PITTSBURGH (AP) — Too much talent. Too much skill. Too much composure.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have reached the NHL Eastern Conference finals and will play either the New York Rangers or Boston Bruins. James Neal had his first playoff hat trick as the Penguins eliminated Ottawa in five games, 6-2. The Penguins are in the conference final for the first time since 2009.
Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin and Brenden Morrow also scored for the Pens. Tomas Vokoun (voh-KOON') made 29 saves as top-seeded Pittsburgh strolled to the next round.
MIAMI (AP) — This time Indiana didn't wilt in the final seconds.
After losing the NBA Eastern Conference finals opener in overtime to Miami, the Pacers kept their composure until the end and escaped with a 97-93 win over the Heat to even that series at a game apiece. All five Pacers starters hit double figures led by Roy Hibbert's 29 points and 10 rebounds.
Paul George scored 22 points, George Hill added 18 and David West finished with 13 for the Pacers.
LeBron James scored 36 points for the Heat, who got 17 points from Chris Bosh and 14 from Dwyane (dwayn) Wade. The Heat led 88-84 in the fourth quarter, then were outscored 13-5 the rest of the way.
Game 3 will take place Sunday night on the Pacers home court. The Pacers are 6-0 at home this postseason.
By the way, if you have wondered just how dominating the Heat have been this season, this was just their fourth loss in their last 50 games.
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Denny Hamlin has never won a Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but he's put himself in good position to do it this weekend.
Hamlin broke the track record in winning the pole for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600, recording a lap of 195.624 mph. He was one of eight drivers to top the previous record of 193.708 set last October by Greg Biffle.
Hamlin will start alongside Kurt Busch on the front row, followed by Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin and Clint Bowyer.
It is Hamlin's 14th career pole.
NEW YORK (AP) — Miami's LeBron James was a unanimous pick for the All-NBA team. James received all 119 votes for the first team from a panel of sports writer and broadcasters throughout the U.S. and Canada. Kobe Bryant of the Lakers is also a first-teamer, marking his record-tying 11th first-team selection. Joining James and Bryant on the first team are Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, San Antonio center Tim Duncan and Clippers guard Chris Paul.
Bryant tied Utah Hall of Famer Karl Malone with his 11th first-team nod.
NBA scoring leader Carmelo Anthony led the second team, joined by guards Russell Westbrook and Tony Parker, center Marc Gasol (gah-SOHL') and forward Blake Griffin.
The third team was Houston's James Harden, Miami's Dwyane (dwayn) Wade, Lakers center Dwight Howard and forwards Paul George of Indiana and David Lee of Golden State.
UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks had a wonderful regular season, finishing first overall after setting an NHL record by going their first 24 games without a regulation loss. None of that will mean much if they don't win their next three games.
The top-seeded Blackhawks trail No. 7 Detroit 3-1 in the Western Conference semifinals after Jimmy Howard turned back 28 shots in the Red Wings' 2-0 win over Chicago. Howard made half of his saves in the first period, but Corey Crawford was just as stingy until Jakub Kindl (YAH'-kuhb KIN'-dul) beat him midway through the game.
Howard needed to stop just six shots in the third period despite facing two power plays, one coming with 4:43 remaining and Detroit clinging to a 1-0 lead.
Daniel Cleary iced the victory by scoring into an empty net with 39 seconds remaining.
The Red Wings can advance to the conference finals by winning Saturday in Chicago, where the Blackhawks will try to end their season-worst three-game losing streak.
There was also a shutout in Los Angeles as Jonathan Quick handled 24 shots to lead the Kings past San Jose 3-0. The Kings own a three-games-to-two lead in the Western Conference semifinals following Quick's sixth shutout since the last year's playoffs.
Neither team scored until Anze Kopitar (AHN'-zhay KOH'-pih-tahr) beat Antti Niemi (AN'-tee nee-EH'-mee) with 1:52 left in the second period. Sergei Voynov added an early third-period tally before Jeff Carter poked in an empty-netter.
Niemi made 26 saves for the Sharks, who host Game 6 on Saturday.
