The 30-year-old has missed seven games this season, two of tho

  • PEORIA, Ill. Nike Roshe One Flyknit Homme . -- Wichita State is all alone in the record book. Again using a balanced offence and tenacious defence, the second-ranked Shockers became the first Division I team to reach 30-0 in the regular season with a 69-49 victory over Bradley on Tuesday night. "To be the first and only team in college basketball to win 30 without a loss in the regular season," Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said when asked about his theme for the game. "I realize were playing more games ... but it has never happened in the regular season. "So its a first. And these guys like to be the first, and the best." Ron Baker had 15 points to lead four Wichita State players in double figures as the Shockers became the 11th team to reach 30-0, the previous 10 all hitting the 30-win mark during post-season play. The last team to reach 30-0 was UNLV in 1990-91. The Runnin Rebels went 34-0 that season before losing to Duke in the national semifinals. The Shockers (30-0, 17-0 Missouri Valley Conference) have one more regular-season game, at home Saturday against Missouri State. The last team to finish a regular season unbeaten was Saint Josephs in 2003-04 at 27-0. The next season, Illinois got to 29-0 before losing its regular-season finale at Ohio State. A barrage of 3-pointers early in the second half broke it open for Wichita State, which beat Bradley (12-18, 7-10) for the 10th straight time and second this season. After Bradley trimmed a 10-point halftime deficit to eight, Shockers point guard Fred VanVleet made consecutive 3s for a 14-point lead, the visitors largest to that point. By the 12:50 mark, Cleanthony Early had added a 3-pointer and Baker made two 3s off screens for a 50-32 lead. Wichita State finished the game 11 of 21 from beyond the arc, with four players making two or more. Bradley was 4 of 14. "End-of-shot-clock 3s. That was it," Bradley coach Geno Ford said. "Im not saying we were going to win, but you hold them to seven offensive rebounds and have just six turnovers? Ill take it. "The difference was late-shot-clock 3s and their length at the basket." Ford went on to laud the Shockers defence. "At the rim, they have unbelievable length," Ford said. "Its length and it comes from anywhere. Even (6-foot-3) Baker. "Theyre absolutely terrific at help and recover, and they deny (wing passes). You cant find five teams in the country with that (combination)." Tyshon Pickett finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds for Bradley after nearly reaching a double-double in the first half with 10 points and nine rebounds. Pickett was just 5-of-20 from the field and leading scorer Walt Lemon Jr. was 6 for 20 and had 18 points. "I hate to get beat on the glass," Marshall said of his teams 37-36 rebound disadvantage. "But (Pickett) was a monster. He beasted us a little." Tekele Cotton scored 13 points, Early 12 and VanVleet had 11 for Wichita State, a Final Four participant a year ago. Reserve Darius Carter added nine points and seven rebounds and had one of the Shockers six blocked shots. Miserable shooting prevented Bradley from mounting much of a threat. The Braves were at 25 per cent (11 for 44) through 30 minutes and finished 16 for 59 (27.1 per cent). Bradley was playing host to its highest-ranked opponent since 1982, when then-No. 2 Wichita State lost 55-47 to the Braves who went on to win the NIT. The Shockers led 35-25 at halftime after holding the Braves to 8-of-34 shooting (23.5 per cent). The game was a matchup of the top two defensive teams in the conference, though Wichita State (60.8 points per game) leads Bradley (65.5) comfortably. Offensively, Wichita State is also the MVCs best (75.8) while Bradley (63.8) is last. The No. 2 ranking equals the highest ranking in Wichita State history, matching the 1981-82 team. Nike Flyknit Lunar 2 Homme . On Sunday afternoon, they sparked the Capitals to a much-needed victory. On a day when Alex Ovechkin was held to one shot on goal, the Capitals third line scored twice in a three-goal first period and the Capitals held on for 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Nike Flyknit Lunar 1 Femme . The bleu-blanc-noir opened the scoring in the first minute when midfielder Hernan Bernardello played a through ball to Sanna Nyassi. The Gambian midfielder fired a one-time, right-footed shot from inside the left side of the box that beat keeper John Kempin to his left.TORONTO - Back in the summer months, when Randy Carlyle and his coaching staff were playing around with the organizational depth chart, envisioning line combinations and such, they had almost no expectation that Trevor Smith would contribute to the level he has in recent weeks. "Wed all have said What are you crazy?" said Carlyle, following a 3-2 overtime win against Dallas, one that snapped a season-long five game losing streak. Smith chipped in with his seventh point in the past nine games, redirecting the overtime winner beyond Kari Lehtonen while securing the Leafs some optimism