MILWAUKEE -- The Portland Trail Blazers kept up their strong start and extended the Milwaukee Bucks early-season woes. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 21 points, Damian Lillard added 19 and the Trail Blazers got their eighth straight win, beat the Bucks 91-82 Wednesday night. Portland held the lead throughout the second half but had difficulty pulling away until late in the fourth quarter. "We got a win. Thats all Im worried about," said Portland guard Wesley Matthews, who had 15 points, all in the first half to help the Blazers complete a sweep of a four-game Eastern Conference road trip. "To finish a road trip undefeated and to do it with the defence and energy that we had in the second half is great," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. Luke Ridnour scored 13 points to lead the Bucks, who lost their sixth in row and eight of 10 on the season. They last won on Nov. 6 against Cleveland. Portlands last loss came a night earlier against Houston. "Our margin of error is very small," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "Were trying to dig ourselves out of a hole and the only way to do that is to play every possession like its going to be the last possession. Portland is hot, needless to say, but we were right there but just couldnt get over the hump." Milwaukee pulled within six points late in the fourth on Caron Butlers 3-pointer. However, Lillard had a breakaway dunk and a 3 of his own to put Portland up 89-78 -- matching the Blazers largest lead of the game. The Bucks got no closer than seven again. "We are in positions to win games but in the fourth quarter we are just making mistakes," Milwaukees Zaza Pachulia said. "We have to keep getting better individually and as a team because nobody is happy in this locker room." Portland shot just 41 per cent for the game while winning for the 10th time in 12 games this season. "Our mentality is right. Were thinking greedy, were thinking win like were supposed to," Matthews said. Bucks guard O.J. Mayo, who had nine points, added to the Bucks injury woes when he sprained his left ankle. Portland opened the third quarter on a 8-0 run to take a 61-51 lead. The Blazers took an 11-point lead late in the quarter when Nicolas Batum hit a 3 as he fell to the court. The Bucks responded as Ersan Ilyasova scored his first points of the contest when he made a 3, then followed it with a leaner in the lane to cut the deficit to 70-64 at the end of the quarter. Portland held a 53-51 lead at the half. The second quarter ended with an exchange of traditional three-point plays. Lillard drew a foul after making a reverse layup on a strong drive to the basket. Ridnour then made an acrobatic floater along the baseline while being fouled as the clock wound down. Ridnour, who has been battling a back injury, had 11 first-half points for the Bucks. Milwaukee shot 50 per cent over the first two quarters, compared to nearly 49 per cent for the Blazers. Milwaukee finished the game at 44 per cent, while Portland connected on just 41 per cent of its shots. Stotts said he was disappointed with his teams first-half defence. "In the first half, there were three or four times where we had a chance to really nail down a defensive possession and it seemed like (Milwaukee) came up with the ball and finished the play." Matthews, returning to the arena where he starred in college for Marquette, scored 13 points in the first quarter, including a trio of 3-point field goals, but the Bucks held a 24-23 lead. NOTES: Ilyasova and Butler returned to the Bucks lineup after missing time because of injuries. Ilyasova saw his first action since Nov. 2. Brandon Knight remained out with a sore hamstring. Ten players saw action in the opening period for the Bucks, who dressed only eight players for a Nov. 13 game against Orlando. ... Portland has won eight in a row in the same season for the first time since a 13-game streak in December 2007. 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North Dakota States reign as the three-time FCS national champion was pushed to the limit by South Dakota State on Saturday, but freshman R.BUFFALO – In about half as many games, the Toronto penalty kill has already allowed more power-play goals this season than it did all of last year. A once dominant unit that finished second best in the league in 2013 (87.9%) has fallen to 20th overall (79.4%) after two months this winter. The groups increasing woes were highlighted on Wednesday night by a season-high three-goal outburst from the Penguins power play in an eventual 6-5 shootout loss. "We havent changed anything," Jay McClement told the Leaf Report on Thursday afternoon. "Were just not getting the job done. I dont know what it is, but weve gotten away from the basic things that made us successful. You can say that weve had a couple bad bounces here and there, but were getting too many [scored] on us the last little while to say that." Over the past 11 games – a stretch that began at the outset of November – the Leafs have allowed 13 power play goals, hovering at just 71 per cent in that span. Already this season, theyve given up 20 power play goals or one more than all of last season. The sure-fire attitude once owned by the group has gradually taken a hit. "Thats a confidence were going to have to build back up over a big stretch of games here," said McClement, who leads the NHL in average ice-time shorthanded. "It seems like we have a couple good kills and we start to get it, start to build on it and then we give one up. [Its] something we just have to stick with and try not to lose all our confidence and get frustrated with it." A confident bunch last season, the Leafs rarely allowed sustained opportunity for opposing power plays, typically clearing the puck and changing personnel with seamless precision. The job hasnt gone quite so smoothly so far this season, be it because of positional mistakes, failed clears, easy entries, or simple confusion. Increasingly, the unit has relied far too heavily upon its two goaltenders. Consider that in 48 games last season, the Toronto penalty kill allowed 193 shots against; already this season, in just 25 games, the same unit has givven up 182 shots.dddddddddddd Under increased strain, the goaltending has been good, but not quite as good as a year ago. James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier have combined to post a .890 save percentage shorthanded this season, slightly worse than the .902 mark set by Reimer and Ben Scrivens last season. "I think theres some trends that have come in," said Randy Carlyle of the penalty kill. "I think weve vacated the critical areas. I think weve won faceoffs and not cleared the puck. I think weve given up the middle of the ice too many times, gotten on the wrong side of the puck. "Those are things that were going to continue to try to fix because it has been a staple of our game. When those staples go away it reveals that youre not playing anywhere near where youre capable of playing." Not helping matters either is the discipline of the group. The Leafs have taken more minor penalties (113) than any team but the Ottawa Senators this season; up to 4.52 minors per game from 3.69 last season. A string of five straight such penalties helped propel the Penguins to come back from a 4-1 second period deficit on Wednesday night. "When youve got a good PK," said Carl Gunnarsson, third on the team in shorthanded minutes, "you feel good going out there and you know youre going to kill it probably 80, 90 per cent of the time." Just as the strut of the penalty kill has gradually diminished from the stronghold of last season, so too have a few key parts. Most prominently absent this year is Leo Komarov, an energetic and effective component in 2013 who returned to the KHL this season. Two additional pieces who made significant contributions, Mark Fraser and Nik Kulemin, missed nearly a month with injuries. "I think right now when you go through a spell like were going through, its tough to have that attitude," McClement said. "Its just really up and down right now. I guess more downs than ups right now. I think the biggest thing is we cant lose our confidence in it. We know what were doing works, weve just got to do it better." ' ' '