Ovechkin scores three for Caps in win over Devils
UNDATED (AP) — Alex Ovechkin took a stick to the face and put three pucks in the net for a hat trick to lead the Washington Capitals past the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Thursday night.
Ovechkin reached 31 goals this season with his 25th career hat trick. He has scored five in his past two games to reach 689 total, one back of Mario Lemieux for 10th on the NHL’s all-time list as he approaches 700.
Mike Gartner is the only other player to reach the 30-goal mark in each of his first 15 seasons.
In other Thursday ice action:
— Chris Kreider scored a power-play goal with 25 seconds left to give the New York Rangers a 3-2 win over the rival New York Islanders. Mika Zibanejad had a goal and an assist and Tony DeAngelo also scored as the Rangers beat the Islanders for the fourth time in the last five meetings — and second time in four days.
— Patrice Bergeron scored his 20th goal, Karson Kuhlman and David Pastrnak both had two assists, and the Boston Bruins beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. Sean Kuraly and Par Lindholm also scored for the Bruins and Brad Marchand added an empty-net goal in the final minute. Boston improved to 2-0 against the Penguins.
— Ilya Kovalchuk scored twice and Carey Price recorded 40 saves as the Montreal Canadiens avoided a season series sweep with a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Tomas Tatar scored his 17th goal of the season and Artturi Lehkonen added his 11th for the Canadiens.
— Brian Boyle had the winning goal and the Florida Panthers held off a late surge to beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-3. Mike Matheson, Frank Vatrano and Evgenii Dadonov also scored for Florida. Jack Campbell stopped 22 shots in his third start in four games. The Kings have lost six of their last seven games.
— Nick Foligno (foh-LEEN’-yoh) scored the tie-breaking goal with 1:41 left in the game to push the Columbus Blue Jackets past the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. Elvis Merzlikins had 32 saves as the Blue Jackets won their third straight game. They are 5-0-1 in their last six.
— Matthew Tkachuk (kuh-CHUK’) scored the only goal of the shootout, leading the Calgary Flames past the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1. Derek Ryan scored in regulation for Calgary and the Flames got 35 saves from David Rittich through 65 minutes.
— Rickard Rakell had a goal and an assist, John Gibson made 33 saves and the Anaheim Ducks beat the Nashville Predators 4-2. Josh Manson, Adam Henrique and Derek Grant also scored for Anaheim, which snapped a four-game losing streak. Viktor Arvidsson and Mikael Granlund scored the goals for Nashville.
— Zach Parise scored his team-leading 17th goal and Ryan Suter added his seventh as the Minnesota Wild beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 to snap a four-game losing streak. Parise has three goals in the past two games. Nikita Kucherov scored twice for Tampa Bay, which had won 11 of 12 games.
— Mark Stone scored a goal and picked up an assist in his return to Ottawa, leading Vegas to a 4-2 victory over the Senators in Peter DeBoer’s debut as the Golden Knights’ coach. The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Knights, who fired Gerard Gallant on Wednesday. The Senators extended their losing streak to nine games.
— Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves for his first shutout of the season and the Colorado Avalanche got goals from four different players in a 4-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. The Avalanche ended a four-game regular-season losing streak against the Sharks.
Antetokounmpo, Bucks hold off Celtics, 128-123
UNDATED (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) had 32 points and 17 rebounds, Khris Middleton scored 23 and the Milwaukee Bucks held off the Boston Celtics 128-123 on Thursday night.
With the victory, the NBA-leading Bucks (37-6) extended their winning streak to five games.
Kemba Walker scored a game-high 40 points to lead the Celtics, who took the floor without Jaylen Brown, sprained right thumb in a 13-point loss to Detroit on Wednesday.
In other Thursday NBA action:
— Malik Beasley made two free throws with 8.9 seconds left in overtime, and the short-handed Denver Nuggets handed the Golden State Warriors their 10th consecutive loss with a 134-131 victory. Will Barton had a season-high 31 points in Denver’s fifth win in six games. Nikola Jokic added 23 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, and Beasley finished with 27 points. Alec Burks scored 25 for Golden State, and D’Angelo Russell had 21 points and six assists. It’s the longest slide for the Warriors since they also dropped 10 in a row March 9-24, 2002.
