Bad to Worse: Flyers Dropped by Pens on Poor D and Worse Goaltending

Bad to Worse: Flyers Dropped by Pens on Poor D and Worse Goaltending

We keep waiting for the Ilya Bryzgalov who was "near-elite" enough for the Flyers to sign to a 9-year, $51 million contract to emerge from a decidedly subpar shell and at least pull his weight. The team in front of him has its warts, particularly on defense, but it is good enough to be a real threat if it can get some good if not great goaltending. Unfortunately, as we saw again in Saturday's 6-4 loss, that is increasingly unlikely to happen.

Miscues led to far too many scoring opportunities for the Penguins, but from the beginning, the Flyers were charged with winning a game in which they'd have nothing resembling acceptable NHL goaltending.

Matt Cooke of all people got the scoring started with the first of three poor goals allowed by Bryzgalov. He'd score again later and be named the player of the game, probably, disgustingly, deservedly so. The first two Pens goals were each on clean shots that Bryz saw from start to finish. The third came on a turnover and a weak defensive effort by Kimmo Timonen, again on Cooke, but Bryzgalov did little to counter the effort, sitting in his crease rather than pouncing.

Despite the Flyers ending the first period up 2-1 after a pair of gorgeous goals by Jaromir Jagr, and heading into the second intermission tied at 3, they ended the afternoon as poorly as possible.

Sergei Bobrovsky was called to action in the third, and although his three goals allowed weren't quite as bad as Bryzgalov's, they still left plenty to be desired.

Again, the defense was insufficient. Newcomer Nicklas Grossman wasn't a weakness, and that's at least a good sign. But carelessness with the puck was an issue, as were second effort opportunities.

Three third period goals put the Penguins up by a comfortable margin, although if anyone was going to tally a meaningless late goal, we're glad it was Wayne Simmonds. Simmer scored his eighth goal in nine games with 19 seconds left, again from the doorstep.

The scoring is not a problem. The defense, from the forwards to the blueliners, is. The goaltending is. Right now, the Flyers are about as good as their place in the standings. The skaters came to the defense of their goaltenders in the locker room, and they need to do a better job of that on the ice.

But they also need far better goaltending behind them, no matter how many swords they're willing to fall on with the press.

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Notes:
The Flyers absolutely suck in afternoon games, now sitting at 4-10-1. That's more than half of their regulation losses this season, and they've allowed five or more goals in seven of those games.

Eric Wellwood had a fun first NHL goal, taking advantage of Dave Engelland's lost edge in front of his own net and popping one home.

One game after Erik Gustafsson became the seventh Flyer to score his first NHL goal this season, Wellwood became the eighth. 

Good god I wish this recap could focus more on Jagr's pair of goals. He looked so good early, halting his momentum to stop just fast enough to snap wristers over MAF's shoulders at will.

Nick Grossman somehow managed to be the only Flyers d-man with a plus rating, however much stock you give that stat. He also had eight hits and three blocked shots.

Kimmo missed some shifts in the third period. No word on exactly why, but it was not his best day, by far.

Another terribly reffed game by Stephane Auger, and the Pens have a right to say the same. When will the league 86 this guy?

How bad were the Flyers today? They allowed a goal while on a 5-on-3, one of two shorthanded goals they allowed in less than two minutes. Both came with Bryz in net. Humongous bad.

Midway through the game, the Flyers-Rick Nash rumors heated up again...

Bryzgalov's comments to the press should go over famously.

Penn fails to clinch Ivy tournament spot in 70-67 loss at Columbia

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Penn fails to clinch Ivy tournament spot in 70-67 loss at Columbia

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NEW YORK -- Mike Smith scored 20 points, including a key 3-pointer with a minute left, Luke Petrasek added 17 with a blocked shot as time ran out, and Columbia edged Penn 70-67 in a critical Ivy League game on Saturday night.

