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Flames burn Habs

MONTREAL—It had been 14 months since Niklas Backstrom started a game in goal.

But if there was any rust, it didn’t show on the recently-acquired Calgary Flame.

The 38-year-old Backstrom stopped 21-of-22 shots as the Flames downed the injury-riddled Montreal Canadiens 4-1 last night.

It was his first appearance in goal since Jan. 13, 2015 with the Minnesota Wild.

Jays fall to Astros

KISSIMMEE, Fla.—Carlos Correa and Preston Tucker homered, and George Springer scored three times, in the Houston Astros’ 7-5 split-squad win over a Toronto Blue Jays’ split squad yesterday.

Correa’s homer gave the Astros a 5-0 lead in the second inning against Toronto starter Brad Penny after a lead-off triple by Springer.

Bettman hopes Canadians still tune in for playoffs

BOCA RATON, Fla.—With the rare prospect of an all-American NHL post-season looming large, Gary Bettman hopes Canadians still tune in to watch the battle for the Stanley Cup.

The NHL commissioner acknowledged in an interview that there is a sense of uncertainty regarding TV ratings in Canada, with no Canadian teams likely to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 1970.

Ump calls it a career

SARASOTA, Fla.—The first time Tim Welke stepped onto a ballfield as a professional umpire, he was a teenager hoping he wouldn’t get yelled at too much.

As the years turned to decades, sure, he got an earful. All umps do.

But by the time he walked off at PNC Park last October on wobbly knees that would need surgery, he’d gotten quite an eyeful, too.

Dallas Seavey has knack for winning Iditarod with few dogs

NOME, Alaska — Dallas Seavey did more with less this year at the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

He set a record pace early Tuesday morning when he won his third straight Iditarod and fourth race in the last five years. And he did it with just six dogs, after starting the race nearly 1,000 miles across Alaska with 16.

No other musher this year has fewer dogs.