Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery heaped praise on Patrice Bergeron but says he will undergo X-rays after copping a puck to the face in Wednesday's 4-1 win over the New York Islanders.

Bergeron headed down the tunnel early in the third period after a deflected slap shot from David Pastrnak missed his visor and hit him in the face.

The Bruins captain was in apparent pain, having medical attention, but would emerge back on the bench later in the period, helping his side round out a third straight win.

Despite returning to the ice, Montgomery revealed Bergeron had not been cleared by medical staff yet.

"How much respect I have for him coming back after, I know the puck got deflected, but it hits him up high and in the face," Montgomery told NESN.

"The admiration I have and everybody has for him coming back to try to help the team win after that is immense.

"We're hoping that all the X-rays come back good."

The Islanders had taken a first-period lead from Zach Parise but Bruins defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Derek Forbort responded with goals 4:12 apart in the second period to claim the advantage.

Brad Marchand and Trent Frederic added third-period goals for Boston with Charlie Coyle having two assists, while goal-tender Linus Ullmark made 25 saves in his 100th career win.

"I couldn't be more happy, it's been overwhelming," Ullmark said. "I have a lot of gratitude playing with the boys who work so hard every night."

The Bruins are the NHL's only 30-win team, improving their record to 35-5-4.

Real Betis head coach Manuel Pellegrini lamented another penalty shoot-out defeat as their Copa del Rey defence ended at the hands of Osasuna in the round of 16 on Wednesday.

Betis and Osasuna finished 1-1 after normal time with David Garcia netting a 90th-minute goal for the visitors to level after William Carvalho's 62nd-minute opener.

The hosts went up again in extra-time from Youssouf Sabaly but it ended 2-2 with Ruben Garcia equalising, before the visitors won 4-2 on penalties, with Sergio Canales and Guido Rodriguez spurning their spotkicks.

That defeat comes a week after Betis' 4-2 shoot-out loss to Barcelona after a 2-2 draw in the Supercopa semi-final in Riyadh. It also ends Los Verdiblancos' Copa del Rey defence.

"It has been a very tough week due to the cup elimination against Barcelona on penalties, where we were also superior in the 90 minutes, as has happened to us against Osasuna," Pellegrini told reporters.

"At the last minute, for not clearing a ball they tied us, after being superior for 90 minutes. We have to continue competing although it has been a very hard week and we must compose ourselves."

Osasuna converted all four of their penalties, like Barcelona did a week ago, although Pellegrini had no issue with goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

"Things happen in football," he said. "You don't have to reproach him for anything from penalty shootouts.

"The one who shoots has more options to put it in than the goalkeeper to clear it. It's not the goalkeeper's problem."

Pellegrini conceded the defeat hurt, with Betis now to focus on LaLiga, where they are sixth, along with the Europa League, where they are in the round of 16.

"It's a mental and physical blow," the Chilean said. "We've lost two competitions on penalties.

"We have to keep looking forward. We have to keep fighting for the league and we also have the Europa League."

Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte is questioning his long-term future after a traumatic period following the deaths of three close friends, Gian Piero Ventrone, Sinisa Mihajlovic and Gianluca Vialli.

The 53-year-old Italian hinted that his stint as Spurs boss, where he has a year-long extension on his deal that expires at the end of this season, could be drawing to a close.

Conte worked closely with Ventrone as Spurs fitness coach, before his passing in October. Mihajlovic and Vialli are former club and country teammates who passed away in December and January respectively too.

"This season is a difficult season under personal aspect because to lose three people I knew very well, first Giampiero, then Sinisa and now Gianluca, it was not simple," Conte told reporters.

"When this kind of situation happens, they bring you to have important reflection. Because many times we think and we give a lot of importance to our work and we forget the family.

"We forget that we can all have we need, to have more time for us. The season is a difficult season for me on the personal aspect, and this season is making me to have important reflection about my future."

Conte, who took over at Tottenham in November 2021, resides away from his family in Italy but flies back when possible. His daughter Vittoria is studying for exams, with wife Elisabetta remaining in Rome with her to assist her education.

"You understand that when you work and the work is at the top of your mind in your head, and maybe many times we forget to stay with family, we forget to spend time with friends," he said.

