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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Panthers will not be punished for their handling of Cam Newton’s injury during a playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints on Jan. 7.

The NFL and the Players Association announced Wednesday that Carolina’s medical staff correctly followed concussion protocol guidelines. The league released a statement Wednesday saying it reviewed game footage and medical reports, as well as statements and interviews with Newton and coach Ron Rivera, before making its determination that “there was no protocol violation.”
After walking off the field with a second-half eye injury, Newton stumbled to the ground near the sideline when asked by trainers to take a knee.

The league said they believe that stumble was caused by a previous knee injury.

The NFL said the league’s 2015 MVP had an MRI on Jan. 8 that “confirmed ligament and cartilage damage and very extensive swelling in the knee.”

Panthers interim general manager Marty Hurney told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Newton will not need surgery on the knee.

Newton sat out one play, but returned on the next offensive series and finished the game.

Hurney said on Jan. 8 that Newton intentionally took a knee because he was told to by the team’s training staff so Carolina could get an official timeout, thus allowing backup quarterback Derek Anderson a little more time to warm up on the sideline.

Anderson came in for one third-down play and threw an incompletion.

“He took a hit,” Hurney said of Newton. “But when he walked off and he told the trainers he got poked in the eye, then they did take him into the tent and checked him for a concussion, which he did not have. And it was really getting poked in the eye.”

Up for debate in the investigation was whether Newton should have been taken to the locker room for evaluations.

The league and the players union changed its concussion protocol in December after Texans quarterback Tom Savage returned to the field after having a concussion that left the quarterback’s hands shaking following a hit.

The changes to the protocol include the requirement of a locker room concussion evaluation for all players “demonstrating gross or sustained vertical instability (e.g., stumbling or falling to the ground when trying to stand.)”

Newton did not visit the locker room.

Newton said after the team’s loss to the Saints that “it wasn’t my head. It was my eye. My helmet had come down low enough over my eyelid and it got pressed by the player’s stomach.”

“Our review of all of the facts do not support a claim of inappropriate medical care,” the NFL Players Association said in a statement. “Mr. Newton was immediately evaluated for a concussion and cleared by the team physician and unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant.”

The Seattle Seahawks were fined $100,000 in Week 10 after the league and union determined they failed to apply the concussion protocol properly after quarterback Russell Wilson took a blow to the head against the Arizona Cardinals.

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When you’re in school, report cards are rigid documents that chronicle your success or failure.

(Unless, of course, you attempt to manually change a grade so you don’t get your video game console taken away by angry parents, which may or may not be applicable to your humble author.)

But in the NHL, report cards are a bit more malleable thanks to the benefit of hindsight. A “bad” signing in July can suddenly look better several months later. A “good” trade in June can be seen as abjectly terrible by the All-Star break.

As the 2017-18 season crosses the halfway mark, we’re getting a better sense of which offseason moves worked and which ones flopped hard, so we’ve decided to regrade NHL teams. The initial offseason grades are based on original reporting, media observations and perception at the time.

Here are the revised offseason transaction report cards. Let’s find out who the A-students are, and who is losing their Nintendo for a month.

Note: The teams are listed in alphabetical order, but to skip to a specific team click on the link below:

ANA | ARI | BOS | BUF | CGY | CAR | CHI | COL | CBJ | DAL | DET | EDM | FLA | LA | MIN | MON | NSH | NJ | NYI | NYR | OTT | PHI | PIT | SJ | STL | TB | TOR | VAN | VGS | WSH | WPG

 

Anaheim Ducks
Offseason grade: C
Midseason regrade: C+

The big move last summer was sending defensemen Shea Theodore and Clayton Stoner to the Golden Knights so they could hang onto players like Josh Manson and Sami Vatanen, the latter of whom they eventually flipped for Devils forward Adam Henrique. Manson is fifth on the team in scoring, and defenseman Brandon Montour has thrived with increased ice time. Goalie Ryan Miller has been excellent in his backup role, with a .935 save percentage in 11 appearances. Center Dennis Rasmussen was a whiff, and is now in the AHL.

