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    February 21, 2019 11:43 AM HKT
    Its not a do-or-die game for the Toronto Argonauts, but its pretty darn close to it. [b]Jason Sanders Dolphins Jersey[/b] . When the Argos kick off against the Alouettes in Montreal Sunday at noon, theyll do so with an opportunity to win the East by going through the front door. A victory would create a three-way tie for first place in the East, but the Argos would hold the advantage in tiebreakers with both Montreal and Hamilton. If they lose, theyll need help. For all intents and purposes, its a playoff game; something thats not lost on head coach Scott Milanovich. Honestly, for us its been like this the last three or four weeks, said the coach. Its a good thing. Its not a new scenario for us. Two weeks ago against Hamilton we had to have (a win). The coach knows it will be a boisterous atmosphere at Molson Stadium from first-hand experience, having coached with the Als for five seasons before taking the head coaching job in Toronto. The fact that its a key game on the road doesnt faze him at all. The good thing is that weve played well here in the past, said Milanovich, certainly with their most recent trip to Montreal in mind, a 31-5 victory in early August. I think our guys feel good about coming here. I know theyre very confident, but so are we. Quarterback Ricky Ray knows how tough the Als defence can be. Theyve held the 12-year veteran to just 388 total passing yards in the two previous meetings this year. Ray will in all likelihood lead the CFL in touchdown passes for the first time in his career this season, but he didnt throw one against the Als two weeks ago. He knows theyll have to clean up two major areas of concern; turnovers and penalties. When you play a good team like Montreal youre not going to get a lot of opportunities to put drives together and sustain them, said Ray. You cant hurt yourself out there. Thats what we have to focus on, cleaning up those mistakes. Thats been something Ray, his teammates and their coaches have been talking about since the season began, but it remains problematic as the team prepares to play its seventeenth game of the campaign. It theyre going to be successful - aside from cleaning up the obvious - theyll have to remain patient against a very good defence that tackles exceptionally well. Youre always trying to take your shots, said the quarterback, But with these guys its difficult. They do a good job of covering those deep throws and forcing you to throw it underneath and coming up and making those tackles. So how do you counter that? Were going to have to break some of those tackles, continued Ray. The guys who dont catch the ball are going to have to rally around and try pick up some blocks to hopefully spring somebody and give them a little extra running room. There is some good news on the injury front for Toronto, 310 pounds of it. Offensive right tackle Chris Van Zeyl returns after missing last weeks game with a pretty gruesome thumb injury. I was blocking in the Montreal game and I went to punch, said Van Zeyl. It was one of those fluke accidents. I jammed it right on the top and it actually bent back on itself right at the top joint. The front of it basically blew open and I had to get stitches. Ouch. Hes worn a brace over the thumb this week at practice, but isnt so sure about how it will play out come game time. Im going to put something (different) on during warm up, said the McMaster graduate. Ill try it out and see if I can play with that. If I can play with that it will be something a little less significant than what I was wearing throughout the week in practice. Having Van Zeyl back helps on multiple fronts. The first is thats hes been the Argos best offensive lineman this season. Going a little deeper, it allows the team to start four Canadians on the o-line, something it couldnt do last week. That will free up an import at another position. Montreal is 7-1 in its last eight games. If the Argos are to beat the hottest team in the CFL theyll need Van Zeyl, Ray and everyone else wearing double blue to bring their A game. If not, the offseason may be a lot closer than they expected. [b]Jason Sanders Jersey[/b] . Jets head coach Paul Maurice made the announcement Saturday following the morning skate and confirmed Al Montoya will start in goal against the Dallas Stars on Sunday. [b]Minkah Fitzpatrick Jersey[/b] . The Reds will host the Los Angeles Dodgers tonight in the opener of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park, and the debut matchup will feature a pair of pitchers whose recent resumes have included a fair number of bases-clearing hits. EDMONTON -- The Colorado Avalanche are looking quite ready to start the post-season. Erik Johnson led the way with a goal and an assist as the Avalanche gave themselves some breathing room in the playoff picture with a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. Paul Stastny, Jamie McGinn and Tyson Barrie also scored for the Avalanche (51-21-7) who have gone 7-0-1 in their last eight games. "We played