Austin Reaves Erupts For 35 Points In Lakers Victory

LOS ANGELES — After losing to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night, the Los Angeles Lakers were in need of a win to make the playoffs in the congested Western Conference. Austin Reaves scored career high 35 points for the Lakers in a 111-105 victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday at Arena.

The Lakers snapped a two-game losing streak, the crowd chanted “MVP” as Reaves took over down the stretch, with both teams tied at 101-101 in the final minutes of the game.

The young, gritty Laker made key shots to save the Purple and Gold, nailing challenging jump shots en route to a career high.

Reaves was spectacular in leading the Lakers to victory with 13 points in the fourth quarter, including the team’s last 10 points during the final 1:33 minutes of gameplay. D’Angelo Russell added 18 points, while Anthony Davis had another double double with 15 points and 14 resounds.

The undrafted second-year pro has earned a vital role his star-studded team, and Reaves factored in almost every big play, repeatedly earned trips to the line in the fourth quarter.

Reaves shot a career-high 18 free throws, while the Magic shot 17.

The Lakers entered this game off back-to-back losses to Houston and Dallas, gravely affecting their tenuous position in the playoff race. This win put Los Angeles (35-37) back in ninth in the Western Conference, tied with Minnesota.

“I thought it was (Reaves) being his normal self,” said Lakers coach Darvin Ham. “What he’s been all year. Coming up in clutch moments for us, trying to make plays downhill, putting the defense in uncomfortable situations with his ability to attack the paint and draw fouls. He was great. He ended up with 35, and we needed all of them.”

On this night, the Lakers were scorching from beyond the arc. Troy Brown Jr, D’Angelo Russell and Reaves knocked down several three pointers. 

Despite the record, the Magic are a better team than their record indicates with their 29 victories. This is an up and coming NBA franchise that upset the LA Clippers on Saturday, 113-108.

Led by soon to be NBA Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero, who scored 21 points for Orlando, he displayed lightning speed to get to the basket and his high arching floaters and teardrops found the net.

Cole Anthony hit a tying 3-pointer with 2:37 left for the Magic, who trailed throughout the second half. Banchero fouled Reaves on a 3-point attempt a minute later, and Reaves hit two free throws before Wagner tied it again.

Reaves responded by hitting a mid-range jumper with 57 seconds left and grabbed the long rebound of Wagner’s missed 3 before making two more free throws. Banchero missed a layup and got the technical foul that helped the Lakers to seal it.

The Lakers improved to 6-5 during the latest injury absence for LeBron James who has been out for three weeks with a sore right foot. Ham reiterated before the game that Los Angeles expects James to return before the regular season ends in three weeks.

Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns will take on the Lakers at Arena on March 22nd.

Kraken can’t clean up sloppy play, watch as Oilers pull away late in crucial contest 

Photo by Aaron Nelson / fi360 News

Seattle, WA – In a key divisional matchup for the Seattle Kraken as they are aiming to secure their first playoff berth in franchise history, in just their second season, Seattle battled hard and kept the game within reach until the third period when everything fell apart. The Kraken would fall to the visiting Edmonton Oilers by a score of 6-4, as the Oilers were able to pull away on Seattle mistakes. As every game and point matters in these critical last two months of the season, the Kraken showed flashes of good play that could have pushed them over the edge but ultimately poor showings from both goaltenders on Seattle’s active roster and defensive miscues doomed this game for the home team.  

Unlike the last two times that these teams have met where the Kraken simply can’t keep up with the Oilers firepower, let alone stop it defensively, Seattle was able to generate consistent pressure through the game and force Edmonton goaltender Stuart Skinner into some difficult situations. A key characteristic that the Kraken had in this battle was that they continued to push back whenever the Oilers played their fast paced, high-octane game. Seattle showed that they in-fact could keep up with Edmonton, with a decent power play and offensive pressure of their own throughout the course of the 60 minutes. Ultimately, it wasn’t necessarily the Kraken offensive zone production that spelled doom for then.  

“I thought that we played well, but against a team like that that’s going to score goals, we have to be better about the little details and you gotta bear down and find a way to make it closer through goal scoring,” Kraken forward Oliver Bjorkstrand stated.  