The biggest flaw in their offseason was something out of their control: Inking Patrick Eaves to a three-year deal, only to see his career interrupted by a battle with Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Arizona Coyotes
Offseason grade: A-
Midseason regrade: C

Look, it’s entirely possible this all works out in the end, but it hasn’t worked quite yet. The Coyotes got aggressive last summer, acquiring center Derek Stepan and goalie Antti Raanta from the Rangers and defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson from the Blackhawks. Of the three, Stepan has been the best, Raanta has played decently when healthy and Hjalmarsson has been injured and ineffective. Trouble is, he was expected to be the most important addition. Oh, and Mike Smith, jettisoned in the Great Purge of Old Coyotes last summer, has been one of the league’s best goalies with the Flames. Whoops.
Boston Bruins
Offseason grade: B-
Midseason regrade: B+

The Bruins’ offseason was one in which the hopes for a blockbuster deal — there was Matt Duchene and Jacob Trouba speculation — might have been the only letdown, because the Bruins were handing the keys to younger players at several positions. It’s hard to cry in your beer about Colin Miller when Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy are ready on the right side. It’s hard to gripe about not adding a veteran center when that might have buried Danton Heinen. GM Don Sweeney knew what he had coming. Doing little ended up meaning a lot.
Buffalo Sabres
Offseason grade: B+
Midseason regrade: C

The Sabres are one of the season’s blazing tire fires, and GM Jason Botterill’s first offseason smells of gasoline. Let’s start with the positive: He won the trade, perhaps by default, with the Wild that brought defenseman Marco Scandella and forward Jason Pominville to the Sabres. Scandella, in particular, has been a bright spot for Buffalo, although Pominville had better offensive numbers with the Wild. Benoit Pouliot is having a rebound season on a show-me contract. Defensemen Nathan Beaulieu has been effective when healthy.

On the other hand, goaltender Chad Johnson has been a downgrade from Anders Nilsson, and the less said about oft-injured, oft-ineffective Jacob Josefson, the better. But, as is Sabres tradition, all is forgiven if this mismanagement gets them the No. 1 pick in the draft.
Calgary Flames
Offseason grade: C-
Midseason regrade: A-

Look, I’m guilty as charged: I thought the Flames adding Mike Smith was a bit like trying to cover the smell of a soiled bathroom with a candle made of blue cheese. Instead, he’s fifth in the NHL in even-strength save percentage, at .929, and is credited as the reason the Flames hung tough and are now challenging in the Pacific. So, mea culpa.

Also, their draft pick bounty sent to the Islanders for Travis Hamonic is looking better as he has gotten more comfortable in the system. Ryan Pike of Flames Nation has deemed him a “mild disappointment,” but getting better. They expunged a bunch — Brian Elliott, Deryk Engelland and Alex Chiasson — and made a couple of positive moves. Oh, and corrected the Eddie Lack mistake, quickly.
Carolina Hurricanes
Offseason grade: A-
Midseason regrade: C

The best-laid plans of NHL general managers often go awry. And so it was that Scott Darling was given a four-year, $16.6 million contract after being acquired from the Blackhawks, to become the Hurricanes’ starter and the solution to their goaltending woes. And so it was that he has a .905 even-strength save percentage through 28 games. He has been brutal, and one of the biggest busts of last offseason.