— Kawhi Leonard scored 32 points, Montrezl Harrell had 21 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Orlando Magic 122-95. Leonard also had five rebounds and five assists in his fourth consecutive game with at least 30 points. He was 12 for 20 from the field. Nikola Vucevic had 22 points and nine rebounds and Aaron Gordon scored 20 points, but the Magic were unable to keep up with the Clippers while playing in Los Angeles for the second time in two nights. Orlando ended the Lakers’ nine-game winning streak with a victory Wednesday.
— Brandon Ingram scored a career-high 49 points, and the New Orleans Pelicans stopped the Utah Jazz’s 10-game win streak with a 138-132 victory. Utah led 132-127 on Bojan Bogdanovic’s 3 with 2:28 to go in overtime but went scoreless the rest of the way.
— Deandre Ayton had 26 points and a career-high 21 rebounds, and the Phoenix Suns pounded the New York Knicks 121-98. The Suns shot 51% from the field and placed five players in double figures in their third win in four games. Julius Randle led the Knicks with 26 points.
Wolves, Hawks swap guards Teague, Crabbe on expiring deals
UNDATED (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves traded 11th-year veteran point guard Jeff Teague to his original team Thursday in a three-player swap of backups with the Atlanta Hawks, who sent shooting guard Allen Crabbe in return.
The Timberwolves also dealt shooting guard Treveon Graham, creating a roster space for potential other transactions prior to the trade deadline Feb. 6. It was the first significant in-season move by new president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas.
The 31-year-old Teague, who’s making $19 million, and the 27-year-old Crabbe, who’s earning $18.5 million, are both playing on expiring contracts.
In other NBA news:
— Golden State guard Jacob Evans III is the latest Warriors player to go down injured. Evans suffered a concussion and broken nose in the first half of the team’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks and entered the NBA concussion protocol.
— LeBron James leads Luka Doncic (DAHN’-chich) in the race to become the leading Western Conference vote-getter and one of the two captains for next month’s NBA All-Star Game. The NBA says James has a lead of about 150,000 votes over Doncic for the top spot and presumably the captaincy for the game. Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) of the Milwaukee Bucks is the Eastern Conference leader, with roughly 2 million more votes than Toronto’s Pascal Siakam (see-A’-kam). Voting continues through Monday and starters will be announced on Jan. 23.
Giants make Alyssa Nakken first female major league coach
UNDATED (AP) — Alyssa Nakken (NAK’-ihn) became the first female coach on a major league staff in baseball history Thursday when she was named an assistant under new Giants manager Gabe Kapler.
Nakken is a former softball standout at first base for Sacramento State who joined the club in 2014 as an intern in baseball operations. She and Mark Hallberg, who was also named as an assistant Thursday, will work to promote high performance along with a close-knit team atmosphere. Nakken will be in uniform.
The NBA has several female assistant coaches. The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, playing in this Sunday’s NFC championship game, have Katie Sowers as an offensive assistant.
In other MLB news:
—The Mets say new manager Carlos Beltrán and the team have agreed to part ways in the latest fallout from the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal. Thursday’s announcement came two days after Boston cut ties with manager Alex Cora, who was Houston’s bench coach in 2017 when Beltrán played for the Astros.
— Houston Astros outfielder George Springer and the team have settled on a $21 million contract for next season. Springer led the tainted Astros to their first title in 2017 and was the Most Valuable Player of the World Series that year. Springer set career highs last season with 39 home runs and 96 RBIs.
— Miguel Sanó’s contract with the Minnesota Twins could be worth $44.25 million over four seasons. Sanó is guaranteed $30 million over three seasons under the deal announced Tuesday.
— Adeiny Hechavarría agreed to a $1 million, one-year contract to remain with the Braves, a move that boosted Atlanta’s infield depth. Hechavarria has a .253 career average in eight seasons with Toronto, Miami, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, the Yankees, Mets and Braves.
Warrant issued for Odell Beckham after video shows butt swat
UNDATED (AP) — Police in New Orleans say a misdemeanor simple battery warrant has been issued for Cleveland Browns wide receiver and former LSU star Odell Beckham Jr. The warrant comes as video posted on social media appears to show Beckham swatting a security officer’s backside during LSU’s locker room celebration after Monday night’s national championship game in the Superdome.
LSU has also acknowledged contacting NCAA officials about Beckham apparently handing out cash to Tigers players after the championship game.
In other NFL news:
— Two people familiar with the assignment tell The Associated Press that Bill Vinovich was chosen to work this year’s Super Bowl because he had the highest rating among referees. The selection of Vinovich has met with some disfavor from players and fans, noting that he was the referee in last year’s NFC championship game marred by an egregious missed penalty call on the Rams that helped them get to the Super Bowl.