Seattle’s issue in this game, like what’s taken place in most of the games that the Kraken have played against Edmonton in their time as a franchise, was their defensive play. Had the Kraken come fully prepared to play in this contest, Seattle would have secured two critical points in their own building against a divisional opponent that’s been flying high. Instead, Seattle was out of position a few times, Philipp Grubauer allowed a soft goal to begin the game before having to leave due to a “non-covid illness,” and Martin Jones continues to look poor in net.  

“Our team played a good hockey game today, that was an even hockey game. We worked extremely hard, especially on the offensive side of the puck, we worked hard and grinded for our offensive opportunities and generated really good ones for the majority of the 60 minutes. It’s a disappointing outcome, our team played hard, and our team played well, we had to play a little too much from behind, but we did that for 60 minutes,” Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol reflected.  

Seattle will get a few days off, hopefully enough to get Philipp Grubauer and John Hayden healthy, before they continue this critically important month of March. The Kraken will not see a potential “road to the playoffs” get any easier for them, as their next matchup is against the same Dallas Stars team that Seattle only took one point from over the course of back-to-back contests. When the Kraken and Stars do battle this time, it’ll be in Dallas on Tuesday, March 21st with a puck drop at 5:30PM PST. At their current state, Seattle sits only two points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets for the Western Conference’s first Wild Card spot.  

UCLA Rolls In First Round Of March Madness 

The UCLA Bruins on March 17,2022. (Photo by Evan Luecke/FI360 News)

SACRAMENTO– UCLA opened up their March Madness by crushing UNC Ashville, 86-53 on Thursday, March 16. The second-seeded Bruins (30-5) scored the first 14 points of the game and rolled from there.

Amari Bailey also had 17 points and David Singleton scored 11 as UCLA bounced back from a close loss to Arizona in the Pac-12 title game.

The 33 point smackdown was the most lopsided victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored 17 points and UCLA raced out to a fast start and never looked back.

A Hallmark of March Madness is upsets, and this year has already broken hearts and busted brackets. The NO.2 Seed Arizona Wildcats were stunned by the NO. 15 Princeton Tigers, 59-55. The NO.4 Seed Virginia Cavaliers were also upset.

We don’t take losing well at UCLA,” coach Mick Cronin said. “We spell fun, W-I-N. We lost our last game. These guys took it personal. You saw how they came out tonight. Our defensive intensity and our deflections early in the game I think really rattled them. They could never really get comfortable.”

UCLA advanced to play seventh-seeded Northwestern in the second round of the West Region. The Wildcats beat Boise State 75-67 earlier in the day.

UCLA made sure this game was never in doubt, making its first five shots and taking a 14-0 lead on a 3-pointer by Singleton just 3:06 into the game.

UCLA made sure this game was never in doubt, making its first five shots and taking a 14-0 lead on a 3-pointer by Singleton just 3:06 into the game.

On Friday, March 17; the NO.10 Seed USC Trojans were defeated by the Michigan State Spartans, 72-62.

UCLA faces Northwestern tomorrow at 5:40 pm.

Kings Rain On Islanders Parade

PHOTO: Michael C. Floch / fi360 News

LOS ANGELES—After trailing 1-0 at the end of the first period, the Los Angeles Kings went on a scoring rampage to open up the second period on route to a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday, March 14 at Arena.

Like the pouring rain descending upon the fans who braved the harsh weather, the Kings poured it on the Islanders scoring four goals in the second period. As New York proved helpless against the overwhelming Kings offensive deluge.

The Kings got goals from five different players in the victory – Quinton Byfield, Drew Doughty, Alex Iafallo Blake Lizotte, Trevor Moore – and points from 14 different skaters.

Kings Trevor Moore was impressed by the team converting on the power play, one of the few weaknesses in an otherwise Stanley Cup caliber team.

“It’s huge we scored. Last year we relied on our 5-on-5 game and we still have to rely on it, we still have to be a better 5-on-5 team, but now we have the added boost of having really good special teams. I think it’s been great,” said Moore postgame.