The good news is that forwards Justin Williams, Marcus Kruger and defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk are all positive possession players who have done well. Williams is averaging the same points-per-game rate he did with the Capitals last season.
Chicago Blackhawks
Offseason grade: B
Midseason regrade: C-

Egads. The Blackhawks had to deal with the sudden (but unsurprisingly cap-friendly!) loss of Marian Hossa, and made their usual financial overcompensation moves last offseason. Out went the dynamic Artemi Panarin (38 points this season to lead the Blue Jackets) and in came Brandon Saad (23 points, fifth for the Blackhawks). Their reunion with Patrick Sharp (six goals in 42 games) failed. Tommy Wingels and Lance Bouma have been getting devoured by opponents — to the tune of a minus-38 in Corsi differential. This grade stays in the C’s because Connor Murphy, Jan Rutta and Jordan Oesterle have been varying degrees of better than Brent Seabrook. But it’s barely there.
Colorado Avalanche
Offseason grade: C-
Midseason regrade: C+

Remember how the original Star Trek movies had that thing where every other one (i.e. the even-numbered ones) were good and the others were mediocre? Colin Wilson is a Star Trek movie, and unfortunately his post-trade numbers with the Avs look more like his mediocre 2015-16 season with Nashville than either his 45-point or 35-point seasons that book-ended it. Nail Yakupov has eight goals, which is getting something out of Nail Yakupov, which was unexpected.

But, goalie Jonathan Bernier was the pickup of the offseason, with a stellar .922 save percentage in his first 18 appearances. The best thing about GM Joe Sakic’s offseason turned out to be patience, as he waited for a windfall in the Matt Duchene sweepstakes — and got one.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Offseason grade: B
Midseason regrade: B+

Clearly, the Artemi Panarin trade is working out for the Jackets, as he leads the team in scoring. At this point, the only concern is getting him inked before free agency in 2019. But we can only move the Jackets up a half grade because of William “Wild Bill” Karlsson’s transformation into goal-scoring machine with the Golden Knights, and the decision to leave him dangling in the expansion draft. Hey, getting that David Clarkson money off the books was important, but maybe not that important.
Dallas Stars
Offseason grade: A
Midseason regrade: B+

The Stars jettisoned a good number of under-performers in the offseason — Antti Niemi, Patrick Sharp, Lindy Ruff — and then went on quite a spree. If we measure Dallas as having made four major acquisitions, they break down thusly: a huge win with winger Alexander Radulov, with 40 points in 45 games; an expected win with goalie Ben Bishop, whose numbers are improving (.922 even-strength save percentage) after some adjustment to a new team; but defenseman Marc Methot and center Martin Hanzal have been injury-riddled disappointments. So we’ll just drop the grade down a smidgen, with due respect to how sneaky good the Tyler Pitlick signing was.

(Lindy Ruff jokes aside, please note that we’re not including coaches in these, because obviously there was no greater offseason addition in Dallas than Ken Hitchcock.)
Detroit Red Wings
Offseason grade: C
Midseason regrade: C-

Seeing as how defensemen Trevor Daley and Luke Witkowski were the only acquisitions, and both have been in the C- range, that’s how they end up here. The contract standoff with Andreas Athanasiou clearly didn’t do anyone any favors, either.
Edmonton Oilers
Offseason grade: B-
Midseason regrade: D

It’s no secret that Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli has taken some heat for the state of the team. It’s also no secret that the Oilers’ offseason was one of the worst in the NHL. The Jordan Eberle deal — which Chiarelli has justified vaguely as an insurance policy for a potential Leon Draisaitl offer sheet — gave the Islanders a winger with 34 points in 44 games and gave Edmonton center Ryan Strome, who has exactly half that output (17 points). Chiarelli also signed Jussi Jokinen, who had one point in 14 games before being shipped to the Kings for Michael Cammalleri, who hasn’t done much more. Meanwhile, depth defenseman Jordan Oesterle (Blackhawks) has thrived after he wasn’t re-signed. Good times!
Florida Panthers
Offseason grade: D+
Midseason regrade: C-