— A person familiar with the Browns’ plans tells The Associated Press the team will interview Patriots director of college scouting Monti Ossenfort to be their general manager. Ossenfort has been with New England for 15 seasons. The Browns hired Kevin Stefanski as their head coach this week.
— San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch has won the Pro Football Writers of America Executive of the Year award. Lynch was honored today for his role in helping transform the 49ers from a four-win season in 2018 to a 13-3. San Francisco is playing Green Bay in the NFC championship game on Sunday.
— Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy made several changes to his staff, hiring Bill Lazor as offensive coordinator and John DeFilippo as quarterbacks coach. Dave Ragone, Brian Ginn, Chris Jackson and Shane Toub received promotions. Lazor worked with six different teams in his first 13 years as an NFL coach.
— Panthers All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey has pulled out of the Pro Bowl after a memorable season. McCaffrey isn’t injured. Rather, he decided not to play because Carolina’s spring workouts have been moved up two weeks after the team hired a new head coach in Matt Rhule. The team can open camp as early as April 6.
— Kellen Moore is staying as offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, and new coach Mike McCarthy says the plan is for Moore to continue calling plays. Moore was promoted to his current job in the final season under Jason Garrett, whose contract wasn’t renewed.
No. 20 Colorado overcomes slow start, beats Arizona St 68-61
UNDATED (AP) — Tyler Bey scored 19 points, Lucas Siewert added 14 and No. 20 Colorado overcame a slow start to beat Arizona State 68-61. Colorado won its first road game in conference play and has won seven of eight overall.
Arizona State has dropped five of its last seven. The Sun Devils pulled within 49-44 with about 7 minutes left but Siewert responded with his fourth 3-point to stop the rally. Remy Martin led Arizona State with 25 points.
In other T25 action:
— DJ Jeffries scored 18 points, Precious Achiuwa added 12 points and 11 rebounds and No. 22 Memphis used a rally midway through the second half to defeat Cincinnati 60-49. Jarron Cumberland, the defending American Athletic Conference player of the year, led Cincinnati with 19 points.
Baylor hires LSU’s Aranda as head coach
UNDATED (AP) — Baylor has hired LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda as its new football coach.
The move was finalized three days after LSU beat Clemson for the national championship. He replaces Matt Rhule, who last week became head coach of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Aranda takes over a Big 12 team on the rise.
The Bears went from 11 losses in 2017 to 11 wins this season, when they played in the Big 12 championship game and the Sugar Bowl. The 43-year-old Aranda was at LSU the last four seasons after three years as Wisconsin’s defensive coordinator.
LSU football team getting White House visit in quickly
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump will welcome the Louisiana State University football team to the White House on Friday after the Tigers defeated Clemson on Monday night in the college playoff final.
Before visiting the White House, the LSU team will tour the nearby National Museum of African American History and Culture, according to The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge. Trump attended the national championship game in New Orleans, which LSU won 42-25.
PGA-ABU DHABI CHAMPIONSHIP
Koepka tied for 3rd in Abu Dhabi in return from knee injury
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Brooks Koepka (KEHP’-kuh) shot a 6-under 66 Thursday in his return to competition after an October knee injury and was tied for third place after the opening round of the Abu Dhabi Championship.
Koepka, ranked No. 1 in the world, injury his knee when he slipped while walking off the tee at the CJ Cup in South Korea. Koepka is two shots behind co-leaders Shaun Norris, of South Africa, and Renato Paratore, of Italy.
FORMER NBA PLAYER-HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Former NBA player to plead not guilty to human trafficking
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — A grand jury has brought charges in a sex trafficking case against former NBA player and one-time University of Alabama basketball standout Jim Farmer, who was caught up in an undercover law enforcement sting last October.
The 55-year-old from Franklin, Tennessee, was arrested again after being indicted by the Rutherford County grand jury with attempted trafficking for sexual servitude, attempted solicitation of a minor and attempted patronizing of a prostitute. News outlets report he was released the same day, Jan. 10, on $100,000 bond.
The Daily News Journal reports that Farmer’s attorneys have issued a statement, saying their client will plead not guilty to the new charges at his next court appearance.
According to an affidavit from the first arrest, Farmer responded to an adult escort advertisement for meeting a juvenile for sex, communicating with an undercover officer who identified herself as a 16-year-old girl.