and a much-needed two points on a night when Jonathan Berniers brilliance was required once more. A lifelong Maple Leafs fan - he was born in Ottawa before spending time in Vancouver and later Thornhill, Ontario - Smith was inked to a one-year deal worth the veterans minimum on the first day of free agency last summer. His contribution as a depth centre, in light of injuries to Dave Bolland and Tyler Bozak, has proven significant. "...you have to take your hat off to the player," Carlyle said of Smith, who was named the Toronto Marlies captain prior to the start of the AHL regular season. "Hes earned every opportunity, hes earned everything hes got and when people do that they should be recognized for their contribution." Plugged onto the fourth line during his first stint with the Leafs earlier in the fall, Smith was recalled from the Marlies once more in mid-November at the very height of the teams troubles down the middle. The James van Riemsdyk experiment was over, Peter Holland had been acquired from Anaheim and Smith, playing with the Marlies in Cleveland on a Thursday night, had been dropped off in Buffalo to play against the Sabres and help provide a spark offensively. But rather than employing the 28-year-old, who had 20 goals in each of his past two AHL seasons, in a depth role, Carlyle had little choice but to use him with skilled players in an offensive role. An undrafted free agent - he had played in 24 NHL games prior to this season - Smith made quick work of the opportunity, scoring twice and adding three assists in three games before ending the Leafs losing skid on Thursday night. Considering the ongoing struggles of the club to generate offence beyond a core group of forwards, his contribution was of unexpected and much-needed value. Questioned on whether he expected to contribute in such a manner, Smith replied with a large grin and confident response. "I knew I could," he said of scoring four goals in 18 games. "Im not sure anybody else did." Five Points 1. An Expectation of Brilliance Bernier turned aside 48 of 50 Dallas shots on a night in which the Stars directed 95 shots to the net compared to just 45 for the Leafs. "Im not that impressed anymore because hes done this night in and night out," said Nazem Kadri of Bernier. "Its almost expected of him now. Hes been a great contributor to this team. Even throughout those tough stretches when they had us pinned in our end our goalie needs to make a couple big saves for us to get the win and thats exactly what happened." Leaf goaltenders have been the busiest in the NHL this season - facing more than 36 shots per game - withstanding a nightly assault with vigor until recent weeks when the load appeared too much to bear. Bernier had dropped five of his past six starts, including a loss to Montreal on Saturday. "I guess thats our style right now," said Bernier, who has faced 137 shots in his past three starts. "We find ways to win hockey games with 20 shots on net. A point is a point and thats our mindset." Bernier stopped all 25 shots in the first two frames before yielding a pair during the Stars 17-shot onslaught in the third. "You need certain individuals on your team to step up," said Carlyle. "Bernier and James Reimer have stepped up all season for us. Theres been a couple games where people have criticized them for goals, [but] that wasnt the coaching staff because the work that theyve put in, the body of work that theyve given us, its pretty hard to point any finger in their direction thats for sure." "Our goaltenders have been spectacular throughout the whole year and we know that when push comes to shove theyre going to make a big save for us," said Kadri. "Its our turn to start giving back a little bit." Bernier and Reimer own an equal .931 save percentage this season. 2. Tough Times for Kadri Playing with a heavy heart, Nazem Kadri scored twice in his return to the lineup on Thursday night. Kadri, who missed Tuesdays game against San Jose, is mourning the loss of his grandfather. The 23-year-old said his grandfather played a prominent role in his upbringing and described his recent health troubles as a source of ongoing worriment. "It was always just in the back of my head, something that I always had to deal with it after the games, just always constantly checking up on him," said Kadri prior the victory against Dallas. "It was something that was hard for me to go through. It was the first time Id gone through something like this before. I know its going to make me stronger in the end, Ive just got to get through it and use these games and this game of hockey as my release." Stepping into the top line void left by the injured Bozak, Kadri buried a feed from van Riemsdyk in the opening moments of the second period before adding his second of the game and ninth this season on a power-play redirection in the third. Nike Flyknit Lunar 2 noir. "I wanted to have a big game for him," said Kadri. "I know hes watching me tonight." "Nazzies had a tough couple days and we understand that with the loss of his grandfather," Carlyle said. "Emotionally I think that hes pretty drained and I dont think he really looked himself around the rink the past couple days. "Hopefully we can be some solace to him in his time of mourning. Usually when you go to work and you get back into the swing of things in life it helps you move on…Theres going to be more tough days for Nazzie." 