The Panthers basically lost an All-Star team on paper last summer: Jaromir Jagr, Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, Jussi Jokinen and Thomas Vanek. Replacing them — again, on paper — was an underwhelming group that included Evgenii Dadonov and Radim Vrbata. While Vrbata has disappointed, Dadonov has been awesome: 26 points in 35 games, their fourth-leading scorer. So taking that and avoiding taking Jagr’s decline into account, that’s a little better than we’d previously thought. But not much, when you factor in that Vegas expansion draft misplay with both Marchessault and Smith.
Los Angeles Kings
Offseason grade: C
Midseason regrade: B-

The Kings’ big offseason move was swapping out the dour comportment of coach Darryl Sutter for John Stevens, but that doesn’t affect the grade. What does: The whiff that was the Michael Cammalleri signing, who then became the serviceable Jussi Jokinen. But little moves like the addition of center Alex Iafallo and defenseman Christian Folin have worked, while Darcy Kuemper (.931) has been a nice understudy for Jonathan Quick. But, again, the biggest move was the coaching change, which led Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown to their smiles again.
Minnesota Wild
Offseason grade: C+
Midseason regrade: C-

The Wild’s trade with the Sabres netted them Marcus Folgino and Tyler Ennis. After a fast start, Folgino’s points-per-game average is about where it was last season. And Ennis is doing what he does, which is be a shell of the player that scored 20 goals back in 2014-15. Matt Cullen has a Corsi for percentage of 37.9 percent. Meanwhile, the Wild took a hit in the expansion draft, as Vegas ended up with Erik Haula and Alex Tuch — both of whom the Wild miss.
Montreal Canadiens
Offseason grade: B-
Midseason regrade: C-

The Jonathan Drouin trade cost the Canadiens rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, but gave them a potentially elite offensive winger (20 points in 38 games). The quicker the Habs realize he’s a wing and not a center, the better. Losing Alexander Radulov hurts. Being unable to replace Andrei Markov hurts more, at least this season. Karl Alzner — he of the five-year, $23.125-million contract — is on the positive side of possession. Ales Hemsky was felled by an injury. Not great.
Nashville Predators
Offseason grade: B
Midseason regrade: C+

In the long run, this might work out. There’s a chance Nick Bonino finds his game in the postseason to make up for an underwhelming regular season. Scott Hartnell is settling into his depth role, and defenseman Alexei Emelin will be slotted properly now that the blue line is getting healthy. But they haven’t replaced James Neal’s points on the wing. Bottom line: The offseason moves matter a whole lot less than the regular-season trade for Kyle Turris.
New Jersey Devils
Offseason grade: B+
Midseason regrade: A

The Devils added No. 1 overall pick Nico Hischier, prize college free-agent defenseman Will Butcher and free agent forward Brian Gibbons in the offseason. They’re all in the team’s top five leading scorers. They added veteran center Brian Boyle, who is tied for third on the team, with 11 goals scored. Throw in the contributions of Marcus Johansson and Drew Stafford, and it’s easy to see how the Devils turned this thing around so quickly.
New York Islanders
Offseason grade: B+
Midseason regrade: A

As long as Garth Snow can keep making trades with the Oilers, the Islanders are golden. The Ryan Strome-for-Jordan Eberle trade was specious to being with; seeing how Eberle and Mathew Barzal have meshed, it’s a lopsided win for the Islanders. With a few injuries on defense, the Islanders probably miss Travis Hamonic a little, but that draft pick bounty (a first- and second-round pick in the 2018 draft, and a second-rounder in 2019 or 2020) was considerable.
New York Rangers
Offseason grade: B+
Midseason regrade: C+

The Rangers made one of the biggest splashes in free agency by inking hometown boy Kevin Shattenkirk to a four-year, $26.6-million. As his coach Alain Vigneault said, there’s been a learning curve, as his possession numbers at 5-on-5 plummeted and point production overall are off. But the real issue with the Rangers’ offseason was their decision to replace Derek Stepan from within, mainly because the young centers that’ll replace him aren’t ripe yet. After factoring in the possession thud of David Desharnais and the surprisingly strong goaltending from Ondrej Pavelec, and overall it drops a grade.
Ottawa Senators
Offseason grade: C
Midseason regrade: D+

