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Lightning finish their season with a win, but must watch the playoffs

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The Tampa Bay Lightning barely missed the playoffs. In some ways, that makes it more difficult. The Lightning wrapped up their regular season Sunday evening, beating the Buffalo Sabres 4-2. That left the team with 94 points, one behind both Toronto and Boston. Brayden Point scored two goals in the finale. Defensemen Victor Hedman and Braydon Coburn also scored for Tampa Bay. “It’s hard to digest right now because it’s been less than 24 hours since we’ve known that we…

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Bolts eliminated from playoffs as Maple Leafs rally past Pittsburgh

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The ride has ended. The Tampa Bay Lightning are going home. The Lightning was eliminated from the NHL playoffs Saturday night as the Toronto Maple Leafs came from behind to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-3, in Toronto. For the Lightning to make the post-season, it needed Toronto to lose to both Pittsburgh Saturday and Columbus on Sunday, while the Bolts would have had to beat Buffalo. Instead, the game will be played with no more meaning but to say farewell…

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Lightning wins, waits, watches to see if playoffs are possible

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The Tampa Bay Lightning has one game left, but the games they don’t control that will be the most nerve-wracking. The Lightning has to watch as the Toronto Maple Leafs play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday. A win in either game clinches the playoffs for the Leafs and eliminates the Lightning. The Lightning closes out his season Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres. The team has to wait to see if that game matters.…

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Lightning defeats Toronto to remain alive in playoff scramble

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Still, the Tampa Bay Lightning has a pulse. The Lightning, clinging to hope in the NHL Eastern Conference wild-card chase, beat the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday night, 4-1. Toronto leads the Bolts and New York Islanders by three points. “It’s about just keeping it kind of in your hands,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “You can’t sit here and look at what the Leafs are doing or what the Islanders are doing. You just look at what you’re doing. And…

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Rays optimistic of a good season as spring training begins

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It’s spring, and the Rays see answers instead of questions. Surgically repaired pitcher Alex Cobb? He’s an asset. Catcher Wilson Ramos? He’s going to help, even if he can’t get behind the plate for a while yet. Shortstop Matt Duffy, who was hurt when the Rays traded for him? Rays’ manager Kevin Cash is looking forward to seeing him add to the offense and defense. And so it goes. It’s the time of year when skies are partly sunny instead…

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Green Bay’s late drive holds off the Cowboys in NFL playoffs

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Too much Aaron Rodgers. Not enough of America’s Team. Rodgers was good early, and he was good late Sunday evening as the Green Bay Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 34-31. Rodgers threw for 356 yards and two touchdowns, but it was his drive with 35 seconds to play that led the Packers’ win. On third-and-20 with 12 seconds to play, Rodgers hit tight end Jared Cook for 36 yards, setting up a winning 51-yard field goal from Mason Crosby. Green…

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Alabama’s Nick Saban tiring of questions about Lane Kiffin

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Alabama coach Nick Saban hasn’t been able to shed Lane Kiffin as easily as he might have thought. In a teleconference call Tuesday, Saban was peppered with questions about the timing of the departure of Kiffin, who Saban dumped as his offensive coordinator this week before Monday night’s national championship game. The odd-timing of the decision and Kiffin’s stated goal of working in the press box both were discussed. “We made a statement about this yesterday,” Saban said, “and really…

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