Predators become prey

NHL: For Vancouver Canucks fans, the night was a good one. The top-seeded Canucks, who held the best regular-season record, beat the Nashville Predators 4-2 to take a 3-1 Western Conference semifinal series lead. Vancouver can close out the series Saturday night on its home ice.

Men's college basketball: After 22 years, Gary Williams suddenly decided to call it quits as the head coach at Maryland. The news came at an especially rough time for Washington-area sports fans, after the top-seeded Capitals were eliminated from the playoffs Wednesday night. Williams led his alma mater to two NCAA Final Fours and the school's only national title in 2002. The timing is slightly suspect as Maryland standout sophomore Jordan Williams formerly declared for the NBA draft Wednesday. Is it possible that Williams was getting close to retirement and couldn't foresee any immediate success without his star player on the court? Or maybe it was just time for anyone in the Terrapins' program with the last name Williams to move on.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest has been suspended one game without pay for a flagrant foul he committed against Dallas Mavericks guard Jose Juan Barea in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals. Artest will be out for Friday's Game 3 in Dallas. The timing could not be worse, as the Lakers are down 2-0 in the series and will be playing the next two games on the Mavericks' home court.

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