the second and third periods.
SOUTH BEND—Everett Golson and Notre Dame did just enough to overcome their own mistakes and beat North Carolina.The 50-43 victory Saturday, the highest-scoring game in the 84-year-history of Notre Dame Stadium, wasn’t secure for the sixth-ranked Irish until Ben Koyack recovered the Tar Heels’ onside kick with 47 seconds left. ”We managed to find a way to battle back and get up on them and score 15 points late in the game and get a win,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. ”There are many, many things I could delve into, but I would say the thing that points up for me is that our guys know how to win football games. They found a way to win this one.” It marked the second straight game the Irish (6-0) rallied to win in the fourth quarter. Last week, they beat Stanford with a touchdown with 61 seconds left. The Irish are at No. 1 Florida State (6-0) next week. Notre Dame’s last game against a No. 1 team was against Southern California in 2005, the ”Bush Push” game when Trojans tailback Reggie Bush nudged quarterback Matt Leinart into the end zone with 3 seconds left for the winning touchdown. North Carolina (2-4) lost its fourth straight and fell to 0-12 all-time at Notre Dame Stadium. ”I just left a team whose guts are ripped out of them right now,” North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said. ”They came here believing they were going to win a football game, and they came up short.” Golson threw three touchdowns passes to overcome his three turnovers, giving him a total of nine turnovers in the past three games. He was 21-of-38 passing for 300 yards. ”If you take away those three turnovers that I had, the score looks a little bit more relaxed. I will do better,” Golson said. North Carolina’s Marquise Williams threw two touchdown passes, ran for another score and caught a 23-yard TD pass from receiver Quinshad Davis late in the third quarter to give the Tar Heels a 36-35 lead.But mistakes hurt the Tar Heels as they have all season. A roughing-the-center penalty on North Carolina’s Norkeithus Otis kept alive a drive that led to a 9-yard TD pass from Golson to Tarean Folston early in the fourth quarter and the Irish added a two-point conversion.Fedora said he was better off not commenting about the penalty, but said Otis told him he didn’t hit the center too early.But Kelly said the Notre Dame coaches alerted officials earlier that North Carolina was doing it.North Carolina was driving when Williams’ short pass was intercepted by cornerback Cole Luke at the 26. That set up Folston’s 6-yard scoring run, his third touchdown. ”That guy played his heart out,” Fedora said. ”He really gave everything he had out there.” Williams rushed for a career-high 132 yards and was 24-of-41 passing for 303 yards. ”We couldn’t tackle him,” Kelly said. ”We had two or three ties where we couldn’t get him down.” Fedora abandoned his practice of rotating quarterbacks. Mitch Trubisky, a redshirt freshman, had entered each game on the third offensive series, but didn’t play against the Irish.Folston finished with 98 yards rushing for the Irish on 18 carries for Notre Dame. Will Fuller had seven catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns.Freshman Elijah Hood, who originally committed to Notre Dame, had a season-high 17 carries, finishing with 27 yards. The Tar Heels finished with a season-high 510 yards of offense.The victory ended a streak of 16 straight losses by the Irish when an opponent scored 35 or more points. Golson said the key was the Irish didn’t lose their composure.