"But this is our passion. And for the passion, we lose a lot of thoughts and when this kind of situation happens, I think that you start to think that maybe sometimes it's also good to give more time to your family and your friends and also to yourself. That work is not everything in life."

The Italian added that living away from family during such a traumatic period had taken its toll on him.

"Having my family in Italy is not good," he said. "But when you have a son or daughter or kids [going to] school, you have to respect them because if every year or every two seasons you have to move your kids and totally change the environment, I don't want to affect the life of my family.

"Sometimes it's important to make decision or to sacrifice [your job] and to stay [with them], but I have a family that try to support me and be here in every moment they can. This kind of situation becomes more difficult when things like this happen like with Gianluca, Giampiero and Sinisa."

Tottenham, whom Conte guided to fourth spot last season, are fifth in the Premier League with 33 points from 19 games, while they have qualified for the Champions League last-16 where they will face Milan.

Spurs face champions Manchester City in the league on Thursday amid a run of eight games before the end of February.

Pep Guardiola has taken responsibility for Erling Haaland's recent scoring blip, but is relishing the challenge of getting both the striker and his Manchester City side firing again.

Haaland is on his longest run without finding the net since joining City from Borussia Dortmund ahead of the 2022-23 season, having failed to score in three straight games.

He netted 27 goals in his first 21 matches, breaking a number of records along the way, but failed to get a shot on target against Chelsea, Southampton or Manchester United.

Rather than focus on what Haaland is doing wrong all of a sudden, however, Guardiola says it is on him to ensure the prolific striker is being supplied by his team-mates.

"We have our game, we have our principles but the way we played in last two games didn't help Erling to score," Guardiola said.

"In the build-up you can be wider, but in the final third you have to have players in the middle. If Erling is not there, we are not going to score goals.

"In the past we have always had incredible movements in the final third, in the small spaces. Now, in the last two games, we haven't had it. 

"I would say it was my fault. I didn't make them understand the way we have to attack. We need runners, not just Erling. 

"If we had just Erling he would be controlled by two or three central defenders. We need more players in those positions, definitely. We have done it. We have to do it more often."

Only once has Haaland gone more than three league games without scoring across three years with Dortmund and City – a run of five between March and April last season.

The 22-year-old's slight dip in form has coincided with a tough run for City, who have lost back-to-back matches ahead of facing Tottenham in the Premier League on Thursday.

City, who are aiming to avoid a third straight home league game without a win for the first time since December 2016, trail Arsenal by eight points and cannot afford another slip-up.

"I prefer to be eight points in front but I like to handle this situation, I love it," Guardiola added. "I have to find something to make the team better. I'm the man responsible. 

"When the players don't play good, if they don't have the desire to do it, it is because something is wrong in my decisions. We have to find it.

"People don't think about the memories, how good we were. When I die, people will talk about how good Pep was. That's for sure.

"But since we are here, people expect us to perform well, win the games and try to find the way. Otherwise – Pep out.

"This is how our jobs work – and I want Pep in! I want to stay here, this is what I want, and for that we have to win games and be there in all the competitions."

Despite exiting the EFL Cup to Southampton last week before letting a lead slip in their league loss at United, Guardiola insists his players are not struggling for motivation.

"The situation is that, by our standards, people believe and believe and oh... what's happened? Why are City not on the top of league? But it can happen," Guardiola said.

"The mentality – it's not about that. You see the game against United or Chelsea, we play really well. The quality of the dressing room is exceptional. I don't have doubts."

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott revealed Damar Hamlin has returned to visiting the team's facility "almost daily", offering a major boost ahead of their AFC Divisional round game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Hamlin was discharged from hospital last week after being in a critical condition having suffered a cardiac arrest in the January 2 game against the Bengals in Cincinnati.

The Bills safety continues to progress on his road to recovery, which McDermott outlined ahead of their rematch against the Bengals for the first time since the incident.

"Damar is in the building now, almost starting daily," McDermott told reporters. "So that's good news. As he continues to improve, that certainly helps.

"That experience, we'll carry that with us. There's a challenge to that, but there's also a lot of good that comes with that. Right now, we need to focus on the positives that came out of that as opposed to the other piece of that."

