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Archive for March 24th, 2018

Major League Soccer enters Week 4: Crew SC hosts D.C. United Saturday night at 6 pm

This Week in MLS – March 19, 2018
  • MLS players join national teams in fight for World Cup roster spots
  • Young MLS players aim to shine on international stage
  • Toronto FC’s Osorio, MLS-heavy Canadian side clash against Kiwis in Spain
  • Atlanta United’s Almirón to be focal point of USMNT vs. Paraguay
  • MLS Week 4: Match Notes

MLS players join national teams in fight for World Cup roster spots
MLS players representing seven different 2018 FIFA World Cup-bound countries were called into national team duty during the upcoming international window, with these standouts using their stellar play in MLS to prove they belong on the biggest stage in sports this summer. Costa Rica and Panama each called six MLS players into international play, while Belgium, Egypt, Mexico, Peru and Sweden also called up MLS talent.

Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) led the way among MLS clubs with four players representing four different countries. Star forwardCarlos Vela (Mexico), who has impressed with one goal and two assists in two games with LAFC will represent Mexico in friendlies against fellow World Cup squads Iceland and Croatia. Team captain and defender Laurent Ciman suits up for a Belgium side taking on Saudi Arabia, while defender Omar Gaber (Egypt) and forward Marcos Ureña (Costa Rica) round out the World Cup national team callups for LAFC.

A pair of national heroes who scored goals securing World Cup bids for their respective countries, Seattle Sounders FC defenderRomán Torres (Panama) and Vancouver Whitecaps FC defender Kendall Waston, will lead their national teams in preparation for the World Cup during this window.

A full list of MLS players called up by country can be found HERE.

A list of televised international matches involving MLS players is below:

A full list of matches involving an MLS player can be found HERE.

Teams Time Channel
Egypt vs. Portugal March 23 (3:45 p.m. ET) WatchESPN
Scotland vs. Costa Rica March 23 (3:45 p.m. ET) WatchESPN
Mexico vs. Iceland March 23 (10:30 p.m. ET) FS1 / FOX Sports Go / Univision / UDN
Sweden vs. Chile March 24 (1 p.m. ET) beIN Sports
USA vs. Paraguay March 27 (8 p.m. ET) FS1 / FOX Sports Go / UniMas / UDN
Mexico vs. Croatia March 27 (11 p.m. ET) FS1 / FOX Sports Go / UDN

Young MLS players, Homegrowns aim to shine on international stage
Young, dynamic MLS players will represent 20 different national teams on the international stage during this international break, including a strong group of 11 Homegrown Players among the overall pool of 60 MLS standouts.

The United States called in seven players who developed out of MLS academies into its latest roster for a March 27 friendly against Paraguay, where they will face off against 23-year-old Designated Player Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United), the 2017 MLS Newcomer of the Year. Midfielder Tyler Adams, 18, on the heels of a spectacular performance to lift the New York Red Bulls past Club Tijuana in Concacaf Champions League play, leads the talented Homegrown group for the U.S., joined by current players Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC) and Marky Delgado (Toronto FC).

An additional 11 academy-produced players, including five current Homegrowns playing with their MLS first teams, were called into the U.S. U-20 camp to face the French U-20 National Team and Atletico Madrid’s U-21 squad. Atlanta United’s 17-year-old midfielderAndrew Carleton joins the U.S. after registering his first career assist on Saturday with a beautiful cross to help Josef Martínez complete a hat trick in the club’s 4-1 victory.

Additional young players set to join their national teams include 22-year-old Raheem Edwards (Montreal Impact) and 23-year-old Mark-Anthony Kaye (LAFC) with Canada, 22-year-old Panamanian defender Michael Amir Murillo (New York Red Bulls), and 23-year-old Slovakian midfielder Albert Rusnák (Real Salt Lake).

Toronto FC’s Osorio, MLS-heavy Canadian side clash against Kiwis in Spain
Two nations separated by 8,000 miles of Pacific Ocean meet this Saturday in an MLS-heavy clash between Canada and New Zealand at Pinatar Arena in Murcia, Spain (11 a.m. ET / CanadaSoccer.com). The matchup is chock-full of Canadian and league ties, with 10 current MLS players representing new Canada manager John Herdman’s side.

Defending MLS Cup winners Toronto FC feature four players, led by 25-year-old midfielder Jonathan Osorio who has scored twice in Concacaf Champions League play to help TFC advance to the tournament’s semifinal stage. In addition to helping Toronto win the treble last year – the Supporters’ Shield, MLS Cup and the Canadian Championship – Osorio also tallied his first two international goals in 2017, including a first-half tally during a 2-0 victory against Jamaica on Sept. 2, 2017. He will be alongside Toronto teammates Jay ChapmanTosaint Ricketts and Ashtone Morgan for the match against the Kiwis.

Montreal Impact midfielders Raheem Edwards and Samuel Piette and defender Michael Petrasso look to add to their budding senior national team careers. MLS Cup winner and Toronto native Edwards has fit in quickly with his new Impact club, notching an impressive left-footed volley during a Week 2 match against Columbus Crew SC on March 10. Rounding out the Canada roster is FC Dallas midfielder Tesho Akindele and expansion Los Angeles Football Club’s duo of Mark-Anthony Kaye and Dejan Jaković.

New Zealand touts two players with either current or former ties to Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Minnesota United defender Michael Boxall, who has earned 31 caps with the Kiwis, was a member of Whitecaps FC’s inaugural 2011 season, when he started in 18 of 19 matches. Boxall teams up with current Vancouver forward Myer Bevan, who in just his second international match scored his first goal on Sept. 4, 2017, en route to a 2-2 FIFA World Cup qualifying draw against the Solomon Islands.

Atlanta United’s Almirón to be focal point of USMNT vs. Paraguay
When the U.S. Men’s National Team faces Paraguay on Tuesday, March 27 (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1, UniMás, UDN), a familiar MLS staple will be the showpiece of the opposition at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.

