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Kane Helps Blackhawks Even Series with St. Louis


Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images (CHICAGO, Ill.) -- Patrick Kane scored a little more than halfway through the first overtime session to give Chicago a 4-3 win over St. Louis in Game 4 of their Western Conference playoffs matchup. The Blackhawks dropped the first two games of the series but have rallied to win each of the last two.

"Every game feels like I've gotten a little bit better," said Kane who missed the last 12 games of the regular season with a leg injury. "Whether it's timing or getting used to playing in the playoffs again, whatever it may be, just try to keep getting better and better and use these games to my advantage."

After a scoreless first period, Kane helped Chicago take what looked to be a commanding lead in the second. Andrew Shaw opened the scoring on a power play goal before Kane made it 2-0 a few minutes later. The Blues would rally tough: Vladimir Tarasenko and Maxim Lapierre reeled off consecutive goals in the final 1:09 of the frame to knot things up.

Tarasenko added a second goal in the third to give St. Louis the lead. Less than for minutes later, Bryan Bickell scored his first goal of the postseason to tie the game at 3-3 and eventually send the game into overtime.

Last year's Conn Smythe Trophy winner ripped a shot off the crossbar before eventually scoring the game winner with a wrister that beat Ryan Miller.

The series now shifts back to St. Louis for Game 5 on Friday night.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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NFL Releases 2014 Schedule


Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Seattle Seahawks will begin their title defense on Sept. 4 against the Green Bay Packers in the season opener for the NFL. A rematch of the infamous "Fail Mary" game in 2012 starts the 2014 season for the defending Super Bowl champions while Green Bay opens their third straight season against the world champs.

The NFL's opening weekend is highlighted by a Sunday night matchup of Peyton Manning and his old team as the Denver Broncos host Indianapolis on Sept. 7 before a Monday night doubleheader. The New York Giants will kick things off at Detroit before the Arizona Cardinals host San Diego.

Other noteable games see an expansion of the league's trips across the pond with three games being played in London. The Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders will battle one another on Sept. 28 before the Lions and Atlanta visit England on Oct. 26 in a 9:30 a.m. start. Dallas and Jacksonville will also play in London on Nov. 9, finishing the trio of trans-Atlantic contests.

As always, the Cowboys will host a Thanksgiving Day affair when they take on Philadelphia at home as part of another NFL tripleheader. Chicago will visit the Lions in another traditional matchup before San Francisco and Seattle play a primetime game.

Bye weeks in the NFL will begin in Week 4 and last until Week 12 while the regular season comes to a close on Dec. 28 with a full slate of divisional matchups.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Aldridge Torches Rockets, Portland Takes 2-0 Series Lead


Scott Halleran/Getty Images (HOUSTON, Texas) -- For the second time is as many games, LaMarcus Aldridge set it off. The Portland power forward scored 43 points on Wednesday for the second straight game, leading the Trail Blazers to a 112-105 win over Houston a 2-0 series lead.

A native of Dallas, Aldridge has scored 89 points through the first two games of the series, including a franchise record 46 in Portland's overtime win over the Rockets in Game 1. His back-to-back 40-plus scoring nights puts him on the same list as Michael Jordan and Tracy McGrady as the only players to score 40 or more points on the road in Games 1 and 2 of a playoff series.

"What can they do to stop him? He was great once again," said teammate Damian Lillard who added 18 points in the win. "When a lot of guys couldn't get going and couldn't get shots, he carried us."

The Trail Blazers now return home winning two games on the road to open a playoff series for the first time since the 1977 Western Conference Finals. Portland had a six point lead heading into the fourth quarter and was able to hold off a late rally by the Rockets to clinch the victory.

Dwight Howard led Houston with 32 points and 14 rebounds, connecting on his first six shots of the game. James Harden struggled, however, going just 6-of-19 from the floor. Game 3 is set for Friday night in Portland.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio 

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Pineda Ejected for Using Pine Tar


Jared Wickerham/Getty Images (BOSTON, Mass.) -- New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected in the second inning of his start against Boston on Wednesday night after being found with pine tar on his neck. The Red Sox would go on to win the game, 5-1 at Fenway Park.

