National sports briefs

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 25, 2011

Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. ó Spencer Levin led after the opening round for the third time this year, so thatís nothing new. It was his score Thursday afternoon at Bay Hill that surprised him and everyone else.
In warm, blustery conditions on a course that allowed only three rounds in the 60s and the most rounds in the 80s in nearly two decades, Levin had a 6-under 66 and a three-shot lead over Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Tiger Woods and his power group of Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland provided the entertainment everyone expected, although not this variety. Woodland hit a tee shot onto another golf course, Johnson wound up 80 yards over a green and onto the next tee, and Woodsí angrily tossed his wedge after his best shot of the day.
Their scores werenít impressive.
Woods missed a 10-foot par putt on the last hole for a 73, his highest opening round since 1999 at Bay Hill, where he is a six-time winner. Johnson and Woodland, the winner last week at Innisbrook, each shot 77.
Levin built the largest 18-hole lead of the year on the PGA Tour, but even that doesnít illustrate how well he played. His 66 was nearly nine shots better than the average score at Bay Hill, which featured gusts over 20 mph and crusty conditions in the afternoon.
Fowler and Mahan played in the morning, as did Phil Mickelson, who opened with a 70.
MINNEAPOLIS ó Workers will begin replacing the Metrodomeís storm-damaged roof Friday.
New fabric panels will be delivered to the downtown Minneapolis stadium, and Birdair Inc. will begin by replacing three diamond-shaped panels that ruptured during a December snowstorm.
DETROIT ó Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has started throwing again.
Stafford posted a message to his Twitter account indicating he felt good throwing in Athens, Ga., two months after having surgery on his right shoulder.
He tweeted Thursday that he was heading to ěrehab, lift and runî during the NFL lockout. He added: ěNever know when the owners will let us back in to start playing.î
Stafford played in just three games last season. He played in 10 games as a rookie after being drafted No. 1 overall out of Georgia in 2009.
The Lions can receive reports on Staffordís progress, but they are not permitting to make contact with him during the lockout.
PHILADELPHIA ó Chris Kunitzís shootout goal lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.
Pittsburghís Alex Kovalev scored the first shootout goal. He was matched by Philadelphiaís Danny Briere. Kunitz got the final shootout attempt through the legs of Sergei Bobrovsky for the winner.
Bruins 7, Canadiens 0
BOSTON ó Zdeno Chara, a bete noire in Montreal since the hit that sent Max Pacioretty to the hospital, had three assists as the Boston Bruins turned a grudge match into a blowout and beat the Canadiens.
The win left Boston five points ahead of second-place Montreal in the Northeast Division.
Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell scored twice, and David Krejci and Milan Lucic also had three assists for the Bruins as they beat Montreal for just the second time in six games this season. Tim Thomas stopped 24 shots for his career-best eighth shutout and 25th of his career.
Johnny Boychuk, Adam McQuaid and Tomas Kaberle also scored for Boston.
1:Senators 2, Rangers 1, SO
NEW YORK (AP) ó Erik Karlsson scored the lone goal of the shootout in the fifth round and the Ottawa Senators snapped the New York Rangersí season-best, five-game winning streak.
Craig Anderson and Rangers counterpart Henrik Lundqvist both made 29 saves through overtime and both denied the first four shooters in the tiebreaker. Anderson got some help in the fifth round when Ryan Callahan got off a weak shot because his stick broke on the attempt.
Karlsson then solved Lundqvist to win it.
The game mattered much more to the Rangers, the seventh-place team in the Eastern Conference. New York closed within two points of sixth-place Montreal, which lost at Boston, with seven games left. The Senators are last in the East.
1:Thrashers 2, Islanders 1
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) ó Rob Schremp scored the winning goal against his former team as the Atlanta Thrashers beat the New York Islanders 2-1.
Andrew Ladd scored the other goal for Atlanta, while backup Chris Mason only needed to make 14 saves.
John Tavares was the only one to beat Mason, while Al Montoya made 32 saves for the Islanders.
The Thrashers dominated the opening period and if it werenít for the solid play by Montoya, the Islanders would have trailed by more than one goal.
1:Blues 4, Oilers 0
ST. LOUIS (AP) ó Jaroslav Halak needed to make only 12 saves to earn his sixth shutout of the season and T.J. Oshie had a goal and an assist in the St. Louis Bluesí victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
It was a matchup of Western Conference foes who are out of the playoff picture, with the Blues winning for only the second time in six games (2-4) while extending the Oilersí winless streak to eight (0-6-2).
Matt DíAgostini, Chris Stewart and Adam Cracknell also scored for the Blues, who avoided falling below .500 for the first time this season.
1:Predators 5, Ducks 4
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) ó Sergei Kostitsyn scored two goals, both in the first period, as the Nashville Predators beat the Anaheim Ducks.
Nick Spaling, Jordin Tootoo and David Legwand also scored for Nashville, which has won five straight games. Tootoo and Spaling each added an assist.
Teemu Selanne scored two power-play goals, and Corey Perry also had two goals for Anaheim, which had its four-game winning streak stopped.
1:Maple Leafs 4, Avalanche 3
DENVER (AP) ó Nikolai Kulemin had two goals, and Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak also scored, leading the Toronto Maple Leafs past the Colorado Avalanche for their third straight win.
The Maple Leafs boosted their points total to 78, three behind idle Buffalo for the Eastern Conferenceís final playoff berth. Toronto has seven games remaining.
Colorado saw its modest two-game winning streak snapped on a night when they lost two more players to injury.
Defenseman Ryan Wilson did not return after suffering a second-period knee injury. The Avalanche also lost Mark Olver, part of Coloradoís top line, to a head injury midway through the first period.
The Associated Press
03/24/11 23:56