What’s to say, really? The Senators thought they had a conference title contender based on last season, and they didn’t. So they added center Nate Thompson (he’s been fine), defenseman Johnny Oduya (likely flipped at the deadline) and bid adieu to Marc Methot, which has led to Erik Karlsson playing at least 50 minutes with no less than five partners this season. The most damning moment before opening night might have been that bizarre contract extension they gave goalie Craig Anderson, but we’ll deal with that next season.
Philadelphia Flyers
Offseason grade: B-
Midseason regrade: C

You know who’s quietly been quite OK this season? Goalie Brian Elliott, with a .925 even-strength save percentage and the eighth best low-danger save percentage (.987) for a middle-of-the-road defensive team. So good signing there. Not so good: The Jori Lehtera-for-Brayden Schenn move, which luckily netted the Flyers some picks — because he’s 41 points behind Schenn’s total at the moment. (Also, No. 2 pick Nolan Patrick has only two goals in 34 games.)
Pittsburgh Penguins
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Offseason grade: C-
Midseason regrade: C+

Why their offseason grade was so low: Trading a first-round pick and a roster player for Ryan Reaves. Letting Nick Bonino, Chris Kunitz and Matt Cullen all walk without suitable replacements. Bidding a bittersweet farewell to Marc-Andre Fleury, only to replace him with what was left of Antti Niemi after his Dallas stint. (He lasted three games in Pittsburgh).

Why their re-grade is higher: Frankly, because the reinforcements are starting to arrive, and impress. If Dominic Simon and Daniel Sprong can be Conor Sheary and Jake Guentzel 2.0 on Sidney Crosby’s line, that dramatically helps reshape a lineup that’s never replaced those veteran departures (the Riley Sheahan trade aside).

So, let’s assume this was the plan all along, with more to come.
San Jose Sharks
Offseason grade: C
Midseason regrade: C

This is basically an “incomplete” because the Sharks didn’t really do much of anything in the offseason, other than welcome the soft bushy beard of Joe Thornton back for another season and opt not to give Patrick Marleau a three-year contract. So … congrats?
St. Louis Blues
Offseason grade: B
Midseason regrade: A-

The Blues had already done well for themselves in the offseason, from flipping Jori Lehtera for Brayden Schenn to somehow getting a roster player (Oskar Sundqvist) and a first-rounder (used on Klim Kostin) from Pittsburgh for enforcer Ryan Reaves. Except now we’ve seen Schenn become an All-Star, with 44 points in 46 games and we’ve seen Kostin tally eight points in five games at the World Juniors, so … well done, Doug Armstrong! (Admittedly, though, Chris Thorburn hasn’t worked out as well as he’d hoped.)
Tampa Bay Lightning
Offseason grade: B-
Midseason regrade: A-

The Lightning are winning everything else, so why wouldn’t they also win in retroactive offseason transaction grading? Jonathan Drouin’s performance with Montreal aside, the play of Mikhail Sergachev for the Lightning has been exemplary (26 points in 44 games) even if his ice time has been limited in comparison to, say, Charlie McAvoy. The much-maligned Dan Girardi, signed after his Rangers buyout, has been OK — a plus-17, and a minus-2.55 relative Corsi that probably has more to do with partner Braydon Coburn being possession quicksand. Chris Kunitz … well, that’s a playoff signing.

