National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Wild sign Mike Yeo to extension

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Mike Yeo's three-year run in Minnesota has been anything but easy. The Wild coach has had to navigate key injuries to his roster, his own growing pains in his first NHL head coaching job and the considerable expectations brought forth when the team's owner spent nearly $200 million on two players two summers ago.

The Wild have improved under Yeo in each season, and Yeo has improved himself enough to earn the faith of the Wild leadership going forward.

Yeo signed a multi-year contract extension with the Wild on Saturday, the team announced. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the agreement was expected after Yeo guided the team out of the first round of the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history in the final year of his original deal. He has gone 104-82-26 in three seasons with the Wild.

"Mike has done a very good job the last three seasons as our head coach and we look forward to his leadership going forward," Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said.

Yeo was an unproven coach with no NHL head coaching track record to go by when Fletcher picked him to take over for Todd Richards three seasons ago. The Wild faded after a strong start to Yeo's first season and never found a rhythm in his second year, an abbreviated 48-game schedule due to the lockout. The Wild did snap a five-season playoff drought in his second season, but were dominated by Chicago in a first-round defeat.

His status was tenuous at best by New Year's Eve last season, when the Wild lost their sixth straight game and Yeo felt compelled at the next practice to tell the players he wouldn't coach simply to save his job. But despite foot injuries that kept stars Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu and key defenseman Jared Spurgeon out for long stretches of the winter, Yeo helped hold the group together while the wins picked up. The Wild played all season with a carousel in the net, too, with four different goalies starting 10 games each or more.

"There were times where the wheels could've come off, and he kept it together," said defenseman Ryan Suter, one of several players to endorse Yeo after the season-ending loss to Chicago.

The Wild solidified his status in the playoffs with a seven-game victory over Colorado in the first round when the Avalanche led 2-0 and 3-2 in the series. They gave the Blackhawks a fight, too, until falling in six games.

The late-season surge, and Yeo's impressive strategic decisions both rounds of the playoffs, gave Fletcher the faith that he had the right man for the job.

"I am very excited to continue to coach the Minnesota Wild and pursue a Stanley Cup for the State of Hockey," Yeo said. "Our fan support has been amazing and it went to a new level during the playoffs this season. We are all motivated to reward them."

Watson takes a 1-shot lead at Memorial

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) Bubba Watson put himself in position for his third win of the year Saturday with a 3-under 69 to take a one-shot lead over Scott Langley at the Memorial.

Watson has never finished in the top 20 at Muirfield Village. Even with a bogey on the last hole, he had his third straight round in the 60s and was at 12-under 204.

It will be an all-lefty final pairing with Langley, who has gone 40 straight holes without a bogey and had a 67.

The most famous Lefty, Phil Mickelson, had a 72 while coping with reports he is involved in an insider trading investigation.

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan birdied his last hole for a 69 and was two shots behind. Adam Scott was three shots back after a 68.

Mickelson says he's cooperating in trading probe

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) Hall of Fame golfer Phil Mickelson confirmed that FBI agents investigating insider trading approached him this week at the Memorial Tournament. The five-time major champion said Saturday he has done "absolutely nothing wrong."

A federal official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press the FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission are analyzing trades Mickelson and Las Vegas gambler Billy Walters made involving Clorox at the same time activist investor Carl Icahn was attempting to take over the company. When Icahn's intent became public, the stock price jumped.

The official was unauthorized to speak about the investigation and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. Reports of the investigation appeared in several newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal.

Smiling as he stood before a room packed with reporters and cameras, Mickelson said the case had not been a distraction until FBI agents approached him after his opening round Thursday.

He said it would not affect his preparations for the U.S. Open in two weeks, the only major he lacks for the career Grand Slam.

"It's not going to change the way I carry myself," Mickelson said after an even-par 72 left him far behind the leaders. "Honestly, I've done nothing wrong. I'm not going to walk around any other way."

The federal official told the AP that Mickelson and Walters placed their trades about the same time in 2011. Federal investigators are looking into whether Icahn shared information of his takeover attempt of Clorox with Walters, and whether Walters passed that information to Mickelson.

The New York offices of the U.S. Attorney and the FBI declined to comment.

The newspaper reports said federal officials also were examining trades by Mickelson and Walters involving Dean Foods Co. in 2012.

After a brief interview, Mickelson stepped outside and signed autographs for about 20 minutes, like it was any other day at a tournament. Fans were supportive as ever on the golf course, and Mickelson gave away so many golf balls to children and his caddie asked a tour official to retrieve more balls from his locker when they reached the turn.

Mickelson wouldn't discuss details about his relationship with Walters, a multimillionaire who owns several golf courses and auto dealerships. He wouldn't talk about stock tips he received, but reiterated that he did nothing wrong.

"And that's why I've been fully cooperating with the FBI agents, and I'm happy to do in the future, too, until this gets resolved," he said.

When asked whether Walters advised him to invest in Clorox or Dean Foods, Mickelson matter-of-factly replied to a Wall Street Journal reporter, "You should know. You wrote the article."

Icahn, 78, is one of Wall Street's most successful corporate raiders, famous for buying stock in underperforming companies, pressuring them to reform and selling out for a fat profit. In recent years, his targets have included Apple Inc., eBay and Dell Inc. His efforts have made him one of America's richest people: Forbes magazine puts his net worth at more than $20 billion, making him the 18th-wealthiest American.

In the 1980s, he pioneered so-called greenmail raids in which financiers threatened companies with hostile takeovers unless they were paid a premium to go away.

Walters is a legendary figure in sports betting circles, widely feared by sports book operators as one of the few people who can consistently win. He's bet millions on Super Bowls alone, and told "60 Minutes" in a 2011 profile that he has never had a losing year. An early user of computer data, Walters was one of the few bettors whose opinion was so respected that he could move point spreads if it was known what side he was betting on.

Walters and a group of bettors dubbed The Computer Group were indicted in the mid-1980s for running what prosecutors said was a bookmaking operation, but were acquitted at trial. Walters was also indicted on money laundering charges in 1998 and had $2.8 million in cash confiscated from a safe deposit box, but the charges were later dismissed and the money returned.

Walters was also a high stakes gambler on the golf course, regularly playing celebrities or PGA Tour pros for cash. He told Golf Digest that he once lost a $2 million bet and once made a 40-foot putt worth $400,000. Walters teamed up with touring pro partner Fredrik Jacobson to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am by 10 strokes in 2008 while playing as an 11 handicap.