The righty had trouble controlling his pitches in the first inning and when he returned for the second, was seen with a noticeable smear on his neck that was not previously there. Red Sox manager John Farrell then asked homeplate umpire Gerry Davis to inspect the pitcher and after finding the foreign substance, Davis ejected Pineda.

"I fully respect that on a cold night, you're trying to get a grip," said Farrell. "But when it's that obvious, something has to be said."

In his first start against Boston on April 10 at Yankee Stadium, Pineda was accused of having a foreign substance on his wrist. Pineda said after it was a combination of dirt and sweat he used to get a better grip of the ball. Following his ejection on Wednesday night, the 25-year old admitted to his mistake and apologized for his actions.

"I don't think he's trying to do anything to cheat, I think he's trying to go out there and compete," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "He used bad judgment tonight. He'll admit to that."

While there is no mandatory suspension for pitchers using a foreign substance, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Joel Peralta was forced to sit out eight games in 2012 for a similar incident. Major League Baseball has yet announce a decision, but both Girardi and Yankees GM Brian Cashman expect a suspension is coming.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Scoreboard Roundup - 4/23/14


Getty Images/Hemera (NEW YORK) -- NBA Playoffs – First Round: Miami Heat 101 – Charlotte Bobcats 97 (Heat lead series, 2-0)

Dallas Mavericks 113 – San Antonio Spurs 92 (Series tied at 1-1)

Portland Trail Blazers 112 - Houston Rockets 105 (Trail Blazers lead series, 2-0)

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs – First Round: Columbus Blue Jackets 4 – Pittsburgh Penguins 3 OT (Series tied at 2-2)

Dallas Stars 4 – Anaheim Ducks 2 (Series tied at 2-2)

Chicago Blackhawks 4 - St. Louis Blues 3 OT (Series tied at 2-2)

MLB: Texas Rangers 3 (14-8) – Oakland Athletics 0 (13-8)

Atlanta Braves 3 (14-7) – Miami Marlins 1 (10-12)

Seattle Mariners 5 (8-13) – Houston Astros 3 (7-15)

Arizona Diamondbacks 7 (6-18) – Chicago Cubs 5 (7-13)

Cleveland Indians 5 (10-11) – Kansas City Royals 3 (10-10)

San Francisco Giants 12 (12-10) – Colorado Rockies 10 (12-11) 11 Innings

Baltimore Orioles 10 (10-10) – Toronto Blue Jays 8 (11-10)

Cincinnati Reds 5 (10-11) – Pittsburgh Pirates 2 (9-13)

Chicago White Sox 6 (11-11) – Detroit Tigers 4 (10-8)

New York Mets 3 (11-10) – St. Louis Cardinals 2 (12-10)

Boston Red Sox 5 (10-12) – New York Yankees 1 (12-9)

Milwaukee Brewers 5 (16-6) – San Diego Padres 2 (10-12)

Washington Nationals 5 (12-10) – Los Angeles Angels 4 (10-11)

Minnesota Twins 6 (10-10) - Tampa Bay Rays 4 (10-11) 12 Innings

Los Angeles Dodgers 5 (13-9) - Philadelphia Phillies 2 (10-11)

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Suns' Goran Dragic Named NBA's Most Improved Player


Christopher Trotman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old Dragic received 408 out of 1,134 points, followed by Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson with 158 points and forward Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans with 155 points.

In the 2012-13 season, Dragic averaged 14.7 points and 7.4 assists per game. This year, he improved his scoring average to 20.3 points per game.

The Suns finished the year with a record of 48-34, which was a 23-game improvement from the previous season. They were narrowly beat out by the Dallas Mavericks for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Wrigley Field Celebrates 100th Anniversary


Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Chicago's Wrigley Field is all about tradition - the ivy, the hand-worked scoreboard, the curse of the billy goat - and on its 100th birthday Wednesday, the field and its fans relived in that history.

Chosen to throw out the first pitch at the game between the Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks was Sue Quigg, the grand-niece of former Cubs owner Charles Weeghman -- the field was originally called Weegham Park. And the ball was the same one that her grandmother, Dessa Weeghman, threw a century ago to begin a game between the Chicago Federals and the Kansas City Packers to inaugurate the ballpark.

Much has changed in the game and the world outside the stadium walls, but park itself, which was rebranded as Wrigley Field in 1926, remains in many ways, untouched.

