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Mitch's Sports Report: With Price Back In Fold, Habs Stop Columbus Streak; Pistons Cool Off Celtics

The Montreal Canadiens have their number one goaltender back between the pipes, and that could be bad news for the rest of the league if the Habs can start giving him leads to protect.

That was the case last night at the Bell Centre as Carey Price made 37 saves in Montreal's 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, a win that snaps the Jackets winning streak at six games. Jonathan Drouin and Brendan Gallagher staked Price to a two-goal lead and that was all the former Vezina trophy winner needed to deliver the Habs their second consecutive win as they try to find traction after a slow start to the season, due in part to a number of games Price missed with injury.

To the NBA, and the Boston Celtics had not lost a game at home since their disastrous debut tilt of the season when they lost star forward Gordon Hayward for the year to a broken ankle. Boston dropped its next game on the road and then went on a sixteen game winning streak, losing only when the Miami Heat broke the string in south Florida. But the Detroit Pistons came to Boston and rode an incredible performance by center Andre Drummond to a 118-108 victory last night. Drummond threw down 26 points and took complete ownership of the glass, pulling down 22 rebounds, both season highs.

Marcus Smart led the Celtics with 23 points and Kyrie Irving added 18 but the Pistons were scoring at will, led by Drummond, and Tobias Harris, who scored a game high 31. The Celtics have deservedly been the talk of the eastern conference this season, and still have the best record in the conference at 18-4 but the Pistons are for real as well, and sit in second place at 13-6, with a statement game now under their belts after handing the Celtics just their second home loss of the season.

In the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens have long been known for their stifling defense and they relied on it again last night in a 23-16 win over the Houston Texans in Charm City. The Ravens were clinging to a four point lead late in the fourth quarter when they forced two Houston turnovers in a three minute minute span to put the game away. Terrell Suggs stripped Houston quarterback Tom Savage of the ball and the Ravens recovered to set up a field goal that increased the lead to seven, and Anthony Levine picked Savage off in the final minutes to end any hopes of a comeback.

The most entertaining play of the game, and I do wish football coaches would go for this sort of thing more often, occurred when the Ravens pulled off a fake punt on fourth down, with kicker Sam Kock throwing a 22-yard strike to wide receiver Chris Moore down the sideline to keep a drive going, one that eventually led to a Ravens touchdown. I'm all for more fake field goals, punts, the old statue of liberty play, anything to make football less predictable.

The NFL has handed down suspensions for wide receiver Michael Crabtree of the Oakland Raiders and cornerback Aqib Talib of the Denver Broncos for an on-the-field fight the two engaged in during Sunday's game. Talib and Crabtree will each sit out the next two games for their respective squads as the NFL tries to keep the inherent violence of its sport contained to the legal hits allowed under its rules and regulations, which are posing enough serious long term health problems for the players, rather than, ironically, the comparatively tame fisticuffs resulting from short tempers.

 

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