New York scored the lone goal from the first period to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Defenseman Ryan Pulock sprung forward Pierre Engvall into a 1-on-1 situation and he pulled the puck to his forehand in the slot and fired past Korpisalo for the game-opening goal.

The Kings evened the contest less than two minutes into the second period, through Lizotte, to tie the game at one. Off a won faceoff by Lizotte, the puck found Sean Walker at the left point and he fired toward the net, with Lizotte getting the deflection on the way through.

Los Angeles had gone an icy 3 for 31 conversion on the power play since the All-Star break. Taking advantage of a 5-on-3 power play, the Kings struck twice to open up a 3-1 lead midway through the second frame.

First, on a two-man advantage, forward Anze Kopitar hesitated and fed Doughty in his wheelhouse, with the veteran defenseman hammering the one-timer past Islanders netminder Ilya Sorokin for the go-ahead goal. Iafallo made it 3-1 59 seconds later, the team’s second power-play goal of the night.

Forward Viktor Arvidsson fired off the post, with his rebound deflecting off of Iafallo’s chest, right to his stick and into the net for his tenth goal of the season, the athleticism combined with the thunderous and spontaneous roar from the crowd made it the play of the game.

Moore made it 4-1 just past the midway point of the middle stanza, his first goal since returning from injury. The Islanders added one late in the second period, pushing the score to 4-2 through 40 minutes of play.

New Kings Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo improved to 3-0, making crucial saves as the Islanders attempted a spirited come back effort late. Korpisalo as he made 26 saves on 28 shots faced.

Los Angeles Kings improved to (39-20-9) on the season. Second place in the Western Conference standings behind the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

Stars shine too bright for Kraken, Seattle drops third straight game 

Photo by Aaron Nelson / fi360 News

Seattle, WA – A rematch of the Dallas Stars and Seattle Kraken, just two days after a thrilling back and forth contest, was not due for a repeat of the prior outing as the visiting Stars handily defeated the Kraken, 5-2. Seattle had an obvious emphasis on getting bodies into the crease to create traffic in front of Dallas goaltender Jake Oettinger, but a few tough bounces in favor of the Stars ultimately put this game away before we even got to the third frame. The Kraken drop their third straight, second in a row to Dallas, and need to be able to fix their issues quickly considering the state of the Pacific Division.  

The term bad bounce comes up when an unlucky play occurs to a team that otherwise was performing well. A “bad bounce” against the Kraken set the tone for the rest of this contest, when the Stars scored the first goal of the game. A puck clattered off Seattle defenseman Adam Larsson twice before careening towards net, where it clipped Stars forward Evgenii Dadanov and post Kraken goaltender Martin Jones. A truly unfortunate series of events set the stage for Seattle’s third straight loss, and this one should be a wakeup call as the regular season nears its end.  

“It was a really tight game, I thought we had good minutes, played good, but the special teams needed to be better tonight,” Seattle forward Alex Wennberg on the team going 0-3 on the power play.  

A huge area of emphasis for Seattle that was noticeable in the first game against Dallas on Saturday, and one that was preached from the time that game ended until this one started, was the ability to create traffic in front of Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger. The Kraken stated that they needed to do a better job of not letting Oettinger see pucks, and it seemed like they were doing a solid job at that to begin the game. There were some hopeful signs of potential, but ultimately Seattle couldn’t convert on enough chances to hang with Dallas. The only goals of the night for the Kraken came on a Yanni Gourde shot that deflected off Joe Pavelski into the net, and an Eeli Tolvanen tip in goal with traffic in front, off a pass from Vince Dunn. Those goals showed what Seattle needed to do, the Kraken just simply didn’t do it enough.  

“We’re confident in the guys that are in the room, whenever things go south, we’re confident that we can get the job done, we were just on the wrong side of things today… This team has done a good job all year to believe until the end. Tonight, they were just the better team,” Kraken defenseman Adam Larsson on the loss.  

Seattle will get a practice in during a few days off from games following their third straight loss, and second in as many outings against the Dallas Stars. The Kraken will return to action on Thursday, March 16th, when they head on a one-game road trip to battle the San Jose Sharks. Seattle will be looking to have a much better outing this time around than their last in San Jose, when they were shutout and allowed four goals to a lowly Sharks team. This three-game losing streak comes at a rough time for Seattle, although it’s against good teams, considering the state of the division and how the rest of them continue to win games. The Kraken get a good chance to bounce back, but that seems easier said than done.  