McDermott said Hamlin's participation was still "limited", not partaking in team meetings or anything physical.

"He comes in and really just started today or yesterday and just trying to get back to a little bit of a routine and just get himself acclimated again and taking it one step, one baby step at a time here," he said.

"Kind of get himself dipping his toe back in here and you know, getting on the road to just getting back to himself."

It remains unclear if Hamlin will attend Sunday's game at Bills Stadium, having watched Sunday's 34-31 victory over the Miami Dolphins remotely.

Bills quarterback Josh Allen added that the players were boosted by Hamlin's return and the emotional trauma of the incident was easing to an extent.

"I think there's honestly not too much left over," he said. "Obviously with guys being able to see Damar, guys being able to see him and talk with him, that alleviates most of that.

"I'm not saying there's going to be none, I can't speak for everyone on the team, but we're extremely focused right now, having a good week of preparation. We'll try to go out there on Sunday and execute."

The Bengals enter the Divisional round game on a nine-game winning streak, seeking back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances. Since Week 9, Cincinnati have the third best points per game and second best points per game differential in the NFL.

Despite that, the Bills are regarded as favourites for the game, given their emotional lift, home ground advantage and having finished as the AFC second seed, but Bengals head coach Zac Taylor does not view his side as underdogs.

"We know that we're the defending AFC champions," Taylor told reporters. "There's an edge to this team, we're not an underdog. That's been the feeling the whole season. We know we belong in the field with every team."

Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley was never concerned about losing his job even after his team's historic collapse in a playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday.

Asked during Wednesday's season-ending news conference if he ever felt his job was in danger, Staley responded bluntly: "No."

While the Chargers are keeping Staley on the job, they did fire offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator Shane Day on Tuesday.

"I have a lot of confidence in how we do things here and what we've been able to accomplish and that's the truth," Staley said.

"Everybody that's been around me on a day-to-day basis knows that. I am aware of the speculation … but I was not worried about that because I know what goes on here on a day-to-day basis. I know what we have in our locker room. I know what's out on that field and I'm excited to keep going."

Staley guided the Chargers to a 10-7 record this season and their first playoff berth since 2018. He is 19-15 in two seasons as head coach.

Former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton is rumoured to be ready to get back into coaching and the Chargers would've been considered a prime landing spot with quarterback Justin Herbert emerging as a top player at the position.

Payton has already met with the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans and will soon meet with the Carolina Panthers, according to reports.

Despite Staley's success, he received criticism after he decided to play starters in the regular-season finale despite having already clinched the No. 5 seed right before kick-off. Star receiver Mike Williams suffered a back injury in that game that forced him to miss the playoff loss to Jacksonville.

That decision was only made worse when the Chargers blew a 27-0 lead to the Jaguars in a 31-30 loss that kept Los Angeles without a playoff victory since 2018.

Staley was asked if Jaguars coach Doug Pederson outcoached him.

"I wouldn't say that was the case for a half," he said. "That team that we were playing showed a lot of fight, a lot of resilience. I thought it was a high-quality game against two teams that are both young and hungry. I thought it was just a high-level game all around."

Milan can have no excuses for their heavy Supercoppa Italiana loss to Inter and must now "grow up and take responsibility", according to defender Simon Kjaer.

Stefano Pioli's side were on the end of a 3-0 loss at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh on Wednesday as fierce rivals Inter retained the cup.

It is the first time since Juventus' 4-0 win over Lazio in 2013 that the contest between the reigning Scudetto and Coppa Italia holders has been won by a three-or-more goal margin.

The Rossoneri were also eliminated from the Coppa Italia at the last-16 stage by Torino last week and are nine points behind leaders Napoli in Serie A after drawing their past two games.

After ending the club's 11-year wait for Scudetto glory last year with a team that had the youngest average age of any title winner across Europe's top five leagues, Kjaer accepts there is no explanation for their current form.

"We got off to a bad start, then it became difficult," Kjaer, who was recalled to the starting line-up, told Milan TV. "They are good at what they do, but tonight we didn't put in the performance to deserve the win.

