Sixers-Knicks: The Only Way to Spend a Sunday Afternoon

Sixers-Knicks: The Only Way to Spend a Sunday Afternoon

What is it about facing a team on a cold streak that seems so much more
terrifying than facing a team that's actually been playing well? Since
beating the Cleveland Cavaliers at home on Leap Day, the Knicks have
been brutal, dropping consecutive games to the Celtics, Mavericks, Spurs
and Bucks, with only the first and last even being particularly close
contests. The Linsanity honeymoon is over, Carmelo Anthony still hasn't
found his stride with the new lineup, and the Knicks' temporarily
effective D has vanished into the midtown air.

So naturally, this could only mean one thing: That the Knicks have been
dogging it for four games just to make sure they have the energy and
motivation to mercilessly beat down the Sixers at noon today at MSG.
Stupid sports fandom.

In reality, you have to like the Sixers' chances. The Ballers have
finally found their stride post-All-Star break, and are 2-1 since adding
Evan Turner to the starting lineup, with the two wins coming by a
combined 45 points against good (well, decent) Celtics and Jazz teams.
The lineup is clicking, and aside from the perpetually absent Spencer
Hawes (finally due back Wednesday against the Pacers, and not a moment
too soon), healthy as well. On paper, you have to like our chances
against this disjointed, incoherent New York Knicks team.

Still, the Knicks have something else on their side: Recent history. The
Sixers came to MSG in January on the heels of some of their hottest
play of the season, but came up short against a physical, better-sized
Knicks team, unable to keep Carmelo and Amar'e Stoudemire from getting
theirs. And this was before the Knicks had a point guard—Lin may have
cooled off some recently, but he's still a damn sight better at running a
team than Iman Shumpert and Tony Douglas, and with Jrue Holiday
struggling defensively against high-level point guards like Derrick Rose
and Brandon Jennings recently (and safety valve Andre Iguodala way busy
with Carmelo Anthony), keeping Lin in check won't be an easy task.
Expect Turner to get the call against Lin on occasion, and of course,
expect to see far too much of Tony Battie.

12:00 tip from MSG. The Sixers always seem to play the Knicks in these
Sunday matinees at pivotal moments in their season, and today is no
exception. Is the team's improvement with increased minutes for Turner
for real, or just a couple lucky games in a row? Is this team still the
class of the Atlantic, and can we stay ahead of not just the Knicks, but
the two-games-back Celtics, who play the Lakers later this afternoon?
Hoping these answers are yes—bummer of a Sunday afternoon otherwise.

Watch: Travis Konecny scores his 1st NHL goal, joyfully hugs Ivan Provorov

Watch: Travis Konecny scores his 1st NHL goal, joyfully hugs Ivan Provorov

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.

Instant Replay: Flyers 4, Sabres 3 (SO)

Instant Replay: Flyers 4, Sabres 3 (SO)


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.
New lines
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.
Notable goals
Konecny’s first NHL marker.
Goalie report
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.
Power play
The Flyers' power play awakened. Konecny's goal, plus Schenn's and Streit's. That marked a season high, too.
Penalty kill
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). 
Up next
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.