Kraken fall again in tight battle as Stars shine through in overtime 

Photo by Aaron Nelson / fi360 News

Seattle, WA – As the clock hit triple zeroes to end regulation, the way things had played out felt disappointingly similar to the last game the Seattle Kraken had played, as again they fell in a tightly contested battle with a tough opponent. The Kraken lost 4-3 in overtime to the Dallas Stars, a top team in the Western Conference, in the first of two games that the teams will play in a span of three days. The Kraken battled hard, just as they had against Ottawa, but still cannot put the finishing touches on these intense battles. Seattle has proven that they can hang with the best teams in the league, including the Boston Bruins, but they can’t shut the door on them just yet.  

“It was a really competitive game out there, I thought we did okay for the most part. A really disappointing result again when we’re up close in the end, so we’ll learn from it, look at it, we’ll find a way to break them down, we have them again here very soon. Just forget it, it’s an important point that we got, and we’ll move on,” Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn reflected.  

If you were to lay out the games Seattle played at home against Boston, Ottawa, and Dallas, you’d think you’re looking at the same contest in different font with minor tweaks here and there. All three of those hotly contested battles have been against quality opponents and came down to the Kraken failing to find a way to put the final nail in their opponents’ coffin. Seattle, obviously still only in their second year as a franchise, have experienced numerous growing pains through the season but have been able to learn from them enough to adjust and move forward. Ironically enough, one of those pains that they had “grown” out of came back to bite the Kraken.  

Seattle begrudgingly took the game to overtime; having blown the late lead they had taken on an Oliver Bjorkstrand power play goal, when they allowed a score with 1:10 to play in period three. After going winless in their first three overtime games to start the season, the Kraken heavily practiced their three-on-three play to prepare themselves for that situation, and they proceeded to win the next seven games decided in the overtime period. That streak came to a halt tonight, as even though Seattle had far higher possession of the puck in overtime, the Kraken couldn’t get a good look on Dallas goaltender Jake Oettinger. Dallas took the puck the other way and cycled it enough to find a wide-open Miro Heiskanen, and just like that Dallas had secured victory from the jaws of defeat in Seattle.  

“They made a play to win it, we had a couple of looks, but we didn’t get inside on them. We had a couple opportunities where we had tired legs on the ice on their side. Wenny had the one look from outside, Ebs had one that maybe could have taken inside a little harder, but he had a look from the outside and he’s pretty confident from there. But they made play,” Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol said about the overtime period.  

Seattle will have a team day off to get away from the rink before these two teams face off in the rematch on Monday, March 13th inside of Climate Pledge Arena with a puck drop of 7PM PST. Knowing the issues that resulted in their defeat, the Kraken seemed eager and ready to get back to work immediately following the loss, so this game already seems like it’s going to have that “big fight feel.” On that night, Seattle will be celebrating it’s “Pride night,” their second to last Hockey is for Everyone night of the season.  

Kraken nearly mount fierce comeback, cannot overcome self-inflicted mistakes in 5-4 loss to Senators 

Period 1

Seattle, WA – A desperate and angry Ottawa Senators team came into Climate Pledge Arena, looking to gain valuable points in their pursuit of a playoff berth while also having the task of ending Seattle’s five-game win streak. Ottawa pounced on the home team early, punching in three goals within the first ten minutes, but nearly blew that lead in stunning fashion. The Kraken were able to battle back in a scrappy way, but ultimately Seattle’s failure to clear the puck from their zone and turnovers in that zone resulted in numerous self-inflicted wounds that they couldn’t overcome.  