Politically connected in Las Vegas, Walters is also known for his philanthropy, particularly toward Opportunity Village, which trains developmentally disabled adults.

Mickelson, 43, was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011. He goes to the U.S. Open next month with a chance to become only the sixth golfer to capture all four major championships. He has not won since the British Open last summer.

Mickelson has long had a reputation to gamble, though he has said he scaled back his habit after his son, Evan, was born in 2003. The most publicized payoff was when Mickelson and friends won $560,000 on a preseason bet (28-1 odds) that the Baltimore Ravens would win the 2001 Super Bowl.

He has a long history of playing money games during the practice rounds. He occasionally gets a group of players and caddies together for dinner and small wagering during the NBA and NHL playoffs, and prominent fights.

A year ago, Mickelson was criticized for public comments that tax increases in California kept him from being part of the San Diego Padres' new ownership group and might cause him to leave his native state. He said his federal and state taxes amount to over 60 percent.

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Associated Press writer Tom Hays in New York, Associated Press writers Paul Wiseman and Eric Tucker in Washington, AP Sports Writer Tim Dahlberg in Las Vegas and AP Sports Writer Rusty Miller in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.

Nationals hit 4 homers in 10-2 win over Rangers

WASHINGTON (AP) Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche agreed there's something to the theory that hitting is contagious.

If so, it looks as if there's suddenly an epidemic on the Nationals.

Anthony Rendon went 4 for 5 and hit one of four Washington home runs, and Doug Fister allowed four hits in six innings, sending the Nationals to a 10-2 rout of the Texas Rangers on Saturday.

LaRoche, Jose Lobaton and pinch-hitter Scott Hairston also homered.

"We've seen that a bunch," LaRoche said when asked if good hitting can spread through a team. "We saw stretches of it last year where we would do this and say `here we go.'

"This was huge to build off of, to know that we can go out there and get more than five or six hits a game and just keep pouring it on," LaRoche said. "That's what the really good teams do."

Washington has racked up 24 runs and 42 hits in its last three games, winning two straight to climb back to .500.

Fister (3-1) allowed two runs and retired the first 10 Texas batters. He's 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA in his last four starts, with 21 strikeouts and two walks.

He came in with a 5.67 career ERA against the Rangers, but didn't give up a hit until Elvis Andrus doubled in the fourth.

"He's got the ability to work quickly, which certainly helps your defense," manager Matt Williams said. "They expect the ball to be put in play."

The defense helped Fister in the second when Rendon made stellar backhand play at third and threw out Adrian Beltre.

"That's a great play, probably the most difficult one over there," said Williams, a former third baseman. "It's the high chopper that you can't come get, that you have to give on and he goes down to his knees to stop himself and turn and throw. It's difficult because there is no momentum involved."

Rendon said: "I don't know. I just threw it. It happened to go to (LaRoche)."

Rangers starter Nick Tepesch (2-1) allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits. He had won two straight, but didn't make it past the second inning Saturday.

The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the first when Rendon lined Tepesch's pitch into the Rangers bullpen for his sixth home run. He had six straight hits over two days before striking out in the eighth.

In the second, Lobaton, spelling Wilson Ramos in a day game after a night game, worked the count to 3-2 before hitting a two-run homer into the first row of seats in right center. Tepesch had given up just two homers in 18 1-3 innings before Saturday.

"I think what caused him his demise (was) early on he was going deep in counts, and that's a fastball hitting team, and he had to try and throw a strike," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "And when he did they made him pay for it."

The Nationals weren't done in the second, with singles by Denard Span and Rendon. Jayson Werth doubled and the ball was bobbled in left by Shin-Soo Choo. Span and Rendon scored to make it 5-0.

Washington broke the game open in the fourth.

Andrus lost Fister's pop-up in the sun and it fell for a lead-off single. Then with first and second and one out, Werth hit a smash that Andrus bobbled before getting the force at second, with Werth just beating the relay.

LaRoche then followed with a three-run shot, his seventh of the year, putting the Nationals up 8-0. He has hit safely in all five games (7 for 22) since returning from a right quad strain.

The Rangers got to Fister in the fifth when Alex Rios walked and scored on a double by Rougned Odor, and Mitch Moreland added an RBI-single in the sixth. Hairston, pinch-hitting for Werth, hit a two-run homer in the sixth.

NOTES: Washington used pitcher Nick Martinez to pinch hit for Tepesch in the third inning. Martinez grounded out. ... It was the Rangers' sixth straight game without hitting a home run. ... Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman (broken right thumb) was to play five innings in left field during his second rehab game Saturday night at Class A Potomac, Virginia. Zimmerman went 0 for 3 with a sacrifice fly as the designated hitter Friday night. ... Hairston has 13 career pinch-hit homers, the most among active players. ... RH Yu Darvish (4-2, 2.35) faces Washington's Tanner Roark (3-3, 3.47) in Sunday's series finale.

Monfils makes his strategy work at French Open

PARIS (AP) Leading two sets to one but already down a break in the fourth, Gael Monfils decided he needed to catch his breath.

So he tanked the set. Lost it 6-0. Didn't even try.

And his strategy worked perfectly.

The 23rd-seeded Frenchman advanced to the fourth round at the French Open by beating Fabio Fognini 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 0-6, 6-2 in a match that had a combined 137 unforced errors and one penalty point.

"He (broke) me straight away. Somehow I was starting to struggle a little bit, not cramping, but I feel really tired," Monfils said of his fourth-set tactics. "And then I tried to break back. Couldn't break back.

"It's, like, I want to serve first in the fifth. So, I mean, the only option I had is to take 6-love. Why should I make any effort?"

In the fifth set, Monfils jumped out to a 3-0 lead, earning the last point for free when Fognini was penalized for throwing his racket in frustration following a forehand that went wide. The racket landed near a ball boy.

Still sulking after the penalty point was ordered, it was Fognini's turn to slow things down.

The Italian called for a medical timeout to have his left thigh massaged and taped, drawing boos from the French crowd.

"I called the physio because I was feeling, during the fourth set, some pain on my left quad and nothing more," Fognini said.

Monfils, who lost to Fognini in five sets at Roland Garros in 2010, said there was more to it than that.

"You know, he was tired. He would grumble and say he's not happy, and he took time," Monfils said. "He told the supervisor or the chair umpire, he said, `I want to take my three minutes, get me the physio.'