Atlanta United’s Miguel Almirón , with 12 caps for La Albirroja, has 10 goals for the Five Stripes and a collective average of nearly one goal in every three games over his MLS career to date. The assist man by trade last season dished out 14 helpers to rank among the league’s top five in that category, and his breakout debut season earned him the distinctions of MLS All-Star, Newcomer of the Year, and the top-rated player in MLSsoccer.com’s annual 24 Under 24 ranking. Now in his sophomore campaign, the quick-paced playmaker has recently had his hand in two of Atlanta’s three goals against D.C. United on March 11, and he contributed an assist in last week’s 4-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Fitting comfortably into a starring offensive role with Atlanta United, Almirón is the current league leader in shots, as he prepares to go toe-to-toe against teammate Atlanta Darlington Nagbe in the center of the park.

MLS Week 4: Match Notes
Saturday, March 24, 2018
New England Revolution vs. New York City FC, 1:30 p.m.

  • The Revolution return to action after a week off, after winning their first match of the season in a 1-0 victory against the Colorado Rapids on March 10 at Gillette Stadium. Diego Fagundez and Chris Tierney scored the Revolution goal, the latter a direct free kick for the game-winner in second-half stoppage time.
  • NYCFC have opened the season with three wins from three starts, following their 2-0 win against Orlando City SC at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. It’s the first time in the club’s history it has started a season with three wins in a row; the winning streak is one game shy of the club record set twice previously.
  • The teams met three times a year ago, evenly splitting the season series. Each team won 2-1 on their home ground – NYCFC on Aug. 20 at Yankee Stadium, and the Revolution on Oct. 15 at Gillette Stadium. The teams opened the set with a 2-2 draw May 31 in The Bronx.
  • The Revs have won the last two meetings in Foxborough. NYCFC has won once at Gillette Stadium, a 1-0 victory July 6, 2016.
  • NYCFC’s win in the last meeting at Yankee Stadium ended a three-game winless streak vs. the Revolution in home matches (0-1-2). NYCFC’s last previous home win vs. New England came in the first meeting ever between the clubs, a 2-0 triumph March 15, 2015, NYCFC’s first victory in club history.

FC Dallas vs. Portland Timbers, 3:30 p.m.

  • FC Dallas returned to league play and won for the first time in MLS this season, easing to a 3-0 win against Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday at Toyota Stadium. Roland Lamah scored a pair of goals and assisted on the third.
  • The Timbers return to action after a week off, shut out for the first time in 22 games in their last match, a 4-0 loss at the New York Red Bulls on March 10. The Timbers have lost their first two games, the first time since their inaugural MLS season of 2011 they’ve opened a season with back-to-back defeats.
  • The Timbers put an end a five-game winless streak in the series in the last meeting a year ago, a 2-0 win June 10 at Providence Park. FC Dallas had won four meetings in a row before a 2-2 draw in the first encounter last year, April 29 at Toyota Stadium.
  • The Timbers have won once in 10 visits all-time to Toyota Stadium, in 2014. When FC Dallas won 3-1 at Portland on April 13, 2016, it was their first victory ever at Providence Park; the Timbers had won four of the first six league meetings there with two draws.
  • The teams also met in the Western Conference Championship in 2015. The Timbers claimed a 3-1 win at Providence Park in the first leg, before the teams reached a 2-2 draw in the return match at Toyota Stadium as the Timbers advanced to MLS Cup for the first time.

Columbus Crew SC vs. D.C. United, 6 p.m.

  • Crew SC remain undefeated on the season, after reaching a scoreless draw with the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Crew SC started the year with back-to-back wins.
  • D.C. United came back for a dramatic draw Saturday, getting the equalizer from Luciano Acosta seven minutes deep into stoppage time for a 2-2 tie with the Houston Dynamo. The game was played at the Maryland SoccerPlex, just the second league home game in United’s history they played away from RFK Stadium.
  • Crew SC won both meetings a year ago, both by 2-0 scorelines, first on March 18 at RFK Stadium, then on Sept. 30 at Mapfre Stadium.
  • United have not won in Columbus since the 2007 season. Crew SC have won seven of the 10 meetings since on their home ground, with three draws.
  • Crew SC concluded their history at RFK Stadium having won on three of their final seven trips to East Capitol Street (against two United victories), dating back to the 2013 season.

New York Red Bulls vs. Minnesota United FC, 7 p.m.

  • The Red Bulls suffered their first defeat in 2018 over all competitions, falling 1-0 to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday evening. The Red Bulls were coming off a 4-0 win against Portland in their league opener; they also took three wins and a draw in advancing to the Concacaf Champions League semifinals.
  • Minnesota United made their 2017 home debut and won for a second consecutive match, defeating the Chicago Fire 2-1 at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday. Ibson scored his first career MLS goal and Sam Nicholson scored his second in MLS play for MNUFC.
  • Minnesota United have won back-to-back games for the second time in their MLS history, after winning last Sept. 16 and 23 vs. Montreal and Dallas. MNUFC has never won three games in a row in MLS play.
  • The teams met once in MNUFC’s inaugural MLS campaign. Danny Royer, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Alex Muyl all scored as the Red Bulls cruised to a 3-0 win July 22 at TCF Bank Stadium.

Colorado Rapids vs. Sporting Kansas City, 9 p.m.

  • The Rapids opened their 2018 MLS campaign two weeks ago, dropping a 2-1 decision to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Niki Jackson scored the lone Rapids goal, just slightly more than a minute after coming onto the field in his MLS and Rapids debut.
  • Sporting won their second game on the trot, defeating the San Jose Earthquakes 3-2 on Saturday evening at Children’s Mercy Park. Felipe Gutíerrez netted his third goal in the last two matches for the eventual match-winner; SKC have scored seven goals in the two victories.
  • The teams split their season series a year ago, each winning on their home ground. Sporting claimed a 3-1 win at Children’s Mercy Park on April 9; the Rapids scored the game’s lone goal for a victory May 27 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • The Rapids have won the last four meetings between the teams in Commerce City – each of the last three by 1-0 scorelines – their first home wins in the series since 2009.
  • The Sporting victory in the first meeting last year ended a five-match Rapids winning streak in the all-time series, and a two-game Colorado winning streak at Children’s Mercy Park – the Rapids’ first two wins in Kansas City since the 2002 season.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. LA Galaxy, 10 p.m.