MINNEAPOLIS—Jalen Myrick returned a kickoff 100 yards in the fourth quarter to atone for a penalty on the previous drive and help Minnesota defeat Northwestern, 24-17, on Saturday.Mitch Leidner was 10 for 15 for 153 yards and ran for two touchdowns and David Cobb added 97 yards rushing on 30 carries for the Golden Gophers (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten), who didn’t lose any momentum during the bye week after a convincing win at Michigan.After Northwestern (3-3, 2-1) drove 97 yards to tie the game at 17 midway through the fourth quarter, Myrick raced through a big hole on the left side and out-ran the Wildcats down the sideline for the winning score.Justin Jackson rushed for 106 yards and Trevor Siemian completed 32 of 50 passes for 269 yards with a touchdown and an interception for Northwestern.There was nothing flashy about this game between two throwback offenses that prefer to grind games out on the ground and avoid costly mistakes in the passing game, until Myrick turned on the jets.Cobb averaged just 3.2 yards per carry and Leidner rushed for 31 as well.Leidner was just 3 for 4 in the first half, but one of those was a 52-yard completion to tight end Maxx Williams in the second quarter. That set up Leidner’s second touchdown plunge of the game to help the Gophers respond after Northwestern had tied the game 7-7 on the previous drive.The Wildcats had two scoring drives of 16 plays in the first half and Siemian completed 5 of 9 passes for 55 yards on the game-tying drive in the fourth quarter.The drive started at Northwestern’s 3-yard line, and the Wildcats also took advantage of a pass interference call and two personal fouls to move to the 2-yard line. On third-and-goal from the Minnesota 10, Siemian threw incomplete, but the drive was extended by a roughing the passer call on Briean Boddy-Calhoun. Coach Jerry Kill was also penalized on the play for unsportsmanlike conduct after he slammed his clipboard on the turf and yelled at the officials.Siemian dived in from the 2 on the next play, but the Wildcats couldn’t cover the ensuing kick, which kept them from improving to 3-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 2000.One of the biggest cheers of the day came when the Little Brown Jug was shown on the big screen, a rare appearance in Minnesota for one of the oldest trophies in college football. The Gophers won it for just the second time in 24 games when they dominated Michigan, 30-14, and they had last week off to both celebrate that victory and prepare for an important matchup against Northwestern.The Gophers have winnable games against Purdue next week and at Illinois on Oct. 25, and this victory puts them in nice position to challenge in the Big Ten’s West Division.
MADISON—Melvin Gordon rushed for 175 yards and four touchdowns, Corey Clement added 164 yards and a 72-yard score and Wisconsin held off Illinois for a 38-28 victory Saturday.Gordon padded his resume for a potential Heisman Trophy candidacy with another highlight-reel performance. The junior eclipsed 1,000 yards on the season in just Wisconsin’s sixth game, a school record.Wisconsin (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten) started Joel Stave at quarterback, but Gordon did most of the damage against the league’s worst rushing defense.Illinois (3-4, 0-3) did rally in the fourth quarter with backup Aaron Bailey at quarterback. He led them to two scores to get within 38-28 with about 3 minutes left before Illinois recovered an onside kick.But Bailey threw an interception with 2 minutes left to seal Wisconsin’s win. His fluttering deep pass was tracked down by safety Peniel Jean at the 2. Wisconsin ran out the clock from there.Gordon was a one-man hurry-up offense.His most impressive run may have come with 1:16 left in the second quarter, when Gordon took a first-down handoff from the Wisconsin 22 but got tripped up as he burst through a hole. But the stumbling Gordon regained his balance and ended up with a 46-yard run to the Illinois 32. Rafael Gaglianone hit a 44-yard field goal four plays later for a 24-14 lead going into the half.Gordon, who finished with 27 carries, is a lethal combination of power and breakaway speed made all the more dangerous when the Badgers’ beefy offensive line opens up running lanes.It didn’t really matter who was handing off the ball to him. All week, coach Gary Andersen maintained that both Stave and Tanner McEvoy would take snaps behind center.On Saturday, Stave ended up supplanting McEvoy, who had started the first five weeks. Stave, who reclaimed the starting job he held last season, presents more of a deep-passing threat. McEvoy, a mobile quarterback, played just one series.The best play call was simple: handoff to Gordon. He had touchdown runs in the first half from 15 and 6 yards before jumping into the end zone from a yard out with 1:08 left in the third quarter for his fourth score and a 31-14 lead.Illinois’ Reilly O’Toole, starting for the injured Wes Lunt, finished 12 of 19 for 96 yards. He connected with Matt LaCosse for an 8-yard touchdown pass with 6:43 left in the first quarter, then found Geronimo Allison for a 5-yard score on Illinois’ next drive to give the Illini a short-lived 14-7 lead.The Wisconsin defense picked up steam early in the second half.Wisconsin held Illinois to a three-and-out on the first series after halftime, thanks to sacks by Konrad Zagzebski and Leon Jacobs.Derek Landisch had a sack on the Illini’s next drive to force a third-and-17 play that was stopped short of a first down. Gordon followed with his 1-yard scoring run on the ensuing series for the 17-point lead.Embattled Illinois coach Tim Beckman turned to Bailey at quarterback for the first time this year in the fourth quarter with the team trailing by 24, forfeiting a potential redshirt season for the dual-threat sophomore.The Illini offense did show life late, with Bailey running for a 29-yard touchdown run before Donovonn Young’s 1-yard scoring run pulled Illinois within 38-28 with 2:53 left.Bailey finished with 12 carries for 75 yards, and was 2-of-5 passing for 39 yards.