"Then I told the chair umpire, `Well, I'm tired too.' I said, `One and a half minutes he's discussed with you and then after this he's asking for the physiotherapist to come? How strange.' But then, he did it right. He got the physiotherapist, and he broke back. Good thing he did that. Well played."

The match, however, was rather poorly played, stats-wise, anyway.

Monfils and Fognini combined to make more than twice as many unforced errors as winners, with the Italian managing 43 winners and 81 unforced errors and the Frenchman chipping in with 23 and 56.

Regardless of the numbers, Monfils is headed to the fourth round to face Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain, the man who eliminated Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka in the first round.

"I'm going to do ice bath for sure tonight and tomorrow. Will do a lot of stretching, massage, and maybe bike a little bit, try to eat good," Monfils said. "Try to be ready for Monday."

St. Louis, Moore overcome grief during Rangers run

NEW YORK (AP) Mourning and heartbreak have accompanied Martin St. Louis and Dominic Moore during the New York Rangers' run to the Stanley Cup finals.

The unexpected death of St. Louis' mother during these playoffs kept him away from hockey for one day. Moore was out of the NHL for 1 1/2 years after his wife contracted a rare and ultimately fatal illness.

Now they are finding solace on the ice and in the close-knit New York dressing room. The veteran forwards have provided key goals that have fueled the team's surge to the Eastern Conference title.

In the conference finals against Montreal, St. Louis scored in overtime of Game 4 to give the Rangers a 3-1 series lead. Moore netted the only goal Thursday as New York advanced to the Cup finals for the first time in 20 years with a Game 6 victory at raucous Madison Square Garden.

The 38-year-old St. Louis has been counted on to score during his long career. Moore, a grinder, is chipping in from the Rangers' gritty fourth line. Of his three playoff goals, two have been game-winners.

"It's an incredible feeling to be able to play for the Cup," the 33-year-old Moore said. "The opportunity is something special that you look forward to since you're a kid."

It is a dream that might have seemed lost not long ago.

Moore stepped away from the San Jose Sharks in April 2012 during the playoffs to take care of his wife, Katie, who died in January 2013 from liver cancer at 32.

Moore began his NHL career with the Rangers during the 2003-04 season after playing at Harvard. He had stints with Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Toronto, Buffalo, Florida, Montreal, Tampa Bay and San Jose, before returning to New York last summer on a one-year, $1 million deal.

"It's been a long, pretty amazing journey, so far, and hopefully it continues," Moore said. "I owe a lot to my teammates for helping me get through this last year and a half. I just feel tremendously proud to be a part of this team, especially amid the circumstances of going to the Stanley Cup finals."

He split the 2011-12 season with Tampa Bay and San Jose, scoring four goals and adding 21 assists in 79 games. Moore's time away didn't dull his skills or his desire. Now he is on the cusp of a championship.

"Every time we've had a big game, he's stepped up with a great performance," defenseman Marc Staal said. "He's a guy that talks about it a lot, too - not being afraid to make mistakes, and going out there and playing confident."

St. Louis' turmoil was more sudden. He learned of his mother's death when he arrived in Pittsburgh before Game 5 of the second round. The Rangers were already facing playoff elimination after a subpar home loss the night before dropped them into a 3-1 series hole.

St. Louis headed home to the Montreal area to be with his family, but returned to Pittsburgh the next day. The gesture galvanized the club, the players comforting a grieving teammate. The Rangers went on to the best comeback in franchise history.

New York beat Pittsburgh in Game 5, went home for another win on Mother's Day - a game in which St. Louis scored the first goal - and then claimed Game 7 back on the road to advance to the conference finals.

"I know both (Moore) and Marty have gone through some challenging times," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "I think they've found refuge, found a way to find a place where they can be happy. That is at the rink with their teammates and on the ice. They've both been very inspirational leaders throughout the whole thing."

The Rangers are 7-2 since St. Louis' mother died. The funeral was held outside Montreal between Games 1 and 2 there, allowing the Rangers to attend as a team.

Moore had six goals and 12 assists in 73 regular-season games. He scored twice in the first round against Philadelphia, including the winner in Game 5. He is the Rangers' nominee for the Masterton Trophy, given to the NHL player who best exemplifies perseverance and dedication to hockey.

"There have been quite a few story lines this year, and those two are obviously big ones," assistant captain Brad Richards said, referring to Moore and St. Louis. "That's just the way things go with teams that go through runs. There always seem to be little things that you can grab and build on.

"The stars have to align, and it's great that those guys have the feeling that someone is watching over them and helping them out."

With Manziel in camp, Browns look to manage crush

BEREA, Ohio (AP) The Browns have a game plan to manage "Manzielmania" this summer.

Expecting huge crowds to see rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel compete with Brian Hoyer for the starting job, the Browns want fans to register online to attend training camp.

Cleveland can accommodate only about 5,000 fans at its facility. Browns President Alec Scheiner told The Associated Press the team will ask fans to sign up beforehand so "we don't turn away 2,000 or 3,000 fans who just show up."

Scheiner said the team will announce when capacity is reached, but fans can still come and wait to get in. The team is working out final details of the registration. Camp will remain free.

Manziel's arrival has created a buzz around the Browns, who moved up in the first round of the NFL draft to select the celebrated Heisman Trophy winner who hangs out with rapper Drake and has NBA superstar LeBron James as a business partner.

Scheiner said the Browns' season-ticket base has grown by more than 4,000 since Manziel was picked. His No. 2 jersey is on store shelves in the Cleveland area and is already one of the league's top sellers before he has played in a game.

Manziel is currently behind Hoyer on the depth chart, and there's no guarantee he'll move up when the season starts. But that won't stop fans from flocking to see Johnny Football, who caused a stir last weekend by taking a trip to Las Vegas.

Manziel was in Los Angeles on Friday with 34 other rookies to attend a rookie symposium run by the players' union.

The Browns set attendance records at training camp last year and Scheiner anticipates this year's crowds to be "a little bit better."

"It's exciting, and it's fun," he said. "We're getting better."

Scheiner, who spent eight years with the Dallas Cowboys before he was hired by Cleveland after the 2012 season, said the Browns have begun looking into moving their camp to a college campus. The team previously trained at Bowling Green (1946-51), Hiram (1952-74), Kent State (1975-81) and Lakeland Community College (1982-91) before holding camp in Berea, the year-round training headquarters.

Scheiner points to the many challenges in moving training camp, including transportation costs, getting practice fields up to NFL specifications as well as housing.