  • Whitecaps FC saw their two-game winning run to open the season put to an end, going down a man early then falling 4-1 to Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Erik Hurtado netted the lone ‘Caps goal late.
  • The Galaxy return to action after a week off, dropping their first game of the season last time out in a 2-1 loss at New York City FC on March 11. Jonathan dos Santos netted the lone Galaxy goal; he had an assist in the club’s 2-1 win against Portland to open the season.
  • Whitecaps FC won both meetings a year ago, a 4-2 victory on April 1 at BC Place, and a 1-0 triumph July 19 at StubHub Center. It was the second time in three seasons Whitecaps FC swept the season series.
  • The opening Vancouver goal in the first meeting last year snapped a 347-minute scoreless streak in the series. Whitecaps FC did not score a goal in three meetings vs. the Galaxy in 2016.
  • Whitecaps FC have won four of the last seven meetings between the teams, with two draws. The lone Galaxy win over the last three seasons was a 2-0 victory, July 4, 2016 in Carson. The two Vancouver wins at StubHub Center over the last three years have been their first ever in Carson.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF MLS COMMUNICATIONS

 

MLS names Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez as Alcatel Player of the Week

Josef Martínez Atlanta United 2017 photo By Delta News Hub - Delta, Atlanta United paint the town, CC BY 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

NEW YORK (Tuesday, March 20, 2018) – Atlanta United forward Josef Martínez was voted the Alcatel Major League Soccer Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) for the third week of the 2018 MLS season. 

Martínez scored three goals in Atlanta’s 4-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC in front of 45,003 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday. The 24-year-old now has 23 goals in 23 MLS regular season games played and has scored four hat tricks, one away from the current MLS record of five. Atlanta sits third in the Eastern Conference standings with six points (2-1-0 record), while Martínez tops the league with four goals scored this season.

The Venezuela National Team forward began his day with a penalty kick goal to the bottom right corner in the 15th minute for an early 1-0 Atlanta advantage (Watch Goal). After a Vancouver own goal, Martínez extended the lead to 3-0 in the 60th minute. Miguel Almirón sent a ball into open space, freeing Martínez to outpace the defense and finish with an uncontested right footed shot to the left side of goal (Watch Goal).

Martínez then completed his hat trick in the 88th minute to give Atlanta a 4-1 lead after Andrew Carleton, the 17-year-old Homegrown midfielder, sent a beautiful cross into the box, and Martínez elevated to finish with a powerful header to the center of net past goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic (Watch Goal).

Atlanta United returns to action on Saturday, March 31 to face Minnesota United FC at TCF Bank Stadium (8:00 p.m. ET, MLS LIVE).

The Alcatel MLS Player of the Week is chosen each week of the regular season by members of the North American Soccer Reporters. The organization includes print, television, radio and online journalists who cover domestic men’s soccer in the United States and Canada. Learn more about the NASR and apply to join athttps://www.facebook.com/soccerreporters/

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF MLS COMMUNICATIONS

NASCAR Monster Energy & Camping World Truck Series head to Martinsville this weekend

 

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: STP 500

The Place: Martinsville Speedway

The Date: Sunday, March 25

The Time: 2 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 2 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 263 miles (500 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 130),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 260), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 500)

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: My Bariatric Solutions 300

The Place: Texas Motor Speedway

The Date: Saturday, April 7

The Time: 3 p.m. ET

TV: FOX, 2:30 p.m. ET

Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 300 miles (200 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 200)

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: Alpha Energy Solutions 250

The Place: Martinsville Speedway

The Date: Saturday, March 24

The Time: 2 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 1:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 131.5 miles (250 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 70),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 140), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

 

Looking Up

Jimmie Johnson was ranked fourth this week by ESPN The Magazine on their list of sports’ “Dominant 20” athletes of the last two decades, which also included names like golf’s Tiger Woods, basketball’s Lebron James and the football’s Peyton Manning. And when it comes to this week’s Martinsville (Va.) Speedway NASCAR venue Johnson has shown himself to be as absolutely dominant as it comes.

 

With nine previous wins – including five in a six-race stretch – NASCAR’s “paperclip” track, Johnson has led an amazing 20.6 percent of all laps run at the historic property. His 7.7 average finish and 115.8 driver rating are easily tops among his competition this weekend and he leads in six of the seven traditional statistical categories at the track.

 

Rebounding from an uncharacteristically slow start to the season, Johnson had his first top-10 showing of the year last weekend at Auto Club Speedway – ninth place in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet – and no doubt has Martinsville circled on his calendar.

 

A win this weekend would make Johnson only the third driver in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series history to have 10 or more wins at multiple tracks (he has 11 at Dover) – joining NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip. If Johnson can lead 138 laps of Sunday’s scheduled 500-lapper, he would top the 3,000 laps led mark at Martinsville – one of only five drivers to have led 3,000 laps or more at multiple tracks. He also has 3,000 laps out front at Dover International Speedway.

 

New Ground

Reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup champion and current points leader Martin Truex Jr. dominated the competition to collect his first trophy of the season Sunday in California, snapping an 18-race winless streak at the track. But he faces a similar winless barrier this weekend at tiny Martinsville Speedway (Sunday, March 25 at 2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

Truex is still looking for his first victory in his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota after 24 races at Martinsville, where he has only three top-five and eight top-10 finishes. He started on the outside pole and finished runner-up in his last race there in November and has four total top-seven finishes in his last six starts there.

 

Among the top 10 in the standings, only Kyle Larson (73.4) and Aric Almirola (66.1) have lower driver ratings than Truex (76.6) at Martinsville.

 

Kyle Busch Looking for First Win of 2018

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch has been oh-so-close to a win in 2018 – finishing runner-up in consecutive races at Las Vegas and ISM Raceway and finishing third last week at California’s Auto Club Speedway. This week’s season-opening short track race may well be just what the doctor ordered.

 

The driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has two wins and five consecutive top-five showings in the last five races at Martinsville Speedway, including a victory the last time the Monster Energy Series raced there in November, 2017.  He has top-10 finishes in seven of the last 10 races.

