Well, both the Sixers and Knicks won last night, meaning that the
seventh and eighth seeds are still uncertain going into play tonight.
Presumably both teams would prefer falling to eight and playing the more
manageable Chicago Bulls—Clyde Frazier said on the MSG broadcast last
night that the Knicks would have an easier time against the Miami Heat,
but I doubt anyone actually believes that—but both teams will have their
work cut out for them if they plan on losing tonight. Even with resting
arguably their top five guys tonight—Jrue Holiday should be joining Lou
Williams, Elton Brand, Thaddeus Young and Andre Iguodala on the
bench—the Sixers still have a shot against the 24-41 Pistons, though Detroit
does somehow have a 17-15 record at the predominantly empty Palace at
Auburn Hills this year.
The result of Philly's game won't matter, though, assuming New York can
manage to take care of business against the worst team in NBA history.
Normally, you'd expect that the surging Knicks would have no problem
sweeping up the 7-58 Bobcats, but with no real incentive to win (Orlando
clinched the #6 seed by beating Charlotte last night), you can expect
that New York will be sitting at least a handful of regulars. Of course,
the Knicks' second-stringers are probably still superior to the
Bobcats' A Squad, but Charlotte will be looking to avoid history—by
winning one more game, they can avoid ending the season with the worst
winning percentage in NBA history, a mark still held by our proud
'72-'73 Sixer squad. Could be a toss-up, though you'd like to believe
that the team that's lost 22 games in a row will find a way to squeak
out just one more L before season's end, and allow us to slink
comfortably back to the 8th seed.
Tonight's Sixers matchup will be interesting beyond the playoff
implications, if only for the added freedom for Evan Turner. Last night,
Turner quickly emerged as the team's go-to scoring option with all
their, uh, more traditional scorers on the bench, and he did a fairly
decent job at it, posting 29 points (though he needed 29 shots to do
it), 13 rebounds and six assists, carrying the team to victory against a
somehow-even-more-undermanned Milwaukee Bucks team. If the team trades
Iguodala and lets Lou walk in the off-season—which they really, really
well should—this is the kind of role we're going to be seeing Evan in a
lot more, and if he can build on games like last night's, that's a good
way to get the post-Lou/Dre era started. (NO JINX NO JINX NO JINX NO
8:00 tip from the Palace. No matter who they play in the first round,
the Sixers will play their Game One on Saturday. Evan Turner hopes it's the Bulls. Needless to say, you should too.
The first of many for the kid.
Travis Konecny on Tuesday night scored goal No. 1 of what should be an exciting and promising career in orange and black.
Not only was it the 19-year-old's first NHL marker, but it ignited a third-period comeback from three goals down as the Flyers stunned the Sabres at the Wells Fargo Center with a 4-3 shootout win when they looked dead in the water at second intermission.
"Obviously, it makes it 3-1," Brayden Schenn said of Konecny's special moment. "It gets the crowd going a bit. It gets us going. Any time a guy scores a first goal, like I said, it gets a little more excitement through the building and through our team."
The goal wasn't of the flashy variety, but it epitomized the youngster's complete game. Teammates have routinely praised Konecny for his willingness to score ugly by finding the greasy areas — as we so love to call them — and doing work, despite his a not-so-intimidating frame.
So skillfully, Konecny deflected a power-play point drive by the other 19-year-old Ivan Provorov. Like a little kid — then again, he is a teenager — Konecny leapt into the boards in celebration, smiling ear to ear. In came Provorov for a big hug. Watching those two have fun is fun.
Flyers fans, frame this screenshot and hang it somewhere (and don't you dare cut out Matt Read). Meanwhile, for Konecny's goal and the celebration, watch the video above.
A very tired Flyers squad came back with a vengeance against the well-rested Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night to win, 4-3, in a shootout at the Wells Fargo Center.
Claude Giroux got the shootout winner.
It was an ugly affair for 40 minutes, starting with goalie Michal Neuvirth, who allowed three goals on 17 shots before being lifted in the second period for the second time in two weeks. The Flyers trailed 3-0 going into the third period.
Whatever energy the Flyers had coming back from Montreal on Monday was saved for the third period when they got three power-play goals from Travis Konecny, Brayden Schenn and Mark Streit to make it 3-3.
The Sabres had not played a game in five days while the Flyers are in the midst of six games in nine days and it showed.
The rookie Konecny scored his first NHL goal in the third period, tipping home Ivan Provorov’s point drive during a power play.
Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas returned after serving a six-game suspension to begin the season.
In an effort to get Schenn going — scoreless in three games coming in — coach Dave Hakstol dropped him to the third line with Nick Cousins and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. Matt Read, the club’s top goal scorer, moved into Schenn’s spot on the top line with Giroux and Wayne Simmonds.
Boyd Gordon played his 700th NHL game.
Konecny’s first NHL marker.
There was probably not much Neuvirth could do on the Sabres' first goal. Zemgus Girgensons shot from a hard angle in the corner to the net and the puck jumped, hitting Tyler Ennis for a 1-0 lead in the second period. That said, he wasn’t very good on the next two goals. Neuvirth has been pulled twice in just three starts.
The Flyers' power play awakened. Konecny's goal, plus Schenn's and Streit's. That marked a season high, too.
Chris VandeVelde overskated the puck during a shorthanded two-on-one for what would have been a goal in the first period. Gordon lost a draw to Ryan O’Reilly and Matt Moulson jumped on it, went to the net with purpose for a quick backhander to make it 2-0 3:56 into the second period. Moulson had two power-play goals. The Flyers' PK units were poor.
Simmonds avoided a hearing and possible suspension for his cross check from behind to Montreal’s Andrei Markov on Monday night that jolted the Canadiens defenseman into the boards face-first. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety reviewed the hit and saw no cause for action.
Dale Weise (suspended), Scott Laughton (knee), Michael Del Zotto (knee), Michael Raffl (abdominal pull) and Nick Schultz (healthy).
The Flyers will be off on Wednesday. They are in the midst of six games in nine days and will host Arizona on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center.