3. Skid Snapped It was by no means a pretty victory, but it was two points the Leafs needed amid an increasingly concerning skid which included just two regulation victories in 14 games. The Stars were the better team for most of the night, more than doubling the shot total of the home side. They spent shift upon shift in the Toronto zone, turned aside countless times by Bernier. A third period surge was capped by Shawn Horcoffs game-tying goal with less than three minutes to go in regulation. "By no means, [do] we think were out of the woods, but it feels good to win a hockey game," said Carlyle. "Im happy we won because there seems to be a lot of pressure on our group. Hopefully this helps flush some of the things that are going on out there that we can feel a little bit of room to breathe." "We had to break it," said Smith of the losing streak. "We havent been playing well. I dont think we put together 60 minutes at all tonight, but with Bernier playing on his head for us he gave us a chance to win and thats all we can ask." 4. Injury and Opportunity Just as Cody Franson returned from a two-game absence Thursday did the Leafs lose two more bodies to injury. Tyler Bozak, having already missed 12 games this season due to a hamstring issue, was placed on injured reserve with an oblique strain. He will be out an "extended" period, according to Carlyle. Colton Orr additionally was placed on IR with an elbow injury. "Its very frustrating and disappointing that were going through the rash of injuries that we are now, but its really not time to talk about the injured players, its the time to talk about the players that we have in our lineup," said Carlyle, shortly after announcing news of the injuries. "Theres opportunities made available. Our expectations for the group that we have available to us is where our focus should be, not on the people that are not in the lineup." No player has made more of his opportunity in the face of injuries than Smith. "Did we ever think that Trevor Smith was going to be the guy that he has been for our hockey club this year? Thats a positive," said Carlyle. "Now we have an opportunity for Peter Holland to step in our lineup and play possibly a more offensive role. Nazem Kadri now has an opportunity to play with Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk. The way we have to shift it is the focus has to go on the players that are playing, not the players that arent playing." The Leafs are up to 80 man games missed to injury, nearing the 91 they totaled in 48 games last season. But as Carlyle made sure to note after the game, every team in the league is dealing with injuries, some more so than the Leafs. "Theres 15 teams that have lost more man games than we have so quit feeling sorry ourselves," he said. "Lets move on. Lets focus on the players that we have [and] the job that we have to do. Hopefully this [win] helps us do that." 5. Lupuls Return Drawing Near Sidelined the past five games with a groin injury, Joffrey Lupul appears to nearing a return, possibly even for Saturdays game in Ottawa. "Its too hard to say right now," said Lupul of a return against the Senators. "I dont want to rule anything out quite yet, but certainly theres some improvements that need to be made first." Lupul has yet to participate in a full practice with the Leafs, but believes hed require just one such practice before rejoining the lineup. The 30-year-old has missed seven games this season, two of those due to a foot injury last month. "I feel like Im getting closer, but at this point I cant risk re-aggravating [the injury] or anything," he said. "I dont think thats in the best interest of me or the team. "Id like to think were moving in the right direction." Stats-Pack 137 - Shots faced by Jonathan Bernier in his past three starts. 36.6 - Average shots against for the Leafs this season, most in the NHL. 25:30 - Ice-time for Jake Gardiner, leading the Leafs against Dallas. 26 - Times the Leafs have been outshot in 29 games this season. 2-3-2 - Record for Bernier in his past seven starts. 7- Points for Trevor Smith in the past nine games. 4:02 - Ice-time for Jerry DAmigo, who made his NHL debut on Thursday night. 6 - Consecutive games the Leafs have allowed at least one power-play goal. 5 - Consecutive games with a point for Phil Kessel. Kessel had two assists against the Stars, totaling six points during the recent streak. Special Teams Capsule PP: 1-2Season: 25.3% PK: 3-4Season: 78.4% Quote of the Night "I know hes watching me tonight." -Nazem Kadri, speaking about his grandfather, who passed away earlier this week. Up Next The Leafs visit the Senators on Saturday. cheap nfl jerseys cheap jerseys cheap jerseys cheap nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys ' ' '