 

Denny Hopes to Deliver at Home

Denny Hamlin, who grew up in Chesterfield, Virginia, has certainly turned his good home state vibes into a success story in Martinsville. His driver rating of 105.8 is second only to the track’s winningest active driver, Jimmie Johnson. Five of Hamlin’s 31 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins have come there, including four in a seven-race span between 2008-2010. His mark of 18 top-10 finishes in second only to Johnson’s 24 top 10s.

 

Hamlin, who drives the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, has had mixed success on the track since his last win in 2015, however. He has alternated between a top 10 and 30th-place or worse in the last fives races here – finishing 30th in the spring race in 2017 and seventh in the fall race.

 

Hamlin arrives in his home state boasting one of the best overall 2018 season efforts – with four top-six finishes in five races.

 

On the Verge

Penske Racing hasn’t hoisted a trophy yet in 2018, but its three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers have certainly made strong cases that a win is imminent. They are ranked third (Joey Logano), fourth (Brad Keselowski) and fifth (Ryan Blaney) in the points standings coming to Martinsville, a venue that offers a lot of promise for the team.

 

Keselowski is the defending winner of the STP 500 and boasts four consecutive top-five finishes at Martinsville – five in the last six races. He’s fourth in the points standings, despite crashing out of the Daytona 500, by virtue of three top-six runs through the season’s opening five races.

 

Logano, who led the Monster Energy Series driver standings for two weeks following Atlanta and Las Vegas, is looking for his first Martinsville victory. His No. 22 Team Penske Ford has certainly shown speed at the track. He was on the pole for the Fall Martinsville race and has won the Busch Pole Award for four of the last six races at the half-miler.

 

The team’s newest addition, popular 24-year old Blaney, is hoping to turn his strong season start into some Martinsville success. His 2018 season includes three top-10 finishes and he won the pole position at Las Vegas. His only top 10 (eighth-place) in four Martinsville races came in his last start there.

 

Strength in Numbers for Stewart-Haas Racing

Stewart-Haas Racing celebrated its first ever placement of all four drivers in the top 10 two weeks ago in Phoenix and the organization also has a historic mark in the points standings heading to Martinsville Speedway this weekend (Sunday, March 25 at 2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

All four of its drivers are firmly ranked consecutively in the top-12 portion of the championship standings – a first for SHR at this point in the season. Three-time race winner and 2014 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick leads his teammates in eighth place.

 

Second-year SHR driver Clint Bowyer is ninth, followed by the team’s newest addition, Aric Almirola, and 2004 Monster Energy Series champ Kurt Busch.

 

It’s Go Time for Kyle Larson

Kyle Larson’s runner-up finish at Auto Club Speedway last week was a firm reminder that the 25-year old Chip Ganassi Racing driver is championship-caliber.

 

He has three top-10 finishes since a rough Daytona 500 season opener, including a third-place at Las Vegas along with his second-place in California. And he sits seventh in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings, 42 behind the leader Martin Truex Jr.

 

Larson is hoping to turn the early season success story into a Martinsville break-through. The popular Californian won the pole position for the STP 500 last year but has only one top-10 (third-place in 2016) in eight races here.

 

Daniel Hemric to Make Monster Energy Series Debut at Richmond

Daniel Hemric has earned the NASCAR start of his lifetime.

 

Richard Childress Racing announced Tuesday that the 27-year-old will make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut, driving the No. 8 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet in the April 21 race at Richmond Raceway. He will then race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course on Sept. 30.

 

Hemric, who drives for RCR fulltime in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, has put in time helping the organization’s Monster Energy Series teams from testing the cars to filling in during practice sessions.

 

“You only get one chance to make your Cup Series debut, and it is pretty incredible to know that I am able to do it with Richard Childress Racing and with a partner such as Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff,” Hemric said. “RCR and Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff have been so influential in so many drivers’ careers – a lot of my heroes growing up. To know they will play a large role in the next step of my career and my initial Cup Series debut is very special.”

 

“The 8 is coming back. Good luck with it @DanielHemric.’’ Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted, ending his message with a thumbs-up emoji. Earnhardt drove the No. 8 in the Monster Energy Series ranks from 2002-2007.

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Etc.

Martinsville Speedway Quick Stats: Kurt Busch has the best rating for Fastest Laps at Martinsville (179) – the only statistic that Johnson isn’t tops. …Ryan Newman has won here, has eight top-five finishes and three pole positions at Martinsville, making him a driver to watch Sunday. …Johnson is the last driver to win consecutive races (Fall, 2012- Spring, 2013) and both times it was from the pole position. …The last manufacturer to score back-to-back wins at Martinsville was Chevrolet. Kurt Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. swept the 2014 races. … Kurt Busch’s two wins at the track came from starting positions closer to the rear of the starting grid. He won in 2002 from the 36th position (a track record) and his win in 2014 was 22nd. Earnhardt won in 2014 from the 23rd starting spot on the grid. … Six drivers have won three races-in-a-row here: Richard Petty (1968-69), Cale Yarborough (1976-77), Darrell Waltrip (1988-89), Rusty Wallace (1994-95) and Jimmie Johnson (2006-07).  Fred Lorenzen won four straight Martinsville races between 1963-65.

 

NASCAR XFINITY Series

 

Xfinity Series’ First Five: A Statistical Look At 2018 Season Thus Far

With the NASCAR Xfinity Series taking this weekend off to regroup for the upcoming stretch of the schedule, let’s look back at some of the key stats from the first five races of the 2018 season.

 

  • Winners: Five

2018 marks the 15th season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series that the first five races on the schedule have seen five different winners. The 2018 series race winners are Tyler Reddick (Daytona), Kevin Harvick (Atlanta), Kyle Larson (Las Vegas), Brad Keselowski (ISM Raceway) and Joey Logano (Auto Club Speedway).

 

  • Pole Winners: Three

This is the eighth season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series that the first five races on the schedule have seen three different pole winners. The 2018 pole winners are Daniel Hemric (Daytona), Christopher Bell (Atlanta, Las Vegas, Auto Club) and Justin Allgaier (ISM Raceway).

 

  • Average Leaders: 6.20

The 2018 season is the 19th different season in the 37-year history of the NASCAR Xfinity Series that the average number of leaders is greater than five. The series’ highest average number of leaders through the first five races of a season is 9.20 – it has occurred twice in 2007 and 2010.