The defensive aspect of the Kraken has been an issue throughout their existence, and even during their win streaks as well as overall turnaround this season, that remains an issue. Seattle defenseman Vince Dunn compared tonight’s loss to the one the team suffered against Boston last month, and he’s right to do so considering that both contests saw the Kraken fight hard, score a lot but ultimately fall because of their defense. Ottawa’s goals tonight can all fall into two ugly categories: The Kraken failing to clear the puck from their own zone, leaving a Senators skater unmarked/alone, or sometimes both. The Kraken started the game out making those sorts of mistakes, and it set them back too far. Had that start not occurred and Seattle got out on the right foot, that big deficit doesn’t come to fruition and the Kraken settle in to play their game against an offensive-minded squad. 

“I think we were a bit casual and relaxed in the first ten minutes. Our recipe is pretty simple; it’s pucks north and establish a forecheck, that’s when we start to build our game and we definitely didn’t do that in the first 20 minutes as a whole. We turned it around, gave ourselves a chance to win, we just need to find a way to do it, Vince Dunn reflected.  

Seattle forward Jared McCann is on some kind of tear, not only setting career marks but in doing so, giving his hockey club the best chance, they can get. The Kraken have seen many different faces play a part in their offense, and it has hardly ever been just one skater, but it’s hard to downplay what McCann has been doing since the calendar year of 2023 began. McCann, on today which is the year anniversary of him signing a five-year extension with Seattle, has tallied 17 points over the course of a 14-game stretch and 30 points over 31 games since January 1st. He’s been an incredibly valuable piece to this offensive attack, and you could potentially argue that he’s helped fill in the hole left by injured forward Andre Burakovsky.  

“Just wasn’t good enough, start wasn’t good enough. We didn’t come ready. It was a pretty simple message; if we wanted to get back in the game, we had to figure it out, and we did that. At the same time, we have to have a full 60-minute effort,” Jared McCann said about the loss.  

The Kraken will hit the practice rink tomorrow, looking to clean up some of their issues prior to the first of two big battles when the Dallas Stars come to town for two matchups in three days. The first of those two comes on Saturday, March 11th with a puck drop at 7PM PST. It will be a tall task for the Kraken to turn things around and be fully prepared for this Dallas team, who is coming off a 10-4 victory tonight against the Buffalo Sabres. To close out the month of March, Seattle will play nine games and seven of them are against teams that are jockeying for their playoff lives. Points will be harder and harder to come by for the Kraken, so they’ll have to find another gear quickly.  

Kraken handle business against Ducks, but not before tempers flare  

Period 3

Seattle, WA – In their third matchup of the season and first since way back in November, the Seattle Kraken began a pivotal four game homestand with a sound 5-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Several of Seattle’s stars who are setting career highs in goal and point scoring contributed to this victory, like Jamie Oleksiak who began the night with a goal a little under four minutes into the opening frame. Despite winning this battle in a fashion where the game was never in doubt, the Kraken had some issues with the Ducks on a few hits throughout the course of the third period including one that saw star defenseman Vince Dunn exit the game due to a decision from off-ice officials. Seattle secured two key points as they march towards the end of their second season, but they didn’t do so without a few extra bruises.  

Kraken forward Jared McCann continues to etch his name into Seattle’s history books and hearts, as the first player in franchise history to sign an extension and record 30 goals in a season for the team notched a goal and assist in this win over Anaheim. Those two points on the night pushed his season total to 100, another “first ever” accomplishment for the Stratford, Canada native that continues to produce at a torrid pace for a team that seems playoff bound. With the calm, steady McCann having tallied a point in eleven of his last 13 appearances, the Kraken have gotten consistent offensive production and an elite shot out of a forward that was looked over just like many of his current Seattle teammates.  

“Not so much, I’ve been very lucky to play with two great linemates in Ebs and Matty, obviously Matty is a special player. Ebs has been dishing it to me a lot since I’ve been here, so I’ve just been trying to capitalize on those,” Jared McCann said when asked if he’s seen anything different this year compared to last when it comes to his goal scoring.  

Heading into a third period where Seattle held a two-goal lead against an inferior opponent, it felt like the Kraken were going to be able to add a few more goals and secure the two points without too much resistance. Anaheim had other plans for those final two minutes, showing the “physical” side of their game with a few high hits to Kraken players Jordan Eberle, Adam Larsson, and Vince Dunn. The most notable perhaps was the last player listed in Vince Dunn, as he had to leave the game due to the hit laid on him. For context Jordan Eberle and Adam Larsson had both taken hits to the upper body and above area without a call, with Larsson notably holding the back of his head after getting off the ice and slamming the bench door after his shift had ended.  