"We have to apologise to the fans. We have to analyse this match and then start again. There is no time to put our heads down but this match hurts. 

"The talk of young players lacking experience is over. We have to grow up and take responsibility. We have not played with our identity and we have to learn and look carefully at our mistakes. 

"It was a tough evening, especially mentally, but in these moments we have to find our identity and we have to improve in many aspects of the game."

 

Inter became the first side since Roma in 2006 to score twice in the opening 25 minutes of a Supercoppa Italiana clash, with goals from Federico Dimarco and Edin Dzeko putting them in control.

Milan's defence was far too easily beaten for both goals, as was the case when Lautaro Martinez added a third in the second half after getting the better of Fikayo Tomori.

Now on their longest winless run since February 2021, Pioli admits something has to change in terms of the team dynamic.

"We've missed out on one trophy but there is still lots of the season to turn it into a positive one," he said at his post-match press conference.

"But if we want different results, a little bit needs changing from a mental point of view and the way we approach matches. We play Lazio next and can go back to playing our football.

"The aim is to get back to being a team with confidence. We need to think about raising the quality of our game."

Eddie Jones will make an immediate impact on his return to Australia, for which "there was always writing on the wall", according to former England captain Chris Robshaw.

Jones was dismissed by England in December but replaced Dave Rennie as the Wallabies' coach on Sunday, taking up a role he previously held between 2001 and 2005.

Defeats in November to France, Ireland and particularly Italy proved the final straw for New Zealander Rennie, paving the way for Jones to return in time for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The Australian was in charge when the Wallabies lost to England in the 2003 World Cup final, and Robshaw always expected Jones to return in a bid to complete unfinished business.

Speaking on behalf of Sage, powering the Smart Ball at the Six Nations, Robshaw told Stats Perform: "He was a proud Australian man and I think there was always writing on the wall that one day he will be back in Australia coaching.

"They're in a bit of a tough place in terms of their confidence. They had a tough tour in England, and it's no doubt he'll be able to go and shake things up and have an immediate impact.

"It is his man-management, which is brilliant, and his ability to get the best out of people because they have a good team and they have some good players.

"But how do you turn it around quickly and generally? That's all kind of up in the air."

Jones will aim for glory at the World Cup in September, having led both Australia and England – in 2019 – to the final as well as defeating South Africa with underdogs Japan in 2015.

Former British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton believes Jones wants to be on the biggest stage to shine, as does Warren Gatland, who made a similar return to retake the role as Wales coach.

Warburton said: "I like him, and at least in the same way as Warren [Gatland], they're international coaches. They need that international kick.

"I can't imagine Eddie being a club coach anymore, same with Warren. I think Warren wanted to just be back in the international helm and Eddie wants to be back in the international helm.

"In front of 80,000 people, he will turn to a press conference of people talking about pressure, he'll be laughing inside, he wouldn't be doing the job this long at such a high level if he didn't truly love it.

"I really respect him. He's gone straight back into the deep end with international rugby with Australia, and he's got a World Cup; that's what he needs to thrive, so it is not really surprising.

"If you said in the Autumn Series, Warren Gatland and Eddie Jones are going to clash somewhere in the World Cup, then you'd be thinking how was that going to be. 

"I don't think anyone would have thought it would have been Wales and Australia. Compared to where we were three months ago, it is a great story, and it's going to develop a great subplot going into the group stage of the World Cup."

Erik ten Hag was left frustrated by Manchester United's perceived lack of effort to score a second goal as they were held to a dramatic draw by Crystal Palace.

Bruno Fernandes had put United in control at half-time thanks to a well-worked opener just before the break.

For a while that looked set to be enough despite United – who seemed to commit fewer bodies forward in the second half – coming under pressure from Palace towards the end.

Eventually, a stunning Michael Olise free-kick found the top-right corner via the crossbar in the first minute of stoppage time, securing Palace a point and ending United's nine-match winning streak.

Ten Hag was disappointed by United's failed quest to get a second goal, which would have rendered Palace's late strike irrelevant.

"We dropped two points," he told BBC Sport. "When you're winning with two minutes to go... [Palace] don't create anything except one which was a corner and this one was a free-kick from far [out].