 

  • Average Lead Changes: 10.80

The 2018 season is the 26th different season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series that the average number of lead changes is 10.0 or greater.  The series’ highest average number of lead changes in the first five races of the season is 18.5 – it occurred in the inaugural season, 1982. The second-highest average number of lead changes in the first five races is 16.20 in 2013.

 

  • Green Flag Passes For The Lead: 130 (Average of 26.0 Per Race)

This season the NASCAR Xfinity Series has produced 130 Green Flag Passes for the Lead in the first five races of the season; which is third most over the last five seasons – 2015 (197), 2017 (157) and 2016 (130), 2014 (95) and 2016 (77).

 

  • 2018 Driver Statistical Leaders (First Five Races):
    • Points Leader: Elliott Sadler (199 points)
    • Stage Wins: Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano (three each)
    • Stage Points: Justin Allgaier, Christopher Bell (53 points each)
    • Playoff Points: Tyler Reddick (five)
    • Wins: Five different drivers (one each)
    • Poles: Christopher Bell (three)
    • Top Fives: Elliott Sadler (four)
    • Top 10s: Elliott Sadler (five)
    • Average Finish: Elliott Sadler (4.8)
    • Laps Led: Kyle Larson (203 laps, 23.7% of his laps completed)
    • Laps Completed: Matt Tifft, Elliott Sadler (855 laps each, 99.88% of their laps attempted)
    • Driver Rating: Justin Allgaier (112.9)
    • Average Running Position: Justin Allgaier (5.993)
    • Fastest Laps Run: Christopher Bell (89 laps, 12.7%)
    • Laps Run In The Top 15: Justin Allgaier (811 laps, 97.4%)

 

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be back on track April 7 at Texas Motor Speedway for the My Bariatric Solutions 300 at 3 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

Xfinity Series Youth Movement Continues In 2018

Rank Driver Date of Birth Age
1 Elliott Sadler 4/30/1975 42
2 Tyler Reddick 1/11/1996 22
3 Justin Allgaier 6/6/1986 31
4 Christopher Bell 12/16/1994 23
5 Daniel Hemric 1/27/1991 27
6 Cole Custer 1/23/1998 20
7 Spencer Gallagher 11/20/1989 28
8 Ryan Truex 3/18/1992 25
9 Brandon Jones 2/18/1997 21
10 Matt Tifft 6/26/1996 21
AVERAGE 26.0

In recent years, the NASCAR Xfinity Series has been a big stage for up-and-coming young stars in NASCAR to show off their talents, and this season is no different.

 

Through the first five races, the top 10 in driver points is besieged with youngsters looking to make a name for themselves, so much so, the average age of the series’ top 10 following Auto Club Speedway is a youthful 26.0.

 

Eight of the top 10 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship driver standings are in their 20s; with the youngest being Cole Custer at the age of 20. The two elders of the group are Elliott Sadler at the age of 42 and Justin Allgaier at 31.

 

To put in perspective how young some of these drivers are, current standings leader Elliott Sadler is twice the age of three of his top-10 competitors – Cole Custer (20), Brandon Jones (21) and Matt Tifft (21).

 

The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to action next week on April 7 at Texas Motor Speedway for the My Bariatric Solutions 300. Erik Jones swept the NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Texas Motor Speedway last season.

 

JR Motorsport’s Quest For A Third Driver Title Is Off To A Good Start

JR Motorsports has won two of the last four NASCAR Xfinity Series driver titles (Chase Elliott, 2014 and William Byron, 2017), and with three of the team’s four drivers in the top three in points this season, the organization has set its sights on adding a third championship trophy to the mantle.

 

Current standings leader Elliott Sadler is just four points ahead of his teammate Tyler Reddick in second and five points ahead Justin Allgaier in third. All three JR Motorsports drivers now have built a points cushion over the competition in the standings. Allgaier is now 22 points ahead of the next closest competitor – Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell in fourth.

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kelley Earnhardt Miller became the 11th different owners with multiple NASCAR Xfinity Series driver championships last season when William Byron grabbed the title in Homestead-Miami.

 

If a JR Motorsports driver were to win the organization’s third title this season, Dale and Kelley would tie William Baumgardner (Johnny Benson-1995, Randy LaJoie-1996 and 1997) for third on the all-time NASCAR Xfinity Series driver championships list, behind series leader Jack Roush with five (Greg Biffle-2002, Carl Edwards-2007, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.-2011 and 2012, Chris Buescher-2015) and Richard Childress with four (Kevin Harvick-2001 and 2006, Clint Bowyer-2008, Austin Dillon-2013).

 

Baumgardner is the only owner in series history to win three consecutive driver championships.

 

With another driver title this season, Dale and Kelley would become the seventh series owners to win consecutive driver titles joining Howard Thomas (1983-84), David Pearson (1986-87), William Baumgardner (1995-96-97), Dale Earnhardt (1998-99), Teresa Earnhardt (2004-05) and Jack Roush (2011-12).

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series Etc.

Chasing Chastain – NASCAR Xfinity Series championship contender and JD Motorsports driver Ross Chastain will be competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway on March 25 at 2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. This weekend will be Chastain’s fifth Monster Energy Series start this season for Premium Motorsports. In his four starts he has posted an average finish of 28.8. Chastain is currently 13th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings.

Hemric To Make Cup Debut At Richmond – NASCAR Xfinity Series championship contender and Richard Childress Racing driver Daniel Hemric will make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut on April 21, 2018 at Richmond Raceway driving the famed No. 8 car. Hemric is currently fifth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings after posting one top five and three top 10s.

 

“Since joining our organization, Daniel Hemric has shown his determination and dedication to this sport both on and off the track,” said Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of RCR. “He has proven his ability behind the wheel by making the Championship 4 in the Xfinity Series in 2017 and his continued success this season. Making his Cup Series debut is the next step in his career and we are proud to have him take that step with RCR.”

