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Associated Press

Posted on January 2, 2014 at 3:34 PM


Lightning beat Canucks 4-2

(Eds: Lightning 4, Canucks 2. Updates with details. With AP Photos.)

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Valtteri Filppula had a goal and an assist as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 last night.

The Lightning, whose franchise is 21 years old, posted only its second win ever in Vancouver. Tampa Bay made history of another sort by posting a fourth straight road win for the first time since Jan. 8-Feb. 7, 2008.

Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn also scored for Tampa Bay.

Brad Richardson and Zac Dalpe replied for the Canucks, who lost their second straight.

Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop made 28 saves for his 21st win of the season as the Lightning outshot the Canucks 33-30. Vancouver's Eddie Lack recorded 29 saves.

Neither team scored in the first period despite some decent chances. Both teams recorded 11 shots.


Luongo expects to return to Canucks' lineup soon

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo expects to return to the Canucks' lineup soon and be ready to play for Canada in the Sochi Olympics.

Luongo took part in his first workout with the team yesterday since sustaining a lower-body injury Dec. 22 against Winnipeg.

"This is my first team practice, so I'm feeling good," Luongo said. "Everything's progressing really well right now."

Luongo revealed how he got hurt, but wouldn't disclose the extent of the injury.


Aldridge leads Trail Blazers over Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 14 rebounds and the Portland Trail Blazers rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 98-94 in a showdown of Western Conference heavyweights on Tuesday night.

Damian Lillard added 21 points and 11 assists and hit a pair of clinching free throws with 2.1 seconds left for Portland, which beat Oklahoma City for the second time in December. Portland (25-7) snapped a two-game losing streak but still trails Oklahoma City (25-6) by a half-game in the Northwest Division standings.

Kevin Durant had 37 points and 14 rebounds for the Thunder, which had won 12 of its last 13 and 20 of its last 22 games before Tuesday. But Durant managed only one point in the fourth quarter and missed an 11-foot jumper that would have tied the game in the final seconds.


Helfrich's first season had highs and lows

Over the course of Mark Helfrich's first year as head coach at Oregon he dealt with a troubled tight end, a snowball fight, and an injury to his star quarterback that was much worse than anyone thought.

But it all ended with an authoritative win. The No. 10 Ducks finished the season 11-2 and capped it all off with a 30-7 victory over Texas in the Alamo Bowl.

Helfrich matched USC's John Robinson (1976) and Stanford's David Shaw (2011) for most wins as a first-year head coach in the Pac-12 Conference.

Led by quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back De'Anthony Thomas, the Ducks were early front-runners for a shot at the national title. But two losses down the stretch hurt Oregon.


Bryant appreciates Seattle's 13-3 season

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Defensive end Red Bryant is an anomaly in the Seattle Seahawks locker room.

Bryant is one of only four players that were around before Pete Carroll arrived in 2010, when the Seahawks were at the bottom of the NFC West coming off two of the worst seasons the franchise had seen.

That Bryant was there when the Seahawks were an afterthought makes him even more appreciative of what Seattle has accomplished this season, going 13-3 and earning the No. 1 seed in the NFC for the postseason. Bryant says he's come full circle from his rookie season in 2008, when he barely played and Seattle went 4-12, to now when the Seahawks enter the playoffs as a favorite to reach the Super Bowl.