Through several renovations, the steel and brick frame of the original structure remains intact, while the same strain of ivy and manually operated scoreboard constructed in 1937 are among the many charming reminders of bygone days where fans would turn out to games with picnics, drink Old Style ale and chow down on classic Chicago Dogs.

"These are the things that have made Wrigley Field stand out as one of the best ballparks in the country,” Julian Green, the Cubs’ vice president of communications, told ABC News. “It's also why its hailed as a sort of baseball cathedral.”

The last time the team won the World Series was in 1908, but Wrigley Park has continued to thrive as a cultural and historic landmark through the years. It stands as the second-oldest ballpark in the Major Leagues alongside Fenway Park (the oldest). Both are revered as hallowed ground by ballplayers, fans and pundits who observe the traditions and hold inauspicious beliefs about the Cubs’ long-held losing streak.

The field has also been marked by several moments ingrained indelibly in the minds of those old enough to remember them, and in numerous films and history books that memorialize them. One much-recalled moment is the case of the goat of Wrigley Field.

Legend has it that after a man's goat was kicked out of a World Series game in 1945 for being too stinky, the man allegedly threw up his arms and proclaimed that “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more” World Series. The team lost that day to the Detroit Tigers and never recovered. The Curse of the Billy Goat to this day hangs over the heads of stadium workers who never anticipated the decades of hircine-inflicted karma to follow.

The field has also be popularized in the public imagination by The Blues Brothers, who gave the stadium’s address to police as their own in their classic 1980 film, while Ferris Bueller also famously went there on his day off six years later in the American coming-of-age flick.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Redskins QB Robert Griffin III Will Drive Pace Car at Richmond


Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III will drive the pace car at NASCAR's Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday.

Griffin III will go through pace car training with Dale Earnhardt Jr. this week, the raceway announced on Wednesday.

The former Heisman trophy winner was recruited by Earnhardt Jr. via Twitter last month and will also take a garage tour with NASCAR team owner and former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs.

Griffin burst onto the scene in 2012 with his electrifying play, and led the Redskins to an NFC East title. Still, the team fell apart in 2013 and Griffin struggled due to his recovery from a torn ACL as well as friction with former head coach Mike Shanahan.

The Redskins hired head coach Jay Gruden during the offseason to help improve on a 3-13 record last year.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Suns' Goran Dragic Named NBA's Most Improved Player


Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic was named the NBA's most improved player, the league announced Wednesday.

Dragic averaged 20.3 points a game this season along with 5.9 assists and 3.2 rebounds.

Dragic received 408 of a possible 1,134 points, including 65 first-place votes to take home the award.

"Congratulations to @Goran_Dragic winning Most Improved. He is a elite player. I'm glad that I've had a chance to see him grow over the yrs," Suns teammate Channing Frye tweeted after the announcement.

Lance Stephenson of the Indiana Pacers finished with 158 points and 13 first-place votes and was followed by Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans with 155 points and 16 first-place votes.

The Suns missed the playoffs after finishing 48-34, and head coach Jeff Hornacek finished second to Gregg Popovich in coach of the year voting on Tuesday.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Phil Jackson: Dolan's 'Been Loyal' to Promise


Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New York Knicks team president Phil Jackson wants people who believe in his vision moving forward in 2014.

Jackson addressed the team's vacant head coaching position on Wednesday and shot down the report in the New York Daily News that said owner James Dolan was not keeping his promise of letting Jackson call the shots.

"He's been loyal to that promise," Jackson said.  "He's been very true to his word up to this point."

The Knicks fired head coach Mike Woodson on Monday after spending two seasons with the club.

Reports surfaced that Jackson could bring in his former player with the Bulls, Steve Kerr.

"We meet very similar space about coaching in a lot of ways," Jackson said of Kerr.  "I know philosophically we have a strong connection."

"Whether he's able to take a job like this, I don't know," he continued. "I will get in a conversation with him later on this month and talk to (Kerr) about it."

Jackson said that his girlfriend and Lakers part-owner and president Jeanie Buss suggested he take over as head coach.

"If there's anyone that can encourage me to do anything, it's Jeanie Buss, but I was able to withstand her arguments the whole time," Jackson joked.

Jackson said that he'd like to find a new head coach before July.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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