Sunoco Rookie Standings Update – Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings leader Tyler Reddick, took advantage of second-place Christopher Bell’s misfortunes last week at Auto Club by opening a 22-point lead in the rookie points after Bell finished outside the top-20. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings following Auto Club Speedway: Tyler Reddick (195), Christopher Bell (-23 points behind the leader), Kaz Grala (-76), Alex Labbe (-110), Austin Cindric (-124), Vinnie Miller (-145), Spencer Boyd (-160), Josh Bilicki (-176), Chad Finchum (-177) and Matt Mills (-182).

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

They’re Back!

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action this weekend after a two-week hiatus to take on Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, March 24 in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 (2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

Noah Gragson (Fall) and Chase Elliott (Spring) won the two races at “The Paperclip” in 2017. For Gragson, it was his first career victory and followed up a fourth-place finish in the spring race.

 

It was Elliott’s second career victory in the Camping World Truck Series. His first came in 2013 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

 

Gragson has a chance to go back-to-back at Martinsville as he is entered this weekend in the familiar No. 18 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Elliott is not entered in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.

 

Like Father, Like Son – A New Beginning

When you see two trucks on track sporting the name “Gilliland” on the back window, you won’t be imagining things. For the first time, veteran driver David Gilliland and his Sunoco Rookie of the Year-contending son Todd will face off against each other in a NASCAR national series race.

 

Todd will finally be able to start his 2018 campaign behind the wheel of the No. 4 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Martinsville this Saturday (2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

He isn’t eligible to compete on intermediate tracks or superspeedways until he reaches his 18th birthday in May. So, until now, in 2018 Todd’s had to sit on the sidelines and watch a cast of substitute drivers pilot his truck.

 

His dad drove it in the season-opener at Daytona before his truck owner, Kyle Busch, took over for Atlanta and Spencer Davis drove it in Las Vegas.

 

It hasn’t been easy for Todd to sit back and watch other drivers pilot his truck. “It’s been very hard. I’m a racer and all I want to do is race. Seeing other people jump in the truck you are going to be in the rest of the year is really tough, but you have to take every opportunity you have to learn and catch up to the guys who already have three more races worth of experience than I do.”

 

Todd competed in six Camping World Truck Series races in 2017, posting a pair of top fives and three top 10s. He had a best finish of third at New Hampshire and crossed the line fifth at Martinsville in the fall.

 

David is racing the No. 54 Toyota for DGR-CROSLEY Racing – a team that was formed when David Gilliland Racing and CROSLEY Sports Group joined forces for the 2018 season. The organization, which fields late model, NASCAR K&N Pro Series, ARCA and Camping World Truck Series entries, is co-owned by David and Bo LeMastus.

 

David has 11 series starts under his belt and won the pole this season at Daytona while driving his son’s No. 4 KBM entry. He’s taken the green flag 333 times in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, including in the 2018 Daytona 500. He has a trio of poles (all on superspeedways), four top-five and eight top-10 finishes in NASCAR’s premier series.

Like Father, Like Son – Familiar Grounds

When you see two trucks on the track sporting the name “Nemechek” on the back window, it will be a familiar reunion. Joe Nemechek and his son John Hunter have raced against each other in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 18 times.

 

NEMCO Motorsports is truly a family affair, with Joe Nemechek owning the team and fielding the two trucks that the father-son duo drive.

 

Their best combined finish on track together came in the 2017 Daytona race, when they crossed the line in fourth (John Hunter) and fifth (Joe).

 

John Hunter took two of his five career NASCAR Camping Truck Series checkered flags at races in which his dad was also running – Gateway and Iowa last season.

 

Joe has tallied just 42 starts in the truck series but has made 667 starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and taken the green flag 430 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He finished third at Daytona in the No. 87 NEMCO Motorsports Chevrolet to start the 2018 season before placing 12th at Atlanta in the same truck John Hunter will drive this weekend at Martinsville.

 

Joe has just one start at Martinsville in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, last year’s spring race in which he finished 18th.

 

John Hunter, who was a series Playoff contender in each of the last two seasons, is running a part-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule this year while also racing multiple races for Chip Ganassi Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series – his inaugural effort in that series.

 

The 20-year-old driver will be back behind the wheel of the No. 8 Chevrolet, hoping to have better luck on the half-mile Martinsville pavement than he had in his two starts earlier this season. John Hunter finished 25th at Daytona after being caught up in a crash and finished four laps down in 21st at Las Vegas.

 

To do that, he will also have to overcome the struggled that he had in his last two starts at Martinsville in 2017, when he finished 28th (spring) and 30th (fall). However, John Hunter tallied a pair of runner-ups and a third-place finish in the three races before that. In nine starts at “The Paperclip,” he has three top fives and three top 10s.

Good Things Come in Threes for Johnny Sauter

Add up the digits in Johnny Sauter’s truck number and you get “3.” And that seems to be his number as of late.

 

The 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion has put his No. 21 Chevrolet for GMS Racing on the podium in each of the first three races this season.

 

His results? A win at Daytona, third-place at Atlanta and a runner-up finish two weeks ago in Las Vegas.

 

It gets better. You have to go back to Talladega of last year to find a finish outside the top-three for the veteran. He ended the season by finishing third at Martinsville, winning in Texas and Phoenix and then coming home third in Homestead-Miami.

 

That means the Wisconsin native has put together seven top-three results in a row.

 

And there’s no reason to expect that streak to end. Sauter has crossed the finish line in the top three in his last…get this…three races at the track where the series races this weekend – Martinsville (2016 – 1st, 2017 – 2nd, 2018 – 3rd).

 

Oh, one more thing. Sauter has three wins at The Paperclip (Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Fall 2016).

 

Fountain of Youth Flowing at Kyle Busch Motorsports

The average age of the three drivers behind the wheel of Kyle Busch Motorsports trucks this weekend at Martinsville Speedway will be just shy of 18.

 

Noah Gragson is the elder statesman of the group at 19 while Todd Gilliland and Harrison Burton are each 17-years old. All three drivers are products of the NASCAR Next developmental program and came up through the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
Gilliland captured the K&N West crown in 2016 and 2017 while Burton was the champion in the East in 2017. Gragson tallied six wins between the two series in 2015 and 2016.

 

The surprising veteran out of the trio at Martinsville is Burton – who has the most starts of the KBM group on the half-mile track with three.