The Boston Bruins were unable to complete a four-game sweep of the Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals.
New York is still alive after Chris Kreider (KRY'-dur) scored at 7:03 of overtime to lift the Blueshirts past the Bruins 4-3. The Rangers erased 2-0 and 3-2 deficits before Kreider notched his first goal of the postseason.
The Bruins were looking pretty good after Nathan Horton and Torey Krug (kroog) scored 3:02 apart to give them a two-goal lead at the 7:49 mark of the second period. Derek Stepan (STEP'-ahn) eventually tied it 75 seconds into the third period and set up Brian Boyle's goal with 10 minutes left in regulation.
Henrik Lundqvist turned back 37 shots for the Rangers, who head to Boston for Game 5 on Saturday.
VIRGINIA WATER, England (AP) — Two-time defending champion Luke Donald and Ryder Cup teammate Ian Poulter missed the cut Friday at the BMW PGA Championship.
Donald (72) was 6 over overall after two rounds in the cold and rain at Wentworth.
Donald's round of 78 Thursday was Donald's worst at Wentworth by four shots.
Poulter (76) is planning to make the most of his free weekend, going to the Champions League final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday and the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday.
Francesco Molinari (68) is the clubhouse leader with a 138 total, but overnight leader James Kingston has yet to start his second round.
Thousands of soccer fans were treated to an exhibition match between two of the world's most successful teams. The Busch Stadium field was transformed into a pitch for last night's "friendly" which was enjoyed by a sold out crowd.
People spent a lot of time standing in lines for souvenirs or the chance to pose with the Europe league trophy won earlier this month by Chelsea.
They paid to see the stars and the stars didn't disappoint: Oscar, Dzeko, Tevez, Torres. English Premier League rivals Chelsea and Manchester City battled at Busch Stadium to the delight of local and visiting soccer fans alike.
Chelsea built a 3-0 lead, but Manchester City answered with four of their own. The final was 4-3, but fans here feel like they were the winners.
The two teams play another friendly match Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia will have surgery on his left shoulder this week and is expected to miss the rest of the season.
The Cardinals announced Wednesday that the left-hander will have surgery to repair tears in his rotator cuff and labrum. Team doctor George Paletta will perform the operation on Friday in St. Louis.
Garcia is 5-2 with a 3.58 ERA in nine starts this year. He was put on the disabled list Sunday after feeling pain that had increased over the course of three starts.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny says it wasn't surprising news to find out Garcia needed surgery. Matheny said Garcia could get his shoulder cleaned up and be healthy for spring training.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Tyler Lyons pitched seven solid innings in his major league debut on the same day St. Louis lost Jaime Garcia for the season, and the Cardinals beat the San Diego Padres 5-3 on Wednesday night.
Lyons, who was promoted from Triple-A Memphis after Garcia went on the disabled list, allowed one run and four hits. The 25-year-old left-hander was a ninth-round draft pick in 2010 out of Oklahoma State.
The Cardinals announced before that game that Garcia will have season-ending shoulder surgery this week. The lefty went 5-2 with a 3.58 ERA in nine starts this year, helping St. Louis bolt to the majors' best record at 30-16.
MIAMI (AP) — It was an MVP performance by the NBA's top player.
LeBron James hit a layup as time expired in overtime to lift the Miami Heat past the Indiana Pacers 103-102 in Game 1 of the NBA's Eastern Conference finals. The Heat led 101-99 until Paul George hit three free throws with 2.2 remaining in overtime. James bailed out the Heat by driving down the left side of the lane and providing the game's 17th and final lead change.
James finished with his ninth postseason triple-double, delivering 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. The Heat also received solid production from Chris Anderson, who came off the bench and added 16 points on 7-of-7 shooting. Dwyane (dwayn) Wade chipped in 19 points, six rebounds and five assists before fouling out.
The Pacers' starting forwards accounted for 72 points. George was high man for the Pacers with 27 points, David West finished with 26 and Roy Hibbert had 19 and nine rebounds.
Game 2 is Friday at Miami.