DALLAS—Patrick Sharp scored the tying goal in the third period, Patrick Kane had the only goal in the shootout and the Blackhawks beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 Thursday night.The Stars had turned away several good scoring chances for the high-scoring duo of Kane and Jonathan Toews before Sharp, who had 10 points in five games against Dallas last season, beat Kari Lehtonen 11:10 into the third.Kane beat Lehtonen high on the glove side in the shootout. Corey Crawford stopped Dallas tries from Tyler Seguin and newcomers Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.The Stars opened on the same ice where last season ended in a first-round playoff series against Anaheim. The Blackhawks lost Game 7 of the Western Conference finals to the Los Angeles Kings.Dallas forced overtime by killing Jordie Benn‘s delay-of-game penalty in the final 2 minutes of regulation. Vernon Fiddler was stopped by Crawford on a good short-handed chance early in the penalty, and the two got tangled up while play continued at the other end. The Blackhawks didn’t get a great scoring chance in what amounted to a 5-on-3 opportunity.The Stars outshot the Hawks 24-11 through two periods before the Blackhawks controlled the pace in the third period and overtime.The Hawks had only one shot in the extra period but had the puck in the Dallas end throughout. Kane just missed on a spinning attempt as sent the puck through an empty crease after some nifty stick-handling.Toews and Kane played their first regular-season game since twin contract extensions signed over the summer that kick in next season and will pay them $84 million apiece over eight years.Spezza and Hemsky assisted on a tying goal by Trevor Daley in their Dallas debuts after playing part of last season together in Ottawa. Spezza was acquired in a trade just before Hemsky signed a free-agent deal with the Stars.The Stars scored again for a 2-1 lead in the second when Cody Eakin slipped a shot from just above the crease past Crawford, who stopped 32 of 34 shots.The young high-scoring Dallas pairing of Jamie Benn and Seguin had a quiet night, combining for three shots.Duncan Keith, coming off his second Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman, opened the scoring with a shot from deep in the right circle that found its way between Lehtonen’s legs.Daley’s goal came during a 4-minute high-sticking penalty against Niklas Hjalmarsson, who caught Patrick Eaves in the face.