With under eight minutes to play in the final frame and the game all but decided, Dunn was hit high by Ducks forward Max Comtois after the puck was out of Dunn’s reach. Dunn was left bloodied and called for a hit to the head but was ignored. Once on the bench, Dunn proceeded to yell at the officials about his anger at the no call and slammed his stick on the ice, which resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Not even a minute into serving that penalty, the on-ice officials were instructed by off-ice officials to send Dunn off the ice for concussion protocol, ending his night.  

“He was pissed off, and I get why. It was a little bit late; he held his cool getting off of the ice and he snapped on the bench. His teammates had his back, got the job done, and that’s it, we’ll move on. He’s been a heck of a competitor for us all year long, he’s head great presence of mind, that’s one situation where his teammates had his back and got him through it… I don’t have an update, I don’t have any reason for any concern right now,” Dave Hakstol said when asked about the hit that Vince Dunn received and if he had an update on his condition.   

Seattle will have a day of practice in between games, as their next game comes on Thursday, March 9th with a puck drop of 7PM PST against the Ottawa Senators. The Kraken will host an Ottawa team that sits at fifth in their division and may be looking to get some revenge on Seattle for their January contest when the Senators lost 8-4. Ottawa, having acquired highly coveted defenseman Jacob Chychrun via trade, is in a similar situation to Seattle where every point is critical through these final weeks of the regular season.  

UCLA extends Kelly Contract

UCLA head coach Chip Kelly

WESTWOOD, CA – After two straight seasons in which the UCLA Bruins football program has once again become relevant nationally, UCLA has extended Bruins Head Coach Chip Kelly’s contract to lead UCLA until 2027.

Kelly, who led UCLA to a mark of 9-4, concluding with a heartbreaking 37-34 loss in the Sun Bowl, has brought discipline while revamping the Bruins offense over his tenure.

UCLA averaged a scorching 39 points per game last season.

In addition, the 2022 team became the school’s first to average more than 500 yards of total offense. It finished fourth in the nation at 503.6. UCLA was the only FBS team with 3,463 passing yards and 3,084 rushing yards.

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 20: UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) runs the ball for a gain during a college football game between the UCLA Bruins and the USC Trojans on November 20, 2021, at United Airlines Field at The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/fi360 News)

Kelly is 27-29 through five seasons in Westwood, but is 16-8 the past two years. He took over after Jim Mora Jr. was fired in 2017 and had a roster predominantly filled with underclassmen his first two seasons.

The Bruins were 3-9 in Kelly’s first year in 2018 and 4-8 the following season. During the shortened 2020 season, a turnaround began with a 3-4 mark.

Kelly is 72-36 as a college coach, signed a four-year contract last year.

The Bruins averaged 237.2 rushing yards per game, ranking sixth nationally and first in the Pac-12. Charbonnet averaged a conference-best 135.9 rushing yards and an FBS-leading 168.0 all-purpose yards.

Due in large part to the Bruins three-headed monster; Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson Wide Receiver Jake Bobo and Running Back Zach Charbonnet. His winning percentage has increased in each of his five seasons.

UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet (24) finds room to run in the third quarter against Colorado at Folsom Field in Boulder CO on Saturday September 24, 2022. UCLA won by a score of 45 to 17. (Photo by Laura Domingue/fi360 News)

Last season was the first time since 2014 that the No. 21 Bruins were ranked in the final AP Top 25 and AFCA Coaches polls.

“Kelly and his talented staff,” UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond said in a prepared statement. “The football program is on an upward trajectory, both on the field and in the classroom. Coach Kelly and his staff have done a tremendous job developing young men as demonstrated by their academic excellence.”

the two-year extension ensures Kelly will make $6.1 million during the 2023 and 2024 seasons before getting bumped up to $6.2 million per season in 2025, 2026 and 2027.