"We'll look at it," he said. "If there's something that makes sense, we'll look at it. If there's not, we won't. But we're going to start looking at it carefully."

If the Browns do move camp, Scheiner expects the new site to be within driving distance of Cleveland.

Last year, the Browns drew 56,306 fans to their 13 open practices at the training facility and a family night session at FirstEnergy Stadium. They averaged 2,475 fans per practice in Berea and set a one-day record of 4,466.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

SEC hands out record $309.6M for 2013-14

DESTIN, Fla. (AP) Southeastern Conference revenue remains on the rise. It should make a major jump next year following the launch of the SEC Network.

The SEC will distribute a record $309.6 million in revenue to its 14 member institutions, which equates to $20.9 million per school.

Commissioner Mike Slive announced the payout Friday, the final day of the annual SEC meetings.

The revenue is generated from football and basketball television contracts, bowl games, the league's football championship game, the league's men's basketball tournament, NCAA championships and supplemental surplus. It has nearly doubled since 2009, when the league doled out $165.9 million to its schools.

It could rise significantly next year, with estimations ranging from $15 million to $20 million because of added television revenue.

"There are some numbers floating around out there, but everything is speculative," Slive said. "We're optimistic. We believe the product is so good. We believe the network is so strong. We believe the network will be national. We believe it will generate revenue as it grows over the next decade, but to speculate as to how much that will add to the revenue through the conference to our institutions is really speculative."

The SEC also passed five proposals Friday.

The most significant change involved an automatic waiver for graduate-school transfers with less than two years of eligibility remaining, a move that should expedite the transfer process.

Previously, the SEC required a waiver for anyone to transfer with less than two years of eligibility remaining. The waiver had to be approved by the conference, essentially causing red tape that football and basketball coaches felt was putting them at a competitive disadvantage.

"I think it's been a factor - not the only factor - in the success of men's basketball and it's being addressed," Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl said.

Not everyone agreed.

Florida president Bernie Machen called the graduate-transfer rule "bad."

"I just don't think that it's a rule that the NCAA ought to have at all," Machen said. "If they really wanted to transfer somewhere else, then they should sit out a year. If you didn't have anything to do, you could track and see how many of them completed their grad program. It was put together under the banner of helping the athlete. It's really not. It's just a way for a school to fill a void at a very last moment or a player to get more playing time without sitting out."

The league also:

- Allowed the use of artificial noisemakers - even music and sound controlled by the school - at any time during football games except from the time the center is over the football until the end of the play.

- Increased the roster size for tennis teams from eight to 10 during SEC championship play.

- Tweaked roster rules for soccer teams, allowing coaches to change his or her 22 available players from game to game instead of setting the roster before the SEC tournament begins.

Brad Keselowski wins pole at Dover

DOVER, Del. (AP) Brad Keselowski turned a track-record lap of 164.444 mph to win the pole at Dover International Speedway.

Keselowski won his second pole of the season on Friday and fifth of his career. Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Larson round out the top five for Sunday's race.

Series points leader Jeff Gordon was sixth, followed by Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Brian Vickers and Clint Bowyer. Bowyer turned 35 on Friday.

Rangers overcome rough start to reach Cup finals

NEW YORK (AP) Eight months ago, first-year Rangers coach Alain Vigneault could never have imagined he would now be behind the bench for New York's first Stanley Cup finals appearance in 20 years.

The mere suggestion made him laugh Thursday night after the Rangers advanced with a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals,

"In October? I probably would have said, `What are you smoking?"' he said.

Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of New York's firing of blustery coach John Tortorella, who was dismissed after a second-round elimination. One year earlier, Tortorella led the Rangers to the conference finals, but they couldn't get past New Jersey.

Vigneault was hired last June after he was let go by Vancouver. He wasn't starting from scratch with the Rangers, but no one predicted the heights he and his team have quickly achieved.

New York began this season with a nine-game road trip because of major renovations at Madison Square Garden. When the Rangers finally limped home, they were 3-6 and near the bottom of both the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference.

They got over .500 with a New Year's Eve victory at Florida and improved to a 45-31-6 record for a second-place divisional finish.

"We worked our way and improved how we played," said Vigneault, who coaches with a much calmer style than Tortorella. "Ever since we've gotten in, all the series have been so competitive and so hard-fought. We've gotten the goaltending we need and we've found ways to win."

That recipe has continued to fuel their run in the playoffs. Now they are in the finals for the 11th time and are seeking their fifth title. Chicago or Los Angeles will be the opponent.

The Rangers edged Philadelphia by two points in the division, which secured home-ice advantage in the first-round matchup between the clubs. That was critical because after the Flyers stayed alive in Game 6 with a 5-2 win in which star goalie Henrik Lundqvist was chased from the net, the Rangers hosted Game 7 - and advanced with a tense 2-1 victory.

Lundqvist led the way then, carried them through the second round against Pittsburgh after the Rangers fell into a 3-1 hole, and punctuated New York's trip to the finals with his franchise-record-tying ninth playoff shutout when the Rangers knocked out Montreal.

That clincher also came after a clunker. Lundqvist was driven out in the second period of Game 5 in Montreal after allowing four goals in a 7-4 loss.

"It was my toughest (season) start in my career," said Lundqvist, who has spent nine seasons in the NHL. "It feels better when you turn it around and good things start to happen. It's been a great ride so far, especially the second half."

Lundqvist leaped in jubilation several times when time ran out Thursday. It was a combination of joy, relief, and pure satisfaction to finally clear this major hurdle two decades in the making for the Rangers.

The series victory was New York's first in fewer than seven games since 2008.

The last time they got this far, Mark Messier was making guarantees as captain as the Rangers ended a 54-year curse without a Cup title. Compared to that, 20 years is a mere drop in the bucket.

"You never know what can happen in a year," said Brad Richards, one of three assistant captains. "We felt confident going into the season. We all know now if you just get in and get hot ... but we had the start that we did. It got a little shaky there for a while.

"It took a while to get everybody going. It was a testament to the group.

" We lost it, we kept battling, and figured it out to get a chance to win the Cup."

One move that solidified this postseason run was the trade-deadline deal that brought Martin St. Louis to New York from Tampa Bay for Ryan Callahan, a rare swap of team captains.

St. Louis got only one goal and seven assists in 19 regular-season games with the Rangers, but he is tied for the club lead with 13 playoff points and six goals. His overtime score in Game 4 against Montreal gave New York a 3-1 edge.

