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  • The New York Rangers have known for a while they won’t make the playoffs. They made it official that the Carolina Hurricanes won’t <a title="John Tavares Jersey" href="http://www.officialislanders.com/authentic-adidas-john-tavares-jersey">John Tavares Jersey</a> , either.

    Ryan Sproul scored and Kevin Hayes added a short-handed goal, and the Rangers beat the Hurricanes 2-1 on Saturday night to eliminate them from the playoff race.

    Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves for New York, which entered having lost three straight and six of seven – going 1-4-2 in that stretch – and was formally knocked out of the postseason chase earlier in the week.

    ”Especially when you’re officially eliminated, you want to end on a good note,” alternate captain Mika Zibanejad said. ”You want to be able to get something out of it, and it’s just easy to lay down and just not care, but that’s not how we are as individuals in here.”

    Jeff Skinner scored and Cam Ward made 18 saves for the Hurricanes, who will miss the playoffs for the ninth straight year – the longest active postseason drought in the NHL. For the third consecutive season, their official elimination came in their 79th game.

    ”I think we’ve known for a while, obviously, so officially, unofficially, we’ve still got to be ready to work and be a pro and show up and win games and play well for our fans,” co-captain Jordan Staal said.

    Lundqvist’s third victory against Carolina this season helped the Rangers finish off a sweep in the series. New York won the first three games by a combined 17-5 <a title="Josh Morrissey Jersey" href="http://www.officialhockeyjetsshop.com/authentic-adidas-josh-morrissey-jersey">Josh Morrissey Jersey</a> , but this was Ward’s first start of the season against them. Carolina’s previous three losses came with Scott Darling in net.

    Skinner’s goal with 11:53 remaining made it a one-goal game, but the Rangers locked down after that, ending the game by killing a slashing penalty to Hayes over the final 74 seconds.

    ”You’ve just got to stick to your system,” defenseman Brady Skjei said. ”We felt confident that we could kill it off, and when it comes down to 6-on-4, you’ve got to keep it compact and just try to keep pucks to the outside. That was kind of our mindset, and a few good sticks by our guys and that clear at the end by (Mats Zuccarello) was huge.”

    Sproul scored first with 16:59 left in the second period. After Paul Carey dug the puck out of the corner, he found Sproul skating unimpeded between the circles and he ripped it past Ward for his first goal.

    Then, with Zibanejad in the penalty box for tripping, Jesper Fast led a rush and threaded a pass to Hayes for a short-handed goal with 6:37 left in the second. That put the Rangers – who entered 21-0-1 when leading after two periods – up 2-0 after 40 minutes.

    ”The shorty’s the game-winner, right?” Carolina coach Bill Peters asked rhetorically. ”That’s the difference in the hockey game.”

    NOTES: Sproul’s goal left D Rob O’Gara as the only Rangers skater in the lineup without at least one goal on the season. … Carolina C Derek Ryan, who assisted on Skinner’s goal, has points in four straight games.

    UP NEXT

    Rangers: Continue their season-ending four-game road trip at New Jersey on Tuesday night.

    Hurricanes: Will try to play spoiler at Florida on Tuesday night.

    More NHL hockey:

    CLEVELAND, Ohio — Of all the games in this four-years-running Finals saga between the Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors <a title="Markus Granlund Jersey" href="http://www.officialcanucks.com/authentic-adidas-markus-granlund-jersey">Markus Granlund Jersey</a> , Game 3s have been Cleveland’s best.

    As in, it’s the only game the Cavaliers have won more than once.

    The Warriors are in Cleveland for Game 3 Wednesday with a 2-0 lead in this series. It was the same a year ago at this time and the Cavaliers were on the verge of winning another Game 3 but blew a six-point lead over the final 3:09 and lost, 118-113.

    The year before, trailing 0-2, the Cavaliers hammered the Warriors by 30 in Game 3 and eventually won the series for their first championship.

    “All three games were really, really difficult,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “So we’re used to that. We’re used to the dynamic of being ahead in a series and then having everything shift when you go on the road. But especially when you play Cleveland — LeBron, this crowd and their environment, we know the kind of force they’re going to bring.

    “And we have to be prepared for that. We know it. We’ll see if we can do it.”

    James is averaging 40 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 10.5 assists so far in this series. He became the first player to ever score at least 50 points (51) in a Finals game and lose in Game 1, when the Cavaliers lost 124-114 in overtime.

    Only 20 teams have ever recovered from an 0-2 deficit in the playoffs, but James was responsible for three of those comebacks. The latest was the last round against Boston, when the Celtics won the first two games at TD Garden but James and the Cavaliers took the series in seven.

    “I know it feels like we’re down 2-0 <a title="Youth Le'Veon Bell Jersey" href="http://www.steelersfootballauthentics.com/le_veon-bell-jersey-authentic">Youth Le'Veon Bell Jersey</a> , and I don’t like the way I feel,” James said. “I don’t like the way — the mood that I’m in right now, knowing whatever. There’s no, like, OK, you’re down 2-0 and you feel better than when you’re down 2-0 before.

    “I mean, when you’re down like this, in a deficit like this versus a team like this, there’s no good feeling,” James continued. “So I don’t feel good about it.”

    Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said Rodney Hood, who fell out of the rotation for good early in the conference finals, would get a chance in Game 3.

    Hood is 25 and 6-foot-8 who can score off the dribble in catch-and-shoot situations and can switch on defense. But he’s been miserable in the playoffs, averaging just 4.4 points and shooting 15 percent from 3-point range.

    Lue didn’t say which player would lose minutes to Hood, nor did he address any other potential adjustments or lineup changes.

    “We believe <a title="DeShone Kizer Jersey" href="http://www.packerscheapstore.com/deshone-kizer-jersey-cheap">DeShone Kizer Jersey</a> ,” Lue said. “We watched tape. We watched film and see the things that we can get better at, very minor things. The most important thing, I think, is physicality. Just being able to be on bodies, being physical, not let Steph (Curry) and Klay (Thompson) and K.D. (Kevin Durant) roam freely.”

    Curry set NBA Finals records for 3s (nine) and attempts (17) and is averaging 31 points and 8.5 rebounds in the series. Durant is giving the Warriors 26 points and nine boards so far in the Finals. Andre Iguodala (knee) was upgraded to questionable for Game 3. He hasn’t played since Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.

    Curry is looking for his third championship in four years — all against Cleveland.

    “In the Finals, this is the only building I know what that experience is like,” Curry said. “We know how the atmosphere is here. We know how Cleveland plays here, with a lot of energy and force.

    “We understand how hard it is to win in this building. No matter what’s gone on in the series, when you change venues, you’ve got to reassert your dominance and try to find that right momentum to start.”

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