Kelly’s greatest accomplishment as the Bruins Head Coach, despite his well deserved reputation across the college football landscape as a bona fide genius on the offensive side on the ball. Ironically, it’s been his presence and coaching prowess transforming UCLA’S defense into a ferocious beast.

Defensively, the Bruins held teams to 130.3 rushing yards per game. Edge rusher Laiatu Latu, who was named a College Football Comeback Player of the Year Award winner in his first year since transferring from Washington, had 10.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.

November 24, 2018 Pasadena CA, UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly during the Stanford Cardinal vs UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA on November 24, 2018 (Photo by Jevone Moore)

UCLA will go into its final season in the Pac-12 with plenty of questions. The Bruins were fifth in the nation in total offense, but quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson graduated and running back Zach Charbonnet left early for the NFL draft.

Kelly will also have his third defensive coordinator in as many seasons after hiring D’Anton Lynn.

Chip started with a group of Freshmen, whose to say he can’t mold next year’s underclassman to future success.

Maple Leafs trounce flailing Kraken, 5-1 as Seattle continues to fall in standings

Photo by Aaron Nelson / fi360 News

Seattle, WA – In their final home game of the month of February, the Seattle Kraken were dominated in disheartening fashion by the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs. Despite scoring first on a Vince Dunn wrist shot from the slot, the Kraken continue to have their defensive miscues taken advantage of as Toronto skaters were left unmarked. Seattle couldn’t buy a goal today after Dunn’s, with several shots and opportunities just off the mark as if there was a force field protecting the Maple Leafs net. It’s another tough loss for Seattle, the blowout variety after the thrilling fall to Boston, as the Kraken continue to tumble down the standings.  

The defensive issues for the Kraken have been around since the team’s inaugural season, and they do not seem to be improving as we head into the final few months of the 2022-23 regular season. The Kraken were able to survive these issues when their offense was pumping out high scoring games, but that isn’t the case anymore. Seattle continues to leave skaters open when they’re in their own zone, and they must be better with the puck. Their passing and puck management has been poor, creating more issues for themselves on top of the poor puck management.  

Those issues were displayed today by the Kraken in four of the Maple Leafs goals. Toronto was able to get open back door on two of their goals (John Tavares and Auston Matthews), left Timothy Liljegren open backside in the faceoff circle unmarked, and failed to clear the puck as Auston Matthews played hack and whack. These issues have been present throughout the course of the season and must be corrected for this team to keep their playoff hopes alive.  

“I think that we’re working hard but we could work a little smarter, compete a little harder. It’s the little things that are killing us right now, battles, puck management, blocking shots, not giving up second chances. It’s unfortunate giving up these goals because our goalies are actually playing pretty well for us, unacceptable for Grubi there, there’s not much he can do on many of those goals. We’ll have to look at it, take a step back here and breathe a little bit. A lot of us are maybe being a little too hard on ourselves, clenching our stick a little bit. When the plays are there, we have to make them,” Vince Dunn said when asked about the defensive issues.  

Seattle’s offensive attack has been able to put up some big numbers virtually all season long, but in the months of January and February, they’ve seen a drop in production. Obviously considering that playoff races are heating up and the sort of production that the Kraken saw in the month of November was not sustainable, the drop off makes some sense. The Kraken have excellent shot finishers and have gotten some fortunate bounces, and that may have created some bad habits in the offensive zone. While this is true, it’s also true that Seattle got unlucky on a few of their attempts today that just barely missed the mark.  

“I felt that we created chances, there were opportunities to score no question. We sustained O-Zone pressure but we couldn’t really find anything inside. The story of the night was that we started off well, obviously got off to a lead, and then we watched them play for 15 minutes. Obviously with the firepower that they have they’re gonna score eventually,” Jordan Eberle on Seattle’s offensive attack in the loss.  

The Kraken will now head out on the road for a four-game slate, which begins on Tuesday, February 28th against the St. Louis Blues. The Kraken will now play nine of the next 15 games for the against teams not currently in a playoff spot. Out of the remaining 23 games, 14 of them are against non-playoff teams. The Kraken will faceoff with the Blues in St. Louis with a puck drop of 5PM PST, as one of the them will have to pick up a victory as they have both struggled in their past ten games.  

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