 

Martinsville was the site of his first career series start in the fall of 2016. He finished 22nd in that initial outing and went on to make six series starts in 2017 – including both Martinsville races. He tallied a best finish of fourth at the fall race at “The Paperclip” last year for his first career top-five finish.

 

Gragson’s two previous races at Martinsville came last season, and he proved to be a quick study on the short track. He finished fourth in his series track debut in the spring and then collected his first career series win in the fall.

 

Of his six career truck series race, Gilliland has made one start at Martinsville, placing fifth last fall.

 

Getting To Know All About You

2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter is in a very familiar place – atop the standings. His season-opening win at Daytona instantly made him a contender for his second championship by virtually ensuring he’s in the Playoffs.

 

But if we were to start the Playoffs this weekend in Martinsville, the rest of post-season field might require a bit of an introduction – and that’s OK with those drivers who are looking to unseat veterans like Sauter and two-time champion Matt Crafton at the head banquet table.

 

The remaining seven drivers currently in the top eight in the standings have combined for five wins and just 177 starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. By comparison, points leader Sauter has 224 starts and 18 career series wins.

 

Crafton, who currently sits just outside the Playoff picture in ninth, has tallied 410 starts and 14 series race wins.

 

Here’s a quick look at the career numbers for the top eight drivers in the standings:

 

1. Johnny Sauter – No. 21 Chevrolet for GMS Racing

Sauter is the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion and has accumulated 18 career wins in 224 starts. He’s posted 91 top-five and 143 top-10 finishes, starting on the pole six times.

 

2. Brett Moffitt – No. 16 Toyota for Hattori Racing Enterprises

Moffitt has a pair of wins in 16 races in the series, including a win earlier this season at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He has recorded five top-five and eight top-10 finishes.

3. Grant Enfinger – No. 98 Ford for ThorSport Racing

In 40 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts, Enfinger has tallied a win (Talladega in 2016), 12 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes. He has started on the pole once (Daytona in 2016).

 

4. Noah Gragson – No. 18 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports

Gragson has one win (Martinsville, in the fall, 2017 race), five top fives and 14 top 10s in 28 series starts. He also won three pole awards in 2017.

 

5. Ben Rhodes – No. 41 Ford for ThorSport Racing

Rhodes has 53 series starts under his belt with one win (Las Vegas, 2017), 11 top fives and 23 top 10s. He also has recorded two pole positions.

 

6. Stewart Friesen – No. 52 Chevrolet for Halmar Friesen Racing

Friesen has 28 career starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, putting together three top-five and seven top-10 finishes in that time. He’s tallied one pole award (Eldora, 2017).

 

7. Spencer Davis – No. 51 and No. 4 Toyotas for Kyle Busch Motorsports

Davis has split the first three races of his Camping World Truck Series career – all this season – between the No. 51 (Daytona, Atlanta) and No. 4 (Las Vegas). He has posted one top 10, at Daytona, in those three starts.

8. Dalton Sargeant – No. 25 Chevrolet for GMS Racing

Dalton Sargeant has recorded nine Camping World Truck Series starts, posting four top-10 finishes.

 

Eight Would Be Great

Martinsville Speedway has seen seven different winners in the last seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at the half-mile track.

 

A trio of strong series regulars will look to end that streak by returning to Victory Lane at Martinsville.

 

The most recent winner, Noah Gragson, has just two starts at the short track and finished fourth in his other outing last April. Martinsville was definitely a shining light for him in 2017, as half of his top-five finishes in his rookie campaign came at the track.

 

Series champions Johnny Sauter (fall, 2016) and Matt Crafton (fall, 2015) also posted wins during that streak.

 

Sauter finished first, second and third – in that order – in the last three races at Martinsville. He has tallied three wins, eight top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 20 starts at the track.

 

Crafton crossed the line second last fall and was fourth in the spring. Overall, in 32 races at Martinsville, he has two wins, nine top fives and 19 top 10s.

 

Here is the list of the last seven race winners at Martinsville Speedway:

2014, Fall: Darrell Wallace Jr.

2015, Spring: Joey Logano

2015, Fall: Matt Crafton

2016, Spring: Kyle Busch

2016, Fall: Johnny Sauter

2017, Spring: Chase Elliott

2017, Fall: Noah Gragson

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.

Family Ties: The Gillilands and the Nemecheks aren’t the only father-son duos with racing ties to the Martinsville race weekend. Harrison Burton’s dad Jeff is from South Boston, Virginia – just over an hour away from Martinsville Speedway. Jeff was an accomplished racer himself, having won at Martinsville in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (1997). He now serves as an analyst for NBC Sports’ NASCAR coverage.

 

Expanding Horizons: Sunoco Rookie Myatt Snider has yet to run at Martinsville. In fact, he has only run one truck race at a track shorter than 1.5 miles…a 2016 start at the one-mile ISM Raceway where he finished 17th. He took to the track eight times in 2017, all on intermediate tracks or superspeedways 1.5-miles in length or longer.

 

Owners Standings: GMS Racing holds onto first in the owners standings with the No. 21 Chevrolet driven by Johnny Sauter. Kyle Busch Motorsports sits in second with the No. 51 Toyota that has seen Spencer Davis (Daytona, Atlanta) and Kyle Busch (Las Vegas) behind the wheel. Hattori Racing Enterprises holds on to third with the No. 16 Toyota that has Brett Moffitt behind the wheel.

 

OEM Standings: Toyota’s two wins puts them atop the manufacturer’s standings through three races with 110 points, but Chevrolet trails them by just one point. Ford has tallied 97 points and sits in third.

 

Setting the Stage: Noah Gragson has been the best stage racer thus far in the young NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. The Las Vegas native has won two stages (Stage 1 at both Atlanta and Las Vegas) to capture two Playoff points and has tallied a series-best 22 stage points. Those points have helped him land a fourth-place spot in the driver standings. Stewart Friesen’s 28 stage points and Matt Crafton’s 26 round out the top three.