the type of game that we need to play in the playoffs," said Colorado goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere." It didnt matter that we were playing a team that is out of it. We stuck to our game and I was really impressed with the way we played, its a really good time for our team." The win gave Colorado a four-point cushion over the idle Chicago Blackhawks for second place in the Central Division and two points up on the San Jose Sharks for third in the Western Conference. The Avs remained four points back of division-leading St. Louis. "I think we just want to keep winning," said Stastny. "We want to get home ice. Whether we catch St. Louis or not, we just want to keep moving forward. If Chicago wins again, we have to win again to guarantee home ice for at least one run. But were not looking that far ahead, were just looking at the next game. We just have to keep playing well." The Avalanche set a team record for road wins with the victory, improving to 25-10-3 away from Denver. David Perron replied for the 28th place Oilers (28-43-9) who saw a two-game winning streak come to an end. "It was a small step backwards tonight," said Oilers defenceman Jeff Petry. "We werent sharp from the beginning of the game on. We werent making tape-to-tape passes or catching passes. We were just a little bit off tonight." Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins thought it was more than just a little off, especially in light of some of their efforts against top teams of late. "It was perplexing to say the least," he said. "On our last road trip and our last game here against Anaheim, we were dialled in, each and every guy. Tonight we just couldnt get our legs and get into the rhythm of the game. The biggest thing for me was it was almost like we couldnt work because we couldnt make two passes in a row. Our execution was just terrible tonight." Colorado started the scoring four minutes into the game after Stastny swatted the puck in through the legs of an Edmonton defender from the side of the net after goalie Ben Scrivens had made the initial stop on Gabriel Landeskog. It was Stastnys 23rd goal of the season. The Oilers tied the game on the power play with three minutes to play in the opening frame as Perron banked the puck off the skate of defenceman Nick Holden andd past Giguere. [b]A.J. Derby Dolphins Jersey[/b]. . It was Perrons team-leading 28th goal of the year. However, the Avalanche restored their lead just 12 seconds later as Johnson walked past Petry and beat Scrivens up high. "That was a huge boot right in the you-know-what," Eakins said. "You arent going great and you get a goal that livens your bench and they barely drop the puck and bang, it is in the back of your net." Johnson knew it was a pivotal goal. "It was right after they scored a power-play goal, the first shift after," Johnson said. "I just wanted to make sure first and foremost we got the puck in deep. I had some speed and made a move and it was fun to make a play like that and score a goal like that at this level. "We controlled the pace of the game the entire game after that goal, I thought." Both goalies were solid in the scoreless second period, particularly Scrivens, who came across to make a huge toe save on Stastny after a bad bounce off the glass with two minutes left. The shots favoured Colorado 23-19 through 40 minutes. The Avalanche came into the game with a record of 34-0-2 when leading after two periods. Colorado took a 3-1 lead seven-and-a-half minutes into the third on a power-play goal as Barrie came in from the point and took a shot through traffic that beat Scrivens high to the glove side. The Avalanche made it 4-1 with just under four minutes left to play as McGinn smacked the puck into the net before Ryan Nugent-Hopkins could clear it for his 19th of the year. Both teams return to the ice on Thursday as the Oilers play the third game of a season-ending four game homestand against the Los Angeles Kings. The Avs are on the road for their final four matchers, playing the second of a four game trip in Vancouver against the Canucks. Notes: It was the third and final meeting between the two teams this season. Edmonton started out with a huge 8-2 win over the Avalanche on Dec. 5, however the Avs bounced back with a 4-3 win two weeks later in Coloradoa Colorado is one of the few teams that the Oilers have had much success against in recent years, coming into the game with a record of 12-4-4 in their last 20 games against the Avalanchea Oilers forward Taylor Hall came into the game on a high note, having earned the NHLs first star status on Monday for his play last week. Hall potted two goals and added seven assists in four games to collect the honoura Out with injuries for the Avalanche were forwards Cody McLeod (ankle), P.A .Parenteau (knee) and Matt Duchene (knee)a Absent from the Oilers lineup were forwards Jesse Joensuu (ankle), Tyler Pitlick (knee), Ryan Jones (torn PCL), Luke Gazdic (shoulder), Nail Yakupov (ankle) and defenceman Andrew Ference (chest). 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