NOTES—The Blackhawks home opener is Saturday night against Buffalo at the United Center…..The Stars lost for the first time in three season openers against the Blackhawks. They had previously won at home in Dallas and when the franchise was still in Minnesota. … Stars D Alex Goligoski played his 400th career game. … The Blackhawks won their third straight season opener after going winless in the previous three
CLEVELAND over Pittsburgh
TENNESSEE over Jacksonville
BUFFALO over New England
Denver over NY JETS
San Diego over OAKLAND
SEATTLE over Dallas
ARIZONA over Washington
CINCINNATI over Carolina Baltimore over TAMPA BAY
THURSDAY NIGHT: Indianapolis over HOUSTON
SUNDAY NIGHT:PHILADELPHIA over NY Giants
MONDAY NIGHT:San Francisco over ST.LOUIS
NFC NORTH GAMES:
Green Bay over Miami
Detroit over MINNESOTA
ATLANTA over BEARS
Last week: 11-5 Through 5 weeks: 51-29
HOME teams in ALL CAPS
Glen Rice scored 18 points, Marcin Gortat had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and the Washington Wizards beat the Bulls 85-81 on Monday night in the preseason opener for both teams.Joakim Noah and Wizards newcomer Paul Pierce exchanged minor shoves in the game, Derrick Rose‘s first in his latest return to NBA action.Rose, working his way back from two major knee injuries that limited him to 10 games the previous two seasons, had 11 points in 14 first-half minutes for the Bulls. He did not play in the second half.Bradley Beal added 11 points for the Wizards.Rookie Nikola Mirotic scored 17 points for the Bulls, who shot 34 percent and had their 12-game preseason winning streak snapped.Pierce had two points in his first game since joining the Wizards. His hard foul on Jimmy Butler led to him and Noah exchanging words and shoves before Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau stepped between them.Rose had nine points in the first five minutes of the game and shot 4 of 5, making an explosive fast-break layup where he weaved through two defenders on his way to the basket.The point guard had struggled with shot during the Basketball World Cup last month in Spain, making just 15 of 59 field goals (25 percent), including 1 for 19 from 3-point range.
CHARLOTTE—Staring at a possible three-game losing streak, the Carolina Panthers needed a spark.Cam Newton and the no-huddle offense – along with a little help from Robbie Gould – provided just that Sunday.The Panthers took advantage of Gould’s missed 35-yard field goal late in the first half and seized the momentum. Newton found his stride working the no-huddle, Carolina’s defense forced four turnovers and the Panthers overcome a 14-point deficit to beat the Bears 31-24.Carolina recaptured sole possession of first place in the NFC South.
”The no-huddle offense has been our edge,” said Newton, who threw for 255 yards. ”It was not panic time, because we have been in these situations before.”
Newton provided the go-ahead score with 2:18 left on his second touchdown pass to Greg Olsen, helping the Panthers (3-2) snap a two-game slide.The Panthers trailed 21-7 late in the first half and the Bears were looking for more after Newton was intercepted by Lance Briggs. But Bears drive stalled and Gould missed wide right.The momentum turned immediately.
”It was huge,” said Olsen, who spent four years with the Bears. ”We got in the huddle and said, `That’s our break.’ We were waiting for something to bounce our way and that was it. We went right down and bang, bang. … Cam got in an awesome groove and from that point on he was on fire.”
Newton capped the drive with a 9-yard pass to Olsen to pull Carolina within 21-14 at halftime. The Panthers stayed with the no-huddle and Newton led a 10-play, 86-yard drive in the third quarter, with Chris Ogbonnaya scoring on a 1-yard run to tie the game.From there, Carolina’s defense took over. The Panthers forced three turnovers on Bears last three possessions.The biggest came with the game tied at 24 when Antoine Cason stripped Matt Forte of the ball and the Panthers’ Kawaan Short recovered at the Bears 23. Six plays later, Newton found Olsen on a slant route for a 6-yard touchdown.The Panthers sealed the win when Short sacked Jay Cutler and Charles Johnson recovered the fumble.It was a big step for Carolina’s defense, which allowed 75 points and 908 yards the past two weeks in blowout losses to Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
”It was a matter of time before we came back,” Short said.
For the Bears it was a distressing finish considering they appeared to be in control in the first half.Cutler was 28 of 36 for 289 yards with two TDs, but turned the ball over three times for the Bears (2-3). Forte had 61 yards rushing and 105 yards receiving and a touchdown before his costly fumble.
”There were many opportunities for us to put this one away offensively,” Cutler said. ”We put our defense in a bad place, and I thought they played real well, given the circumstances and field position we put them in. A lot of that is on me.”
It was also a big day for Newton, who was comfortable running the no-huddle set – just as he has most of the season.