The Lions (11-14) and Quakers (12-13) are both 5-7 and tied for fourth in league play with a week to go. This is the first season the Ivy League has a postseason tournament with the top four teams qualifying.

Neither team led by double figures, their statistics were almost identical and there were 11 ties and 10 lead changes, although Columbia took the lead for good on a Nate Hickman's free throws with 10:27 remaining during an 8-0 run.

Hickman gave Columbia a 67-60 lead -- the largest of the second half -- on a 3-pointer with 5:37 to go. The Lions then went 4:11 without a basket, missing seven-straight shots. Ryan Betley's free throws pulled the Quakers within 2 before Smith hit is trey at 1:04.

Betley made two free throws and after a Columbia miss the Quakers had two 3 attempts with Petrasek saving the day.

AJ Brodeur and Jackson Donahue had 16 each for Penn.

Temple snaps 3-game losing streak with double OT win over Tulane

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Temple snaps 3-game losing streak with double OT win over Tulane

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Temple's wild 86-76 double-overtime victory against Tulane on Saturday snapped a three-game losing streak (see Instant Replay)

The win, however, was not easy after Tulane's Malik Morgan hit a deep three as time expired to force a second overtime.

"Not again," Temple senior forward Daniel Dingle said. "We're not leaving this gym until we get a win."

Temple's mistake of not picking Morgan up after two made free throws cost the Owls and was not the plan for head coach Fran Dunphy. 

"We said we wanna pick them up as soon as we can and not allow a go-by," Dunphy said. "If someone's going by you, chest them, but don't let them get a full head of steam going towards the basket and Shizz (Alston Jr.) kind of backed off him. Obviously, Morgan made a great shot."

Temple (15-15, 6-11 AAC) received a big lift from its seniors on Senior Day, as Dingle and forward Mark Williams combined for 33 points and 14 points against the Green Wave (5-23, 2-14 AAC).

Williams' play in the waning moments of regulation and throughout overtime also showed his savvy as a veteran on this team. Down 65-63 with 11 seconds left, Alston Jr. missed a jump shot, but Williams tapped the ball back to Alston Jr., who put in a layup to tie the game at 65.

"I couldn't get it, so I seen him and I just tipped it," Williams said. "He grabbed it and it was just right place at the right time."

To start overtime, Williams scored two quick buckets after an early Tulane free throw to take 69-66 lead with 2:51 left. The Owls and Green Wave went back and forth in the first overtime period, which ultimately culminated in a 71-71 tie and another overtime.

At the start of the second overtime period, it was all Owls. They scored seven quick points, which included a dunk by freshman Quinton Rose to start the period, a three pointer from Alston Jr. (who had 25 points, eight rebounds and five assists) off a Tulane miss and block-dunk sequence from junior forward Obi Enechionyia. The 78-71 lead with 3:20 left helped spark a 15-5 run Temple used to close the game.

At the 2:28 mark in the second overtime period, Williams fouled out, and walked off the Liacouras Center floor for the final time in a Temple uniform, inciting a standing ovation.

"I love my teammates, I love these guys," Williams said, who finished with 20 points and six rebounds. "[Standing ovation] was like the last time, it's like you moved out of your childhood house."

Because it was Senior Day, the Owls started all of their seniors, including Mike Robbins, who, in his first career start, scored seven points during a career-high 22 minutes.

Robbins provided Temple a spark early, scoring all seven of his points in a 17-4 Temple start in the first 4:25 of the game, including a baseline reverse layup that got the Owls' faithful on their feet.

"It felt good to get back out there and make some shots," Robbins said. "The crowd was terrific. After the game everybody thanked me for all my hard work."

After losing three straight games, the Owls recognized that this was a must-win game, as they look to finish the season strong. 

"We needed to win and we did, we found a way to win," Dunphy said.

"This game meant a lot to us as a whole," Dingle said "Now we're playing USF next [and then the] conference tournament and hopefully this win gives us some momentum. Right now, we're not worried about the wins and losses, what our record says."