His on-ice production is only part of the story, of course. The team was galvanized following the unexpected death of St. Louis' mother at the low point of the Pittsburgh series. The Rangers are 7-2 since.

"It's been a tough year for me. This makes it pretty cool," said St. Louis, who won the Stanley Cup with Richards and the Lightning in 2004 when Tortorella was their coach. "Being somewhere for 13, 14 years and changing teams, and to get a chance to play in the Stanley Cup finals with these teammates who have been nothing but great through my tough time, it makes it even more special."

Phil Jackson asks Carmelo to delay free agency

GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) Phil Jackson lost out on his preferred coach, but he's working hard on keeping his star player.

The New York Knicks president said Friday he has talked to Carmelo Anthony about postponing free agency, and the All-Star forward responded that he'll think about it.

"I told him it might be a good idea to hang in here and see what it's like for a year, and go out the next year," Jackson said.

Anthony can opt out of the final year of his contract, which would pay him $23.3 million, and has repeatedly said that was his plan. But Jackson said there are financial benefits to Anthony waiting, for both sides, and told him that during a dinner about a month ago.

"He opened the door and I stuck my foot in it and said this is what we can do," Jackson said to the team's beat writers.

Jackson also told Anthony that Steve Kerr would be coming in to coach, a plan that didn't work out.

Kerr was his first and only known candidate to replace Mike Woodson, and Jackson said Kerr had essentially committed to leave the TNT broadcast booth to take the job. But then the Golden State job opened up when the Warriors fired Mark Jackson, and Kerr preferred that one to remain close to his family in California.

"Unfortunately for him, he committed to me the day before the job opened with Golden State. So I had to kind of release him to actually go to this job and say you have to do what's right for yourself," Jackson said. "I understood entirely the process he was going through to have that job open up. That was something he kind of thought would be a good fit for him. So that's good, we're happy for him."

Jackson said he's been doing some interviews, though wouldn't name those candidates. He's interested in talking to Derek Fisher, who played for him in Los Angeles, after Oklahoma City's season is finished, but ruled out Brian Shaw, his former player and assistant who just completed his first season as Denver's first coach. The Nuggets have said they are happy with Shaw - and Jackson doesn't want to give them any compensation even if they would consider letting him leave.

"Brian is under contract with Denver," Jackson said. "Denver has everything that we owned for the last few years, so there's nothing else I want to give them."

He was referring to the exorbitant price the Knicks paid to acquire Anthony from the Nuggets in 2011. It is still costing them even now, as Denver owns the Knicks' first-round pick next month in Jackson's first draft in charge.

The deal would hurt even more if Anthony left this summer. But perhaps Jackson, who is a little more than two months into his job, won't have to worry about it after giving Anthony something to think about that he previously wasn't considering.

"I'm not losing sleep over it, but I'm definitely concerned about the idea of a guy going into free agency," Jackson said. "It only takes one bidder out there that has the ability and can ruin your hopes and your chances.

"We will survive it. That's what I've said and we'll go forward. But this is a guy we recognize his talent and his skill is the kind of skill and talent that gets you through playoff games where things get sticky, grind out and basketball becomes a force game and suddenly you need to have a player who has the capabilities of scoring with someone hanging on them in a situation that's critical.

"He's one of those players, one of the few players who can do that."

NFL suspends Cardinals' Washington for 1 year

PHOENIX (AP) The NFL has suspended Arizona Cardinals standout inside linebacker Daryl Washington for one year for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

The punishment, announced Friday, was for substance abuse and did not mention his recent guilty plea to assaulting his ex-girlfriend.

Washington, in a statement released by his agent, said the penalty was for marijuana, and that he takes responsibility for the violation. He said he "is committed to making changes" in his life that will allow him to return to the NFL.

Considered among the best in the NFL at his position, Washington was suspended the first four games of last season for violating the substance abuse policy.

"It is completely unacceptable that Daryl has once again put us in this position," Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said in a statement released by the team. "We all know what the consequences are and will deal with them."

Washington, the team leader in tackles in 2011 and 2012, will lose $2.9 million in salary due to the suspension.

In March, Arizona exercised a $10 million option to keep him on the roster. Washington received $5 million then and the deals calls for him to get the other $5 million next March.

Washington said the NFL "policy is very strict, and I have chosen to take responsibility."

"I will work extremely hard to stay in top football shape," he said, "and will work equally hard to ensure that my life off the field meets the high level of maturity and responsibility to which I am committed."

With the loss of inside linebacker Karlos Dansby to free agency, the Cardinals find themselves without the dynamic combination that was a big part of their strong defense last season.

Second-year player Kevin Minter is slotted to take Dansby's place. Just what the team will do to try to replace Washington is unclear.

"Our approach is the same as it's always been: next man up," Keim said. "We talk a lot about how critical depth is to a team because situations always arise whether by injury or other circumstances such as this one.

"One player's absence is another's opportunity. That approach has served us well in the past and we will rely on it now."

After leading the team with 111 tackles in his second NFL season, Washington signed a six-year contract, adding four years and $32 million to his existing deal.

In 2012, he led the team with career highs of 140 tackles and nine sacks and made the Pro Bowl. But in April of last year, the NFL suspended him four games for violating the substance abuse policy. A month later, he was arrested on accusations of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, the mother of the couple's child.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of assault earlier this year.

A suspension for the criminal conviction had been expected. The penalty for substance abuse came as a surprise to some, but apparently not to Washington's teammates.

"Old news to us, new news to y'all," defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said in a tweet.

Keim said "our hope is that this suspension will give Daryl the opportunity to accept the necessary help and guidance to get his life back on track," Keim said, "and we will certainly support him however we can."

When OTAs resumed this week, coach Bruce Arians said he hoped the team could pick up another outside linebacker.

The Cardinals signed veteran Larry Foote in the offseason, and outside linebacker Lorenzo Washington also can play inside.

Minter, a second-round draft pick, played almost entirely on special teams as a rookie.

Another player Arizona has at inside linebacker is Kenny Demens, an undrafted rookie free agent a year ago who spent last season on the Cardinals' practice squad.

"I sincerely apologize for the effect of my actions on my teammates, coaches and other colleagues at the Cardinals," Washington said. "I also apologize to Cardinals fans for the time I will miss. I will work diligently during this suspension to return as a better man and football player."

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Shelly Sterling agrees to sell Clippers to Ballmer

LOS ANGELES (AP) Shelly Sterling has informed the NBA of her deal with Steve Ballmer to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers, but the league isn't ready to call off next week's owners hearing just yet.