”He’s pretty good at it,” Olsen said. ”It’s been good for us this year. Sometimes certain situations dictate that you can’t stay in it, but when we’ve done it we’ve been pretty successful. When we need a spark we can go to it. And it seems like it does spark us.”
The Bears scored 14 points off Carolina turnovers to build a 21-7 lead in the first half.Cornerback Isaiah Frey stripped Panthers receiver Kelvin Benjamin of the ball and recovered at the Panthers 28, setting up a 10-yard TD pass from Cutler to Forte.Willie Young beat guard Amini Silatolu for a strip-sack fumble on Newton and Lamarr Houston recovered at the Carolina 13 on the next possession. Three plays later Cutler scrambled 10 yards for touchdown.Cutler pushed the lead to 21-7when he beat the Panthers on a cornerback blitz, flipping the ball to the flat where Alshon Jeffery raced around two defenders for a 25-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
”I’ve got to take accountability for our failure to get it done in the second half on all three phases – that starts with me,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said.
NOTES—Newton said he had four wisdom teeth removed earlier this week. … Panthers cornerback Josh Norman left with a shoulder injury. … Bears safety Chris Conte left with a concussion. … The win was Rivera’s first against the team he helped win a Super Bowl in 1985.
AFC GAMES— INDIANAPOLIS over Baltimore Pittsburgh over JACKSONVILLE TENNESSEE over Cleveland SAN DIEGO over N.Y.Jets
NFC GAMES— NEW ORLEANS over Tampa Bay NY GIANTS over Atlanta PHILADELPHIA over St.Louis
INTER CONF GAMES— DALLAS over Houston DENVER over Arizona SAN FRANCISCO over Kansas City
SUN NITE—NEW ENGLAND over Cincinnati
MON NITE—Seattle over WASHINGTON
NFC NORTH GAMES— GREEN BAY over Minnesota
DETROIT over Buffalo
Bears over CAROLINA
HOME TEAMS in ALL CAPS
Nick Leddy was traded by the Blackhawks to the New York Islanders in a move needed to clear salary to maintain some flexibility under the cap and the Islanders needed some veteran help on what was looking to be an extremely young blue line.The Isles traded to the Hawks defensive prospect Ville Pokka, defenseman T.J. Brennan and restricted free agent goaltender Anders Nilsson. New York also got goalie prospect Kent Simpson as part of the return.Leddy will be playing on a contract that expire after this season, and the Isles paid a fairly high price. That said, New York is deep on youth in their organization, which makes some of those picks and prospects a tad more expendable.Leddy, 24, had 31 points last season as a bottom-pairing defenseman for the Hawks. The former first-round pick of the Minnesota Wild, has appeared in 258 NHL games, all with the Blackhawks, and has 93 career points in the league. He has 54 games of postseason experience and was part of the Hawks 2013 Stanley Cup team. Leddy will be a restricted free agent after the season ends.Boychuk instantly improves the team’s ability to defend and their overally physicality, while Leddy brings another power-play weapon and will likely get more ice time in New York than he could on the Hawks deep blue line.You really have to commend Garth Snow for his ability to exploit two cap-strapped teams for everyday players that are going to help the Isles immediately.The Bruins take on no additional salary, which was the goal after the B’s had zero cap flexibility thanks to the bonus overages from a year ago. Bruins fans are likely to be disappointed by the return, but Peter Chiarelli had little choice with the cap situation.The Hawks build onto their already deep prospect pool on defense with Pokka. Brennan, who has bounced between the AHL and NHL over the last few years is a good option as a potential cheap call-up. He had 72 points for the Toronto Marlies in the AHL last year and has 40 games of NHL experience. Nilsson is currently a restricted free agent without a new contract. He is currently playing in the KHL, so the Blackhawks would merely retain his rights without having to spend the cash. In a bid to get tougher, the Blackhawks are bring back Dan Carcillo, who signed a one year contract.