"You don't expect to drop points. We have to invest more to get that second goal and then not be in that situation that a lucky moment costs you two points.

"We were 1-0 up. In the second half we had a lot of space to kill them and go for the second. I never saw we really went for the second goal.

"It's difficult to say [why]. I have to criticise my team. Go for the second."

The late equaliser suddenly changed the complexion of Sunday's trip to Arsenal, which for a while on Wednesday looked to be shaping up as arguably the biggest game of the Premier League season so far.

Now, defeat at the Emirates Stadium will surely end any remaining dreams United have of winning the title this term as it would leave them 11 points adrift.

United will have to face the game without probably their most important player in Casemiro, who earned a late yellow card for a wild lunge on Wilfried Zaha after Fernandes pulled out of a challenge. But Ten Hag is refusing to panic.

"He's a really important player for us and a reason we're in this position," he said. "But last time we beat Arsenal without Casemiro. We need to do it again."

Goalkeeper David de Gea was even more frank about the loss of Casemiro and took the opportunity to vent about the fixture schedule, with Arsenal not in midweek action ahead of the Sunday showdown.

"It's a big blow to lose Casemiro for Sunday," told Sky Sports.

"I don't get it why Arsenal don't play as we have to play in the same week and they don't. Now we are missing one of our best players.

"I don't understand. Now we miss him for a big game and it is a big loss for us."

Michael Olise's spectacular stoppage-time free-kick ended Manchester United's nine-match winning run as Crystal Palace held them to a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park.

United looked destined to go second in the Premier League thanks to Bruno Fernandes' first-half opener but ultimately paid the price for their apparent decision to sit on the narrow lead.

Although it was United who survived the game's first scare when Palace hit the crossbar in the 40th minute, they were deserved leaders as Bruno Fernandes netted on the stroke of half-time.

But they committed far fewer bodies to attack in the second period and Olise made them pay, denying United the chance to enter the top two for the first time since September 2021.

Atletico Madrid were far from their best but progressed to the Copa del Rey quarter-finals after Marcos Llorente scored one and assisted another in a 2-0 victory at Levante.

Diego Simeone's side have won just one of their last six LaLiga games and their recent struggles were evident despite victory over second-tier Levante on Wednesday.

Atletico's first shot on target in the 54th minute through Morata opened the scoring after Llorente's cross before the midfielder sealed progression with a calm stoppage-time finish.

The LaLiga side await the identity of their next opponents in Friday's last-eight draw as they aim for a first Copa del Rey crown since 2013.

Alex Munoz finished into an empty net when Jan Oblak fumbled after 25 minutes, yet the goalkeeper's blushes were spared as a free-kick was awarded for Mohamed Bouldini's heavy aerial challenge.

Bouldini arrowed a fizzing left-footed effort narrowly over soon after as an underwhelming Atletico failed to impose themselves on a first half devoid of quality.

However, a touch of class after the restart brought the opener as Antoine Griezmann danced through the middle before finding Marcos Llorente, who rolled across for Morata to finish into the bottom-left corner.

Oblak intervened at a crucial moment when Bouldini appeared positioned to net an equaliser, before a sweeping counter-attack at the other end ensured victory for Atletico.

Griezmann orchestrated the break from inside his own half before Nahuel Molina played in Llorente, who slotted a right-footed finish past Joan Femenias.

What does it mean? Atleti's silverware hopes rely on Copa del Rey

Out of Europe after finishing bottom of Champions League Group B and 13 points adrift of LaLiga leaders Barcelona, Atletico's quest for silverware relies solely on the Copa del Rey.

Simeone's side are yet to face a top-flight side in this competition, although they have battled past Almazan, Arenteiro, Real Oviedo and Levante with relative ease.

However, with Real Madrid and Barcelona – who face Ceuta and Villarreal respectively on Thursday – still in the competition, Atletico will have to improve to lift their first Copa del Rey in 10 years.

De Paul controls the game

Atletico were not especially impressive but maintained control with the help of Rodrigo De Paul.

The Argentina midfielder, appearing in his first game since lifting the World Cup in Qatar, enjoyed the most touches (97) and most successful passes (70) of any player while winning all of his five duels.