Heck, they even baited Vegas into taking Jason Garrison in the expansion draft, and he’s one of only two players (along with Vadim Shipachyov, who returned to Russia) that didn’t work out for the Knights. As usual, all hail Stevie Y.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Offseason grade: B
Midseason regrade: A-

The Patrick Marleau signing was always expected to yield strong returns in the short term, and his numbers are right in line with last season’s. As the Leafs will tell you, the veteran intangibles matter just as much. The real surprise is defenseman Ron Hainsey, coming off his Stanley Cup win with the Penguins. He’s third on the team in average ice time (22:14) and has helped Morgan Rielly to arguably his best season in the NHL. Maybe they lose a little credit in switching out Brian Boyle for Dominic Moore, but overall the Leafs played it smart last offseason.
Vancouver Canucks
Offseason grade: B-
Midseason regrade: D+

There’s one undeniable highlight from the offseason for GM Jim Benning: Free agent Thomas Vanek’s 32 points in 45 games, playing himself into viable trade bait territory again. But many of his other moves have been … not good.

Forward Sam Gagner’s first season in a three-year deal has begun with an offensive regression. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto has been a possession black hole. And Alexander Burmistrov might go down as the offseason’s biggest bust: Who else can say one of their acquisitions retired from the NHL after being scratched for a seventh defenseman? (Oh, and keep in mind we’re not counting the Derrick Pouliot move since it happened in October. But that was a nice one for Benning.)
Vegas Golden Knights
Offseason grade: Inc.
Midseason regrade: A

What else needs to be said about the job GM George McPhee did in assembling one of the best first-year teams in sports history?

From leveraging players like Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson to smart expansion draft selections like Nate Schmidt to understanding the chemistry of the locker room he was building, to look back at the summer is to look back at the foundation of something truly special in the NHL this season.
Washington Capitals
Offseason grade: C
Midseason regrade: B
The Capitals saw a slew of talent walk out the door, from free-agent defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk and Karl Alzner and forward Justin Williams, to expansion draft fodder Nate Schmidt, to cap casualty Marcus Johansson. Their only significant addition: forward Devante Smith-Pelly. But you know what? Turning the roster over to younger players worked, and Smith-Pelly has been a nice little addition. Given their success, the offseason is starting to look more like a suitable belt-tightening than a step backward.
Winnipeg Jets
Offseason grade: C-
Midseason regrade: C+

See, this is why hockey is so delightfully unpredictable. We saw the Jets swap out Ondrej Pavelec for former Flyers goalie Steve Mason and thought, “Hey, that’s an improvement!” And then we saw them add defenseman Dmitry Kulikov on an inexplicable three-year contract and thought, “Ugh, no, bad Winnipeg, bad!”

Well, turns out Mason was a sieve, although his struggles paved the way for Connor Hellebuyck to step into the job he was groomed for and challenge for the Vezina Trophy; and Kulikov has been surprisingly better, with positive possession numbers and a decent partnership with Tyler Myers. Add in whatever impact Matt Hendricks has made, subtract Mark Stuart and Chris Thorburn, and they did better in hindsight.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Struggling to score goals and with several important offensive players sidelined, the Columbus Blue Jackets pulled out a gritty win — just the way coach John Tortorella wants his team to play.

Josh Anderson scored the deciding goal in the eighth round of the shootout, lifting the Blue Jackets to a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Sunday night.
“That scratching, clawing, spitting, biting doing everything you can to win the game, we did it,” Tortorella said.

Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky stopped Jared McCann’s attempt to secure the win for the Blue Jackets, who also got goals from Artemi Panarin and Jack Johnson in the tiebreaker. Aleksander Barkov, who tied the score with 1:34 left in the third period, and Mike Matheson scored in the shootout for Florida.

“It was a good point,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said after his team lost its third straight. “It was a hard fought point against a real good hockey club. Both teams had good goaltending. We’ve just got to take this and move on.”

Nick Foligno and rookie Pierre-Luc Dubois scored power-play goals for Columbus — just the second time this season the NHL’s worst man-advantage unit has come through twice, and both against Florida. Bobrovsky, who took an errant stick under his chin in the final period, had 42 saves through overtime to help the Blue Jackets win for just the fourth time in 11 games (4-6-1).

“We threw a lot of pucks at them and we were able to get a couple big power play goals,” Columbus forward Boone Jenner said.