First, it needs more information about the potential record-breaking $2 billion sale she agreed to with the former Microsoft CEO.

"We await the submission of necessary documentation from Mrs. Sterling," NBA spokesman Mike Bass said Friday in a statement. "In the meantime, the June 3 special meeting of the NBA Board of Governors remains as scheduled."

The league is planning a hearing that day to consider the charge against her husband, Donald Sterling, for damaging the league with his racist comments. Owners could vote to terminate his ownership - and Shelly's as well - during that hearing.

But Commissioner Adam Silver has said he would prefer the Sterlings sell the team, and Shelly Sterling announced late Thursday night that she'd signed a binding contract for a sale of the Clippers by The Sterling Family Trust to Ballmer.

Ballmer "will be a terrific owner," Sterling said, "We have worked for 33 years to build the Clippers into a premier NBA franchise. I am confident that Steve will take the team to new levels of success."

Sterling negotiated the sale after Donald Sterling made racist remarks that were made public. The remarks included Sterling telling girlfriend V. Stiviano not to bring blacks to Clippers games, specifically mentioning Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.

Shelly Sterling's statement noted that she made the deal "under her authority as the sole trustee of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers." Donald Sterling's attorneys contend that he is a co-owner and therefore must give his assent for the deal to go through. They also say he won't be giving it.

"Sterling is not selling the team," said his attorney, Bobby Samini. "That's his position. He's not going to sell."

Ballmer beat out bids by Guggenheim Partners and a group including former NBA All-Star Grant Hill after presenting an "all-around superior bid," according to an individual with knowledge of the negotiations. The individual, who wasn't authorized to speak publicly, said Ballmer made more than an hour-long personal visit to Shelly Sterling's Malibu home Sunday and laid out his plan.

"He knocked their socks off, they bonded, had a good connection," the individual said. The amount was also the largest of the offers, and Ballmer was one potential buyer to deal with rather than numerous members of a group.

Ballmer said in a statement that he is honored to have his name submitted to the NBA for approval and thanked the league for working collaboratively with him throughout the process.

"I love basketball. And I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that the Clippers continue to win - and win big - in Los Angeles," Ballmer said. "LA is one of the world's great cities - a city that embraces inclusiveness, in exactly the same way that the NBA and I embrace inclusiveness."

On Thursday, Magic Johnson lauded the deal on his Twitter account: "Steve Ballmer owning the Clippers is a big win for the City of LA and all the people who live in the City of Angels!"

Though Donald Sterling's attorneys now say he won't agree to sell the team, a May 22 letter obtained by The Associated Press and written by another of Sterling's attorneys that says that "Donald T. Sterling authorizes Rochelle Sterling to negotiate with the National Basketball Association regarding all issues in connection with a sale of the Los Angeles Clippers team." It includes the line "read and approved" and Donald Sterling's signature.

Samini said Sterling has had a change of heart primarily because of "the conduct of the NBA." He said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's decision to ban Sterling for life and fine him $2.5 million as well as to try to oust him as an owner was him acting as "judge, jury and executioner."

"They're telling me he should stand back and let them take his team because his opinion on that particular day was not good, was not popular?" Samini said. "It doesn't make sense. He's going to fight."

Silver has said his preference would be for the franchise to be sold rather than seized - and that means sold in its entirety, with neither Sterling retaining a stake. Though according to the deal's terms Ballmer will own 100 percent of the team, Shelly Sterling may continue to be involved under conditions worked out privately with Ballmer, the individual said.

Franchise sale prices have soared since the current collective bargaining agreement was ratified in 2011. The Milwaukee Bucks were just sold to New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens for about $550 million, an NBA record.

Last year, Vivek Ranadive's group acquired a 65 percent controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings at a total franchise valuation of more than $534 million.

This is not Ballmer's first foray into potential NBA ownership. Ballmer and investor Chris Hansen headed a group that agreed to a deal to buy the Kings from the Maloof family in January 2013 with the intention of moving the team to Seattle, where the SuperSonics played until 2008.

But Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson lobbied the NBA for time to put together a bid to keep the team in California, and though the Ballmer-Hansen group later increased its offer, owners voted to deny the bid for relocation and the Kings were sold to Ranadive.

The former Microsoft CEO helped Bill Gates transform the company from a startup with fewer than 40 employees and $12 million in annual revenue into the world's most valuable business. The pair met in 1973 while living down the hall from each other in a Harvard dorm.

During his tenure at Microsoft, Ballmer was known for his competitive drive and wild displays of emotion and hand-waving.

At his farewell address to Microsoft employees, he high-fived and hugged audience members, pumped his fists in the air, and even shed tears as the popular 1987 song "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" played on the sound system. In a video of the event widely viewed on YouTube, he screams: "You work for the greatest company in the world!"

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AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney contributed to this report.

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Tami Abdollah can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/latams

McIlroy tumbles down leaderboard at Memorial

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) With a chance to build a big lead, Rory McIlroy put it in reverse Friday at the Memorial.

McIlroy made three straight double bogeys and shot 43 on the back nine. He didn't get much better on the front nine and wound up with 78. That's 15 shots higher than his score on Thursday.

McIlroy said his knee was sore on the range as he was hitting balls, but that it didn't bother him once the round began. What hurt more was his inability to hit fairways. He didn't find the short grass until his eighth hole of the round.

Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark had a 67 and was at 6-under 138 among those who finished early. Adam Scott (70) was at 139, and Phil Mickelson (70) was at 142.

Isner advances to 4th round at French Open

PARIS (AP) John Isner became the first American man to reach the French Open's fourth round since 2010, beating 17th-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain 7-6 (13), 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 7-5 Friday.

The 10th-seeded Isner is also the first man from the U.S. to get to the final 16 at any Grand Slam tournament since Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish at the 2012 U.S. Open, although Fish withdrew before his fourth-round match.

Isner saved all 13 break points he faced against Robredo, a 2013 quarterfinalist at Roland Garros, where the Spaniard was the first man since 1927 to win three consecutive Grand Slam matches after dropping the first two sets of each.

There was only one service break Friday, and it came with Robredo serving at 5-all in the fourth set.

At 15-all, he double-faulted for the second time all match. Isner then hit a blistering forehand return winner to get to 15-40, and converted his sixth break point of the 3-hour, 18-minute match when Robredo put a backhand into the net on an 18-stroke exchange.

