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  • cKinnon, forcing the 18-year-old wonder to ha

    TORONTO - Helio Castroneves purses his lips and smiles. Will Power looks away to contemplate what it will take to win the title that has eluded both drivers their entire careers. The two IndyCar veterans are duelling for the elusive championship this year, with Castroneves ahead of his Team Penske teammate by just nine points atop the standings. Its a familiar scenario for Castroneves ahead of the Honda Indy Toronto on Saturday and Sunday. He entered the Toronto races first overall in 2013 only to eventually cede the title to Scott Dixon. But this could be Castroneves year. The 39-year-old Brazilian yearns for a championship. "More than anything, my friend," said Castroneves. "More than anything." Castroneves lost by just 27 points to Dixon last year after being undone by a disastrous doubleheader in Houston where Dixon finished first and second, respectively. He also settled for second behind Sam Hornish Jr. in 2002, his first full season in the Indy Racing League after four seasons in Champ Car. Both series merged in 2008. Power has come even closer. The 33-year-old Australian finished second overall every year between 2010 and 2012. Power could taste the title in 2012, but he crashed at Fontana. His team scrambled to get him back on track, but Ryan Hunter-Reay edged Power out in a dramatic season finale. He doesnt want another year of being IndyCars bridesmaid. "Its going to be a tight race to the end. But man, Im doing everything I can," said Power. "Im determined to win the thing. Really determined." The Penske cars, always a formidable presence in the series, have been consistently dominant this season as the team looks to end an eight-year title drought. Power began the season on a tear. He won the season opener at St. Petersburg and again at one of the Detroit races. He was on the podium five times and never finished out of the top-10 in the first eight races. But penalties have hampered Powers season. Hes been charged five times so far, some more costly than others. At the Grand Prix of Indianapolis he hit pit equipment and was dropped out of contention. Later at Pocono on July 6 he was charged with blocking Castroneves. "The only one that cost me was the one at Pocono," said Power. "Double points, man that was like actually a 40-point swing right there, which is (a) pretty bad hit." Powers last four results have also been poor 14th and 11th at Houston, 10th at Pocono and 14th in Iowa. He nearly won the second race at Houston but had to pit with a broken suspension just two laps from the finish. Power has two career wins at Toronto in 2007 and 2010. Castroneves, who took over the overall lead last Sunday at Iowa with an eighth-place finish, has just one win so far after splitting the Detroit doubleheader with Power. But Castroneves has been consistent. Hes been on pole twice, stepped onto the podium five times and has nine top-10 finishes in 12 races so far. Last year Castroneves, who has never won in Toronto, made a breakthrough with a second-place finish in the second race behind Dixon. "I feel this place owns me," said Castroneves. "We start on the pole, finish second, finish all over the place. ... This place always helps a lot in terms of strategy. Some people in the back sometimes take chances and they end up paying off, but it all depends. "We can only try to predict the unpredicted, which is hopefully start in the front, stay in the front if the race goes that way and then collect a lot of points." Points are becoming ever-more precious as the season winds down. Six races remain ahead of the Aug. 30 finale at Fontana, and at least 100 could be won by a driver who sweeps the 85-lap, 2.81-kilometre street course at Exhibition Place. Theres also plenty of time for another driver to steal the title from Castroneves and Power. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who has three wins including one at Iowa, trails Castroneves by just 32 points. Simon Pagenaud and Penskes Juan Pablo Montoya are also within 100 points of first place. Power and Castroneves both say theyre trying to balance a focus on racing with an awareness of the standings. "Youre just thinking every session," said Power. "Youre thinking about getting the car right and having good weekends. Not even that, every session youre thinking about, every lap. Doing it right, thats it." Castroneves added its hard to not get overwhelmed by the numbers. "Sounds not a lot when you say six races to go, but points involved its a lot and with that aspect, not that I dont look ahead, but youve got to push through to make sure that you finish ahead of those important (drivers). ...," said Castroneves. "Youve got to actually save for a rainy day in case that something bad happens, you have enough to cover for the last race." It might just take the last race for the championship to be decided. --- Follow @tyler_harper on Twitter Tim Heed Jersey . Heck, we might just miss the BCS. Maybe? It sort of worked out this season. Top-ranked Florida State (13-0) was the only team to get through the regular season unbeaten, and the Seminoles did it in dominating fashion. Logan Couture Jersey . Watch all the action unfold live on TSN and TSN Mobile TV at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt. You can also watch the game live with the debut of Wednesday Night Hockey on TSN.ca and chat throughout the game with TSN. http://www.officialsharksnhlshop.com...