 

 

RACE PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF NASCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

 

First African-American Buckeyes Football captain Leo Brown dies at 84

 

(courtesy OSU Athletics)

 

1957 Captain & National Champion Leo Brown Passes

Program’s first African-American captain became an oral surgeon and an Air Force colonel

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Leo Brown, a standout performer on Woody Hayes’ Ohio State teams in the mid-1950s and the first African-American captain in program history, died this weekend at his home, in Lakewood, Colo. A nephew, Henry Brown, contacted the Ohio State Department of Athletics with the news of Brown’s passing. He was 84.

 

Born in 1934 and a native of Portsmouth, Ohio, Brown was a three-year Varsity O letterman for Ohio State from 1955-57. He played on the 1955 Big Ten championship team, the 1956 team that set a Big Ten Conference record by reaching 17 consecutive conference victories, and the 1957 team that won the UPI national championship, the third national title for Ohio State football and the second under Hayes.

 

An end who played both ways on the field, Brown earned first-team all-Big Ten honors as a junior in 1956 before being selected as a team captain as a senior in 1957, along with Galen Cisco.

 

Following his Ohio State career, which included his becoming a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Brown enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he worked as a maxillofacial surgeon for over 20 years before retiring as a colonel.

 

Services for Brown will be Monday, March 26, at St. Paul’s Community Church in Lakewood, Colo., with a military burial service to follow at Ft. Logan Veteran’s Cemetery in Denver.

 

THE PEOPLE. THE TRADITION. THE EXCELLENCE.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Jerry Emig & Mike Basford; COURTESY OSU ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

 

Recapping, Blue Jackets 4 Florida Panthers 0: 10th win in a row for Columbus in playoff push

Columbus Blue Jackets Post-Game Notes

Columbus Blue Jackets (4) vs. Florida Panthers (0)

March 22, 2018 – Nationwide Arena (16,919)

OUICK STATS & INFO

Goal Scorers
Columbus: C. Atkinson (18), S. Milano (13), PP – S. Jones (15), EN – T. Vanek (21)

Florida: None

 

Goalies

Columbus: S. Bobrovsky (33 Saves, W)                        Florida: R. Luongo (29 Saves, L)


Game Summary:
http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20172018/GS021139.HTM

Event Summary: http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20172018/ES021139.HTM

BLUE JACKETS TEAM NOTES

  • Columbus swept the season series against Florida (3-0-0) and pushed their home point streak to 11 games against the Panthers since Dec. 9, 2009 (10-0-1).
  • The win stretched the Jackets’ overall win streak to 10-straight, the club’s longest winning streak this season and second-longest in franchise history (16 games, 2016-17).
  • The Blue Jackets became the third team in NHL history to record a double-digit win streak in consecutive seasons (16-straight wins in 2016-17) joining Philadelphia (1984-85, 85-86) and Pittsburgh (2010-11, 11-12, 12-13).
  • Columbus won at Nationwide Arena for the eighth-straight time and the 20th time in the last 29 contests (20-7-2).  The eight-straight victories at home is tied for the longest streak in CBJ history (Nov. 29, 2016-Jan. 3, 2017) while the 25 wins at home on the campaign are tied for the second-most in club history (2008-09).
  • The Blue Jackets recorded a shutout against the Panthers for the second time in franchise history (Mason 32 saves, Dec. 9, 2009).
  • Columbus went one-for-three on the power play and improved to 20-of-99 (20.2%) all-time against Florida, including five-for-11 (45.5%) this season.
  • The Blue Jackets were four-for-four on the penalty kill and improved to 89-of-99 (89.9%) all-time against the Panthers.  The club has killed off 30-of-32 (93.8%) Florida power plays over the past 10 games.
  • Columbus improved to 27-3-2 when leading after two periods this season, including an 18-0-0 record at Nationwide Arena.
  • The Blue Jackets improved to 21-0-0 when allowing one goal or less and 33-4-1 when allowing two goals or less.

BLUE JACKETS PLAYER/COACH NOTES

  • RW Cam Atkinson scored his 18th goal of the season (fifth game-winner) and added an assist for his fifth multi-point game of the season.  He has extended his point streak to three games (2-2-4) and has 5-4-9 in his last seven.
  • LW Sonny Milano notched his 13th goal on the campaign and finished with 1-1-2 in three games against the Panthers this season.  He has 2-0-2 in his last three contests.
  • Seth Jones scored his 15th goal of the season and now has 15-35-50 on the campaign. The 50 points sit one point behind James Wisniewski’s 51 in 2013-14 for the most points by a Columbus defenseman in a single season.  He has points in five-straight games played (5-4-9) and his 15 goals rank second (tied) among NHL defensemen this season.  The Arlington, Texas native finished with 1-3-4 in three games against the Panthers on the campaign.
  • Pierre-Luc Dubois recorded two assists for his ninth multi-point game on the season and notched 1-4-5 in three games against Florida this season.  He now has 39 points this season, tying Rick Nash (2002-03) for the second-most by a Blue Jackets rookie in a single season.
  • LW Artemi Panarin assisted on Atkinson’s game-opening goal and has 7-9-16 in his last 10 games.  The 44 assists ties James Wisniewski (2013-14) for the sixth-most helpers in a single season by a Blue Jacket in franchise history.
  • LW Matt Calvert recorded an assist and notched 0-3-3 in three games against Florida this season.
  • Sergei Bobrovsky made 33 saves and recorded his fifth shutout of the season.  He is 9-1-0 since Feb. 24, including wins in seven-straight contests with a 1.86 GAA and .940 SV% during the streak.
  • David Savard skated in his 400th career NHL game, leading all skaters with five blocked shots and 24:39 TOI.
  • RW Thomas Vanek scored his 21st goal of the season and extended his point streak to five-straight games (2-4-6).

POSTGAME AUDIO

Blue Jackets:

Coach John Tortorella | Cam Atkinson | Sergei Bobrovsky | Pierre-Luc Dubois | Seth Jones


Panthers:

Coach Bob Boughner | Aleksander Barkov | Roberto Luongo | Vincent Trocheck

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Saturday, March 24 vs. St. Louis Blues, Nationwide Arena, 7:00 p.m. ET – FOX Sports Ohio / 97.1 The Fan

 

 

GAME RECAP WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS COMMUNICATIONS





 

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