Isner - best known for winning the longest match in tennis history, 70-68 in the fifth set at Wimbledon in 2010 - then served out the victory at love. He finished with 17 aces and ended a five-match losing streak against seeded opponents at majors.

Isner had been 0-2 in third-round matches at the French Open.

No U.S. man had made it to the fourth round in Paris since Robby Ginepri four years ago.

Donald Young and Jack Sock can join Isner there with victories Saturday.

The last time three American men were in the fourth round at the clay-court major was 1995, when Andre Agassi, Michael Chang and Jim Courier got that far.

Sharapova advances to 4th round with 6-0, 6-0 win

PARIS (AP) Maria Sharapova advanced to the fourth round of the French Open on Friday without losing a game, beating Paula Ormaechea of Argentina 6-0, 6-0 in 51 minutes.

The seventh-seeded Russian, who won the title at Roland Garros in 2012, has lost only 10 games through three rounds this year.

Sharapova will next face Samantha Stosur of Australia. Stosur reached the French Open final in 2010.

Djokovic beats Cilic to reach French Open 4th rd

PARIS -- Second-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia beat Marin Cilic for the ninth straight time Friday to reach the fourth round of the French Open, laboring to a 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-4 win.

Djokovic has never lost to the Croat since they first played each other six years ago. But he dropped serve early to trail 3-1, made sloppy unforced errors in the tiebreaker, and was broken back in the fourth set after leading 4-2. He won when Cilic double faulted.

The six-time Grand Slam champion next plays either 13th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France or No. 22 Jerzy Janowicz of Poland, who played later Thursday.

Djokovic is looking to win the French Open for the first time and lost to eight-time champion Rafael Nadal in the semifinals last year.

Spurs rout Thunder to take 3-2 lead in West finals

SAN ANTONIO (AP) Tim Duncan had 22 points and 12 rebounds, Manu Ginobili scored 19 points and the San Antonio Spurs rolled to a 117-89 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.

Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green each had 14 points, Boris Diaw added 13 and Tony Parker scored 12 for the Spurs, who are a win away from returning to the NBA Finals after losing in seven games to Miami last year.

Kevin Durant scored 25 points, but Russell Westbrook had only 21 points and seven assists after finishing with 40 points and 10 assists in Game 4.

Game 6 is Saturday in Oklahoma City.

The Jekyll and Hyde series continued between the past two Western Conference champions, as the road team has been thumped in every game of the best-of-seven series.

After losing twice in Oklahoma City by an average of 11 points, San Antonio upped its winning margin in San Antonio to 26.7 points.

"We played so much harder, sharper, smarter, everything we talked about," Ginobili said. "It was a fun-to-play and fun-to-watch game. So when we play like this it's a completely different story."

San Antonio outscored Oklahoma City by 10 points in both the second and third quarters, allowing both teams to sit their starters for much of the fourth.

Serge Ibaka, who dominated the interior in Oklahoma City, was held to six points and two rebounds.

"We have to regroup and come back better in a few days," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.

The Spurs started Matt Bonner in place of Tiago Splitter to draw Ibaka out of the paint and it worked early. It also helped defensively, as Ibaka attacked Bonner but missed his first five shots on a series of running hooks. Duncan was also able to help defensively, rolling over to block a layup attempt by Ibaka.

San Antonio's crowd was raucous from the start, booing Westbrook heavily during pregame introductions and erupting joyously when Green scored the team's first points on a 3-pointer 1 1/2 minutes into the game

Oklahoma City withstood the early barrage, going on an 11-2 run for its largest lead of the game.

San Antonio kept Westbrook out of the paint early, but that only opened up the lanes for Jackson, who made his first five shots. He had four straight layups and then drained a 3-pointer with Parker closely defending.

Three-point shooting got San Antonio back into the game, as Patty Mills and Green closed the first with consecutive 3s to tie the game at 32-all.

Diaw's 3 gave San Antonio a 42-37 lead with 6:12 left in the first half and resulted in an Oklahoma City timeout.

Ginobili's 3 gave a 65-52 lead with 6.9 seconds left in the first half.

Ginobili's third 3 gave San Antonio an 87-70 lead with 3 minutes remaining in the third.

NOTES: San Antonio used its 31st different starting lineup this season, with Bonner making his first start. He averaged 11.3 minutes in 61 regular-season games but his playing time has been curtailed to 4.8 minutes while appearing in all 16 postseason games. Diaw started in Bonner's place in the second half. . Durant was sent back to the sideline after attempting to substitute with 10:29 remaining in the second quarter. A timekeeper told official Tony Brothers that Durant was not at the table in time to enter prior to an inbounds. "I was there," Durant said. "That's (wrong). You know that." Durant was able to enter about 10 seconds later, however. . Ibaka wore a heating pad on his injured calf when he was not in the game.

AP Source: Former Microsoft CEO wins Clippers bid

LOS ANGELES (AP) Shelly Sterling reached an agreement Thursday night to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion in what would be a record deal if approved by the NBA, according to an individual with knowledge of the negotiations.

The individual, who wasn't authorized to speak publicly, told The Associated Press that Ballmer and the Sterling Family Trust now have a binding agreement. The deal now must be presented to the NBA.

Shelly Sterling negotiated the sale after her husband, Donald Sterling, made racist remarks that were made public. The remarks included Sterling telling girlfriend V. Stiviano not to bring blacks to Clippers games, specifically mentioning Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. Donald Sterling must also approve the final agreement as a 50 percent owner.

Ballmer beat out bids by Guggenheim Partners and a group including former NBA All-Star Grant Hill after presenting an "all-around superior bid," the individual said. Ballmer made more than an hour-long personal visit to Shelly Sterling's Malibu home Sunday and laid out his plan.

"He knocked their socks off, they bonded, had a good connection," the individual said. The amount was also the largest of the offers, and Ballmer was one potential buyer to deal with rather than multiple in a group.

On Thursday, Magic Johnson posted on his Twitter account: "Steve Ballmer owning the Clippers is a big win for the City of LA and all the people who live in the City of Angels!"

It's unclear if the deal will go through. The individual said that though Donald Sterling was not involved in the negotiations, "at the end of the day, he has to sign off on the final process. They're not going to sell his 50 percent without him agreeing to it."

Donald Sterling's attorney says that won't happen. "Sterling is not selling the team," said his attorney, Bobby Samini. "That's his position. He's not going to sell."

