Sabres beat Penguins, clinch East’s No. 1 seed

The Buffalo Sabres clinched the Northeast Division and wrapped up a No. 1 conference seeding for the first time in 27 years behind Thomas Vanek’s 40th goal of the season in a 4-1 victory over the host Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.

In a possible preview of an Eastern Conference playoff matchup, Vanek and Jason Pominville scored goals slightly more than a minute apart in the third period to put the Sabres up by three goals in only their fourth victory in Pittsburgh in 10 seasons.

The Sabres are guaranteed to open the playoffs next week as the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference.

Also: A rare third-period collapse sealed the defending Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes’ fate: There will be no title defense.

Vincent Lecavalier and Dan Boyle scored just under two minutes apart early in the third to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning past Carolina 3-2 in Tampa, Fla.

The Hurricanes became the first defending Stanley Cup winner to miss the playoffs the next season since New Jersey in 1996.

“We’re completely frustrated as a team. Embarrassed,” Carolina’s Eric Staal said.

Martin Brodeur tied Bernie Parent’s single-season record for wins in the New Jersey Devils’ 2-1 shootout victory over the Ottawa Senators.

Brodeur got his 47th win and tied Parent’s record set in 1973-74 by making 22 saves in regulation and then stopping four of six attempts in a shootout.


Knicks coach Thomas fined for ref comments

New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas was fined $50,000 by the NBA for questioning the treatment Stephon Marbury is getting from referees.

Thomas criticized the officials after the Knicks’ 103-94 loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday night.

“I see a lot of other players drive to the basket and get fouled and go to the foul line, and I don’t understand what he’s done to receive the type of treatment he’s getting and the lack of respect he is getting from the officials,” Thomas said at the time.

“Moving forward, I would hope that he would be treated just like other star players are treated when they get fouled. There is only so much a player can really take before his game is seriously affected.”

Also: Atlanta Hawks guard Josh Childress will miss the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his right foot.

The team said Childress, who is averaging 13 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals this season, is expected to recover in four to six weeks.

A man accused of shooting Aliquippa High School star Herb Pope after a party surrendered to Pittsburgh police.

Marcus Longmire, 19, of Pittsburgh, surrendered on charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault and a firearms violation in the shooting early Saturday.

The 6-foot-9-inch Pope remained hospitalized, recovering from gunshot wounds to the abdomen, thigh and lower left arm.


Roddick feeling better, plans to play Davis Cup

Andy Roddick practiced despite a strained left hamstring and plans to play for the United States in the Davis Cup quarterfinal against Spain this week.

“Right now I’m going to play, barring some setback,” Roddick said in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Roddick was injured while lunging for a shot in the fifth game of a quarterfinal match against Andy Murray last week in the Sony Ericsson Open and was forced to retire.

An MRI exam showed no tear, and after several days of intense ice, laser and other treatments, Roddick said he’s nearing 100 percent ahead of the first matches Friday on the hard court.

Also: The sixth-ranked UNLV men’s golf team shot a final-round 6-over-par 294 to place seventh in the National Invitational Tournament in Tucson, Ariz.

The Rebels finished the 54-hole tournament at 4-over 868, 28 strokes behind team champion Arizona State.

Seung-su Han paced UNLV individually with a final-round 3-under 69 to tie for fifth at 5-under 211.

Gladiators wide receiver Kevin Prentiss is out six to 12 weeks with a broken ankle.

He has 31 receptions for a team-leading 469 yards and 12 touchdowns. Prentiss set an Arena Football League record with nine touchdown catches on March 8 at Grand Rapids.

Former Grambling State University coach Eddie Robinson, the winningest coach in college football history, was hospitalized in Grambling, La.

“He had a setback,” according to a statement from the family, which added he was in stable condition at Lincoln General Hospital.

Robinson, 88, who coached football at Grambling for 56 years, has had Alzheimer’s disease for years.

A DNA sample taken from former Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich has been matched to blood bags seized in the Spanish doping scandal, German prosecutors said.

“We found nine blood samples that we were able to compare with the blood samples,” spokesman Friedrich Apostel said in an interview. “We were able to establish the identity of Ullrich.”

Ullrich retired from cycling on Feb. 26, 10 months after his name surfaced in Operation Puerto, which led to the 1997 Tour winner being excluded from last year’s race. He has denied using any banned substances.

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