-burns-jersey/. An in-person hearing allows for Garbutt to be suspended for five games or longer as per the leagues Collective Bargaining Agreement. Garbutt delivered a high hit to Penner in the second period of Sundays game. Kevin Labanc Jersey . -- Claudio Bieler hadnt scored since early September, and not from the run of play since mid-July. Justin Braun Jersey . During the furious first few hours of free agency Tuesday, the team agreed to terms with strong safety Donte Whitner, a Cleveland native who cant wait to play in his hometown. ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild were denied at the net by Semyon Varlamov time after time, a 44-shot barrage in regulation that resulted in, alas, zero goals. Coach Mike Yeo jokingly wondered aloud at the third intermission whether his team was "psychotic" to put itself through such angst. After all, the way this sport often goes, the next score in the scoreless game had the strong potential to be one of those bad-bounce goals that make a night of domination go for naught. Mikael Granlund made sure that didnt happen. Granlunds diving goal 5:08 into overtime gave the Wild a 1-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 3 on Monday. Minnesota pulled within 2-1 in the best-of-seven series after Varlamov stopped 45 of 46 shots, a franchise playoff record for shots on goal by the Wild. "You see it so many times where teams do so well and get chance after chance after chance and then a fluky one goes in against you. Luckily. that wasnt the case," said Wild left wing Zach Parise. Granlund, who had a career-high seven shots on goal, sliced toward the crease and moved parallel to the net with some slick stick work. Avalanche defenceman Erik Johnson, who saved Game 1 by racing to swat away a shot on an empty net, lost his balance and tried unsuccessfully to dive at Granlund, who then began to fall forward. Granlund extended his stick to knock the puck in, and the celebration ensued. "We were playing really good. We were creating chances. We got rewarded. We need to just keep playing like that," Granlund said. Game 4 is at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday, when the Avalanche will be without defenceman Tyson Barrie. He took a knee-to-knee hit in the second period that yielded a penalty for Matt Cooke and a medial collateral ligament injury for Barrie. Coach Patrick Roy said hell be need four to six weeks to recover. "Knee on Tyson Barrie is without a doubt the play of the game. We lost our best offensive defenceman," Roy said, expressing confidence the NHL will suspend Cooke. Darcy Kuemper made 22 saves, and the Wild goalie in his first career playoff start was juust as good as Varlamov.dddddddddddd He said he had a feeling this would be a one-goal game. "I just tried to stick with it and make the saves I had to," Kuemper said. "My teammates were obviously playing unbelievable and making it easy on me. I was just trying to do my job and stay sharp." After the Avalanche line of Nathan MacKinnon, Paul Stastny and Gabe Landeskog combined for 17 points and seven goals over the first two games, the Wild kept them from doing any damage. The Wild shuffled their lines, with veteran Dany Heatleys move off the scratch list the most notable change, and played their style. They didnt get enough guys to the net for long rebounds Varlamov has a tendency to produce, but they completely controlled the flow, even if there wasnt much to show for it. "We were a little on our heels. We couldve been a little bit better, played a little more simple," MacKinnon said. After wasting a 4-2 lead in Game 1, giving up the tying goal with 13 seconds left to Stastny, as well as the overtime winner, the Wild badly needed to recapture some energy. They did from the opening faceoff, firing up a crowd thats been waiting 11 years for a playoff series victory. The Wild finally figured out how to contain the super-fast MacKinnon, forcing the 18-year-old wonder to have to stay in his own zone. They had the Avalanche on their heels for the majority of regulation. Cooke was all over the ice in his 100th career playoff game, colliding with just about every white Colorado jersey. "We didnt play up to what were capable of, theres no doubt. But Id rather give them credit. They played well. They were sharp. They were the better team on the ice," Roy said, adding yet more praise for Varlamov. Thanks to Granlund, the Wild avoided the huge hole. "Lets not kid ourselves. This is a huge win for us, not only to get the win but the way that we played the game, the way that we played our game," Yeo said. "We know that next game is going to be even bigger and a tougher test, and were going to have to be real good. But theres no question that we needed this one." ' ' '
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