That's despite a May 22 letter obtained by The Associated Press and written by another one of Sterling's attorneys that says that "Donald T. Sterling authorizes Rochelle Sterling to negotiate with the National Basketball Association regarding all issues in connection with a sale of the Los Angeles Clippers team." It includes the line "read and approved" and Donald Sterling's signature.

Samini said Sterling has had a change of heart primarily because of "the conduct of the NBA." He said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's decision to ban Sterling for life and fine him $2.5 million as well as to try to oust him as an owner was him acting as "judge, jury and executioner."

"They're telling me he should stand back and let them take his team because his opinion on that particular day was not good, was not popular?" Samini said. "That his team should be stripped from him? It doesn't make sense. He's going to fight."

It's unclear how the agreement will affect a special hearing of NBA owners planned for Tuesday in New York to consider the charge against Donald Sterling for damaging the league with his comments. A three-quarters vote of the 30 owners to support the charge would have resulted in the termination of both Sterlings' ownership of the franchise.

The deal with Ballmer will go to the NBA for the league's approval sometime before Tuesday, the individual said, ostensibly rendering Tuesday's hearing moot.

Silver has said his preference would be for the franchise to be sold rather than seized - and that means sold in its entirety, with neither Sterling retaining a stake. Though according to the deal's terms Ballmer will own 100 percent of the team, Shelly Sterling may continue to be involved under conditions worked out privately with Ballmer, the individual said.

Franchise sale prices have soared since the current collective bargaining agreement was ratified in 2011. The Milwaukee Bucks were just sold to New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens for about $550 million, an NBA record.

Last year, Vivek Ranadive's group acquired a 65 percent controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings at a total franchise valuation of more than $534 million.

The bid for the Clippers, purchased by Sterling in 1981 for a little more than $12 million, blew right past those.

It is not Ballmer's first foray into potential NBA ownership. Ballmer and investor Chris Hansen headed the group that agreed to a deal to buy the Kings from the Maloof family in January 2013 with the intention of moving them to Seattle, where the SuperSonics played until 2008.

But Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson lobbied the NBA for time to put together a bid to keep the team in California, and though the Ballmer-Hansen group later increased its offer, owners voted to deny the bid for relocation and the Kings were sold to Ranadive.

The person with knowledge of the deal said that Ballmer would have to ensure the team remains in Los Angeles.

The former Microsoft CEO helped Bill Gates transform the company from a tiny startup with fewer than 40 employees and $12 million in annual revenue into the world's most valuable business. The pair met in 1973 while living down the hall from each other at a Harvard dorm.

During his tenure at Microsoft, Ballmer was known for his competitive drive and wild displays of emotion and hand-waving.

At his farewell address to Microsoft employees, he high-fived and hugged audience members, pumped his fists in the air, and even shed tears as the popular 1987 song "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" played on the sound system. In a video of the event widely viewed on YouTube, he screams: "You work for the greatest company in the world!"

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AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney contributed to this report.

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Tami Abdollah can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/latams

Rangers knock out Habs in 6, reach Cup finals

NEW YORK (AP) Dominic Moore scored in the second period, Henrik Lundqvist bounced back from his worst performance in the playoffs and the New York Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 on Thursday night to advance to the Stanley Cup finals.

The Rangers are in the championship round for the first time since winning it all in 1994.

Lundqvist and the Rangers shook off a 7-4 road loss Tuesday night and took out the Canadiens on home ice. Lundqvist needed to make only 18 saves in his team-record tying ninth postseason shutout. He was pulled after allowing four goals in less than two periods Tuesday.

Lundqvist had been 0-5 since 2009 in non-Game 7 clinching games. He leaped several times in his crease with his hands raised as streamers were fired off from the rafters.

Montreal's Dustin Tokarski, who replaced injured No. 1 goalie Carey Price after Game 1, was solid in making 31 saves.

The Stanley Cup finals will begin Wednesday at either Chicago or Los Angeles, which leads the Western finals 3-2.

Montreal made one final push after Tokarski was pulled for an extra skater with 1:53 left. Lundqvist held off the Canadiens as fans chanted "Hen-rik! Hen-rik!"

The Rangers broke the deadlock late in the second period after some good grinding work in the left corner by rugged forward Derek Dorsett. The puck came free to defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who sent it behind the net to Brian Boyle in the right corner. Boyle spotted Moore alone in the crease and fed a crisp pass for a hard shot that got through Tokarski with 1:53 left.

Moore punctuated his third goal of the playoffs with an emphatic fist pump and yell.

Montreal came right back and drew its second power play of the night when Brad Richards was forced to hook Thomas Vanek as the struggling forward was making a strong drive in front from behind the net with 12.9 seconds remaining in the period.

The Canadiens failed on their two power plays and finished 2 for 23 in the series.

Tokarski kept his club in it early in the third when the Rangers pushed for an insurance goal. Tokarski did splits and lunges to deny Derick Brassard on the doorstep after New York moved the puck out from behind the net.

Vanek, who hasn't scored in seven games, nearly gave the Canadiens the lead with 4:45 to go in the second when he put a shot on net while Montreal had a mini 2-on-0 in front. Lundqvist made a desperate rolling move onto his back and got a piece of the puck with a swipe of his blocker, deflecting it away from the top of the net.

Montreal got back forward Brandon Prust after he served a two-game suspension for a late hit in Game 3 that broke Derek Stepan's jaw. But Dale Weise sat out two nights after he was wobbled by a hit to the head from John Moore that cost the Rangers defenseman a two-game suspension that will carry into the Cup finals opener.

Despite being outshot 11-5 in the scoreless first period, the Canadiens had the most dangerous chances and controlled play in the New York end in the closing minutes of the frame.

The Rangers came out quickly and built a 6-0 edge in shots that grew to 11-1, before Montreal began pressuring Lundqvist. For several stretches, the Canadiens successfully cycled the puck inside the New York edge and drew nervous groans and sighs from the crowd each time they put it in on net. Alex Galchenyuk had the best shot, a backhander that Lundqvist turned aside with 5:10 remaining.

New York did little with the first power play, a goalie interference call against Canadiens captain Brian Gionta 4:50 in, and then killed an interference call on defenseman Marc Staal that lasted through the first minute of the second period.

NOTES: Lundqvist earned his team-record 41st career playoff victory. ... The Rangers hadn't won a series in less than seven games since the first round in 2008 against New Jersey. ... Montreal hasn't been to the Stanley Cup finals since winning the title in 1993.

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