Jonathan Huberdeau also scored for the Panthers and James Reimer stopped 46 shots. Florida’s streak has followed a five-game winning streak to close December.

Reimer was clutch in the third period, keeping his team within one goal while making several tough saves in the opening few minutes and later turning aside a breakaway by Dubois.

“He gave us a chance and he definitely was a big part of us getting a point,” Boughner said of Reimer, who made his 14th straight start. “You always wish you had two. We had some great chances in overtime and it would have been nice to win it for him.”

With the Panthers trailing late in regulation and the teams skating 4-on-4, the puck deflected off the skate of Foligno to Barkov, who slammed it past Bobrovksy for his 13th to even the score.

“The third period I thought we played really well and we just couldn’t score a third goal,” Tortorella said. “And you knew it was going to happen (that Florida would tie the game).”

Foligno opened the scoring at 9:47 of the first period, wristing a rebound from the slot over Reimer’s glove for his first in 11 games.

Huberdeau made it 1-1 just 31 seconds into the second period on the power play with his 15th, a redirection near the crease on pass from Barkov. Huberdeau has scored six times in his last seven games.

Later in the period, Jones zipped a pass from the right side that Dubois tapped in for his ninth on a bang-bang play.

“Our power play hasn’t been working this year but I think in our past couple games we’re getting closer and closer,” Dubois said.

NOTES: Columbus is still without injured forwards Brandon Dubinsky, Cam Atkinson and Alexander Wennberg. … Florida RW Radim Vrbata missed his fifth consecutive game because of an illness. …The Blue Jackets are 17-4-3 when scoring first. … The Panthers, completing the first half of their 82-game schedule, had gone seven contests without a power-play goal.

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DALLAS — Stephen Curry hit a long 3-pointer with three seconds to play, sending the Golden State Warriors to a 125-122 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.

Curry finished with 32 points as Golden State’s “Big Four” combined for 100 points — and the Warriors needed every one of them against a Mavericks team that had won four straight.
Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson had 25 points each, and Draymond Green added 18 to go with 10 rebounds.

Wesley Matthews led the Mavericks with 22 points, including seven 3-pointers, and Dwight Powell tied his career high with 21.

Dallas, playing from behind most of the game, wouldn’t go away and erased a 12-point deficit with 4:32 to play, tying the score at 120 on Harrison Barnes’ jumper with 39.9 seconds left.

Thompson and Barnes traded inside baskets before the Warriors got the ball back with 12 seconds to go. Curry took the inbounds pass and never gave it up, crossing over his dribble to shake a defender and hitting nothing but net.

A long heave by Dennis Smith Jr. at the buzzer was way off.

The Mavericks, who despite their 13-26 record have won or played close against most of the NBA’s best teams, had lost their previous two meetings with the Warriors by a combined 45 points.

This time, Dallas fought back from deficits of 12 in the first half and nine in the third quarter, taking a lead at 84-83 on Devin Harris’ 3-pointer with 3:40 to play in the period.

Patrick McCaw’s layup just before the buzzer gave Golden State a 91-89 edge entering the fourth, and Green opened the final quarter with a three-point play as the Warriors rebuilt their lead to double digits before the final Mavs rally.

Golden State extended its road winning streak to eight games. The Warriors haven’t lost away from Oracle Arena since before Thanksgiving.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Played without Andre Iguodala (back and hip strain) and Omri Casspi (back strain). Casspi’s injury occurred during shootaround on Wednesday morning. Golden State coach Steve Kerr said Iguodala would likely play Thursday at Houston. … Thompson’s second-quarter 3 marked the 92nd straight game in which he’s made at least one, the third-longest streak in NBA history. … Golden State has won nine in a row and 16 of 17 in the series.

Mavericks: Reserve centre Nerlens Noel had his cast removed Tuesday following left thumb surgery on Dec. 8. Noel hasn’t played since Nov. 22 and has scored just 72 points in 18 games for the team.