Livewire Bouldini blunted

Bouldini was a constant livewire up top as he acted as a nuisance for Atletico's centre-back partnership of Mario Hermoso and Stefan Savic.

The Levante forward attempted four shots and contested a remarkable 21 duels – both marks the most of any player – though his hard-working ethic did not make up for his or Levante's lack of quality in front of goal.

What's next?

Atletico return to LaLiga action at home to Real Valladolid on Saturday.

Inter retained their Supercoppa Italiana crown with a convincing 3-0 victory over fierce rivals Milan at King Fahd International Stadium on Wednesday.

Simone Inzaghi's side have been in far better form than Milan since the World Cup break and that showed in Riyadh as they raced into a two-goal lead inside 21 minutes.

Federico Dimarco finished off a flowing team move and Edin Dzeko, who played a pivotal role in that opener, added a second to put Inter in command.

Last season's Coppa Italia winners Inter added a third in the 77th minute through Lautaro Martinez to seal a seventh Supercoppa triumph, drawing them level with Milan's tally.

 

Dzeko played a delightful first-time pass into the feet of Nicolo Barella, who in turn squared to Milan-born Dimarco for a simple finish for Inter's 10th-minute opener.

That goal was allowed to stand following a VAR check, with semi-automatic offside technology being used for the first time in Italian football ahead of its roll-out in Serie A.

Inter added a second through a well-taken Dzeko goal after the striker collected the ball down the left, skipped inside Sandro Tonali and swept a shot past Ciprian Tatarusanu.

Not since Roma against Inter in 2006 had a team struck twice inside the opening 25 minutes of a Supercoppa Italiana match, and Milan could not find a route back into the game.

After sitting back for most of the second half, Inter added some gloss to the scoreline when Fikayo Tomori failed to clear a long ball and Martinez finished with the outside of his boot.

Arsenal have confirmed they are investigating two incidents of anti-Semitism that were reported to the club around the north London derby.

Premier League leaders Arsenal beat rivals Tottenham 2-0 in Sunday's match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

But the Gunners announced on Wednesday an intention to get to the bottom of a pair of instances of anti-Semitic comments and chants from Arsenal fans.

"We have been made aware of two disturbing incidents over the weekend involving anti-Semitism, which are now under investigation," a statement read.

"There was an incident at the north London derby on Sunday involving Arsenal supporters in which one of our fans overheard grossly offensive anti-Semitic statements made by another Arsenal fan.

"On the same afternoon, we were appalled to hear of an incident at The Cally pub in Islington, involving other anti-Semitic chants.

"We recognise the impact this behaviour has on our many Jewish supporters and others and condemn the use of language of this nature, which has no place in our game or society. 

"Arsenal must be a safe and welcoming environment for everyone, and we want to be clear that any kind of discriminatory abuse is not welcome at our club. 

"We will not stand for this kind of behaviour and will take strong action against any supporters who we establish are responsible for such acts.

"Anyone identified will receive a lengthy club ban and their details will be passed to the police to commence legal proceedings."

Juraj Slafkovsky's rookie season appears to be over after the Montreal Canadiens announced the number one overall pick in the 2022 draft will miss three months due to a lower-body injury sustained in Sunday's game at the New York Rangers.

The 18-year-old Slovakian forward has four goals and six assists in 39 games this season for the Canadiens, who are in 15th place in the 16-team Eastern Conference and are unlikely to make the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Prior to getting injured, Slafkovsky was mired in a 15-game point drought and had not scored a goal in 21 straight contests.

"We believe his development will happen in stages," Montreal general manager Kent Hughes said on Wednesday. "It's not, 'hey, we've got 10 things [for you to do]; go figure them out'.

"Because I think when you do that, [the player] is on the ice thinking and not reacting. And I think sometimes this year we've seen him think on the ice and other times we've seen him react.

"But we're not worried about the production side of it. We're really worried about seeing the areas that we want him to improve on.

"Do we see progress in those areas? Because we know, or we certainly believe, that long term, if he makes [certain] changes to his game, it's going to allow him to adapt to the North American style and be the most successful player he can be.

"He's going to be a different style hockey player than another guy."

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