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  • 08 May
    ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Two teams whose seasons are heading in opposite directions will meet Tuesday night when the Anaheim Ducks play the New York Islanders at the Honda Center.The Ducks share first place in the Pacific Division with the Los Angeles Kings and the surprising Edmonton Oilers. The Islanders, meanwhile, own the worst record in the Eastern Conference following a frustrating November. New York has lost four consecutive games this month and seven of eight. Two losses took place during overtime, another two in shootouts.Scoring has been such a big problem for the Islanders that first-line center John Tavares has seen a constant rotation of different wingers all season. So has left winger Andrew Ladd, who signed a seven-year contract worth $38.5 million as a free agent but has just two goals, one assist and a minus-4 rating after 17 games.Nevertheless, general manager Garth Snow expressed public confidence in Ladd, who scored 24 goals and amassed a career-high 62 points for the Winnipeg Jets two years ago.Andrew Ladd is not defined as a hockey player by scoring goals, Snow told New York Newsday. Its a lot of different things he does, whether its being a tough SOB to play against or his leadership. He didnt have many goals last year around Christmas and then he turned it on. Hes a winner. Hes a big part of our club.Snows confidence extends to the rest of the Islanders.I have a lot of belief in everyone in that room, Snow told Newsday. The great part about facing adversity is that you see who rises to the top. When you face adversity, its a great challenge, and I look forward to seeing who rises to that challenge.Two defensemen, Dennis Seidenberg and Ryan Pulock, will remain unavailable for the Islanders lone trip to California. Seidenberg has a broken jaw and is not eating solid food. Pulock will accompany the team but only to continue his conditioning as he recovers from a broken right foot he suffered Oct. 21 against the Arizona Coyotes.After playing the Ducks, New York will face the Kings on Wednesday night, then travel to San Jose to play the Sharks on Friday night.The Islanders will begin their trip facing a team in search of itself. Despite winning five of the past eight games, the Ducks have yet two win more than two in a row. Anaheim sabotaged its chance for a third successive victory Sunday night with two listless opening periods in a 3-2 loss to the Kings.We didnt play anywhere near where were capable of, Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. They outworked us for two periods. Pucks were going through our sticks. We couldnt execute a tape-to-tape pass. They basically manhandled us against the wall, and we didnt get involved physically until the third period.Carlyle believes the Ducks performance against their cross-town rivals illustrates a bigger problem.I think were a hockey club that is still trying to find its way, Carlyle told the Los Angeles Times. We havent really created our identity yet. Consistency, in everybodys mind, is going to be a challenge well beyond the 20-game mark. SAN FRANCISCO -- Nate Schierholtzs recent power surge might not be enough to turn the Chicago Cubs season around. It sure is making the year a lot easier for the slugging outfielder to handle. Getting a game-winning home run against his former club? Well, thats just icing on the cake. Cheered in every at-bat this series by the crowd at AT&T Park, Schierholtz homered off ex-teammate Sergio Romo with one out in the ninth inning to lift the Cubs to a 1-0 win over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night. "I cant really describe it, but it felt good," Schierholtz said. "I always loved playing here. I love the fans here. I couldnt ask for a better reception." Dropped to sixth in the Cubs lineup after batting cleanup a night earlier in the clubs first game after trading Alfonso Soriano, Schierholtz worked a full count off Romo (3-6) before hitting a towering blast into the right field stands to hand Romo his second loss in as many games. Schierholtz played with San Francisco from 2007-2012 before getting traded to Philadelphia in exchange for Hunter Pence midway through last season. He signed with Chicago as a free agent in the off-season and had been bothered by shoulder problems earlier in the year before heating up over the past two weeks. The home run off Romo was Schierholtzs 14th of the season and third on the teams current 10-game road trip. Seven of his 10 hits on the road trip have been for extra bases. "Its pretty nice to watch," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Its obviously huge for him to do that to his old team." Starlin Castro added two hits for Chicago, which is 18-13 in its last 31 games. Madison Bumgarner pitched eight shutout innings for San Francisco but left without a decision. The World Series champs have lost six of seven and are a season-high 11 games under .500. Since May 13, the Giants have the worst record in the majors at 23-42. "Were in a tough rut now and we know it," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "We just have to keep working and trying. We couldnt even get a cheap hit and we got what we deserve." Pedro Strop (1-0) pitched one inning for the win despite making two mental mistakes that helped the Giants load the bases with no outs in the eighth. Strop twice made late throws on sacrifice bunt attempts but got out of it when Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval grounded into forceouts at home and Hunter Pence struck ouut.dddddddddddd "That was one of our more exciting innings of the year," Sveum said. "We were going to win it or lose it there." Kevin Gregg worked the ninth for his 21st save to complete the five-hitter, getting pinch-hitter Tony Abreu to ground into a 3-2-3 double play after San Francisco loaded the bases with one out. The Cubs won their second straight in this three-game set after dropping three of four to the Giants at Wrigley Field in April. Chicago scored two unearned runs in the ninth inning to beat San Francisco 3-2 on Friday. This one went down to the wire again. Chicago only got one runner to second base until Schierholtzs homer. That was enough to hold off the slumping Giants, who were shut out for the ninth time this season. Both starters were dominant but left without a decision. Chicago rookie Chris Rusin needed just 27 pitches to get through the third inning and didnt allow a baserunner until Pences one-out walk in the fifth. One batter later Joaquin Arias grounded a single to centre to end the no-hit bid. Rusin also worked out of a two-on, two-out jam in the sixth and got help in the seventh when first baseman Anthony Rizzo made a leaping stab of Brandon Belts high liner to strand Pence at third base after he led off the inning with a ground-rule double. Bumgarner was equally effective until leaving for a pinch hitter in the eighth. The Giants most consistent starter this season and an All-Star, Bumgarner overcame a pair of errors behind him and pitched out of a two-on, two-out jam when Andres Torres made a diving catch on Schierholtzs sinking liner in the sixth. He finished with seven strikeouts and two walks. NOTES: The Giants committed two more errors and lead the majors with 76 this season. ... Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong threw 45 pitches over 2 2-3 innings in his second rehabilitation outing after going on the disabled list with a fractured right hand. Vogelsong will accompany the big league club on a trip to the White House on Monday before joining Double-A Richmond for his next appearance. ... RHP Tim Lincecum (5-10, 4.73 ERA), who allowed eight runs on Monday in his first start since throwing a no-hitter, pitches for the Giants in the series finale. ... LHP Travis Wood (6-7, 2.95) goes for Chicago and is winless in four career starts against San Francisco. ... Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti rejoined the club after having elbow surgery Wednesday. ' ' '