Before I head over to the Flyers-Penguins game at the Wachovia Center this afternoon, I'm planning to get my picture taken with Santa the Commissioner's Trophy at the Majestic store, so I'll keep this short.
The Flyers and Pens are knotted in the standings, just a few points back from the Atlantic-leading Rangers. The last time they faced each other, the Flyers were down early, but stormed back to go up on the Pens, then coughed up the lead, went to OT and a shootout, where they lost. Today, they're coming off an energy-boosting comeback win over the Hurricanes, one in which they got smacked around for 40 minutes before finally realizing they were a much better team than Carolina.
But Sam Carchidi of the Inq points out that the Flyers know that if they play anything less than 60 minutes today, they'll likely lose. Every fan heading to the game today knows it too. The Pens are a great team with a lot of scorers spread over their lines. Fortunately, so are the Flyers. Marty Biron will be in goal today, looking for a huge game. More than likely, the forwards will have to keep pace with the Pens' attack though, and the defense will need to play better than they have lately.
It sounds as though they'll have Matt Carle back today; he skated at practice yesterday and put his chances of playing today at 90%, which is great news considering that earlier in the week, his timetable with an odd rib/back injury was indefinite.
Opposing Players to Watch: League darling Sidney Crosby will be in the building today, as will his better half Evgeni Malkin. Malkin has 48 mouth-agape points on the strength of 36 assists... As of Friday, Michel Therrien wouldn't say who would be in goal for the Pens. Marc-Andre Fleury has missed 12 games with an injury, with Dany Sabourin filling in, but MAF has been cleared to play. Before getting hurt, the Pens' G1 was 8-3-2 with a 2.86 GAA. Despite a much better goals against (2.20), Sabourin's record while filling in is 6-5-1. So, pick your poison.
ST. LOUIS -- Vincent Trocheck scored with just under 5 seconds remaining to lift the Florida Panthers to a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.
Jonathan Marchessault also scored and James Reimer stopped 26 shots to help the Panthers complete a 5-0 road trip -- their first perfect trip of at least that many games in franchise history.
Reimer has won five straight decisions and has not lost in regulation since Jan. 7 against Boston, going 6-0-1 since.
The Panthers moved into a tie with Boston for third place in the Atlantic Division, but have the edge because they have a game in hand on the Bruins.
Kyle Brodziak, playing for the second time after missing 10 games due to a broken foot, scored for the Blues and Jake Allen finished with 31 saves. St. Louis lost its second straight since winning six in a row (see full recap).
Coyotes use three-goal 1st period to beat Ducks
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Radim Vrbata capped Arizona's three-goal first period and the Coyotes held on for 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.
Christian Dvorak and Jakob Chychrun also scored for Arizona, and starting goalie Mike Smith had 27 saves before leaving about 4 1/2 minutes into the third period after a collision in the net. Marek Langhamer helped kill a power play after being pressed into action for his NHL debut and stopped six of the seven shots he faced.
The Coyotes have won four of their last six.
Langhamer gave up Ryan Getzlaf's second goal of the night with 26.8 seconds to play, but thwarted two quality shots in the final seconds.
Jonathan Bernier gave up three goals on six shots in the first period for the Ducks. John Gibson came on to start the second and stopped all 14 shots he faced (see full recap).
Joel Embiid trusts the Process, more so than anyone — the process of patience.
After sitting out two whole seasons because of foot injuries, Embiid learned the importance of patience the hard way.
Appearing on NBA TV's Open Court, Joel Embiid opened up about how he reaggravated the fracture in his foot that cost him the 2015-16 season.
"I didn't know how to deal with patience," Embiid said on the roundtable discussion. "I just wanted to do stuff, that's why I think I needed a second surgery, because after my first one, I just wanted to play basketball again. I just wanted to be on the court and I pushed through what I wasn't supposed to.
"At one point I thought about quitting. I just wanted to come back home and just forget everything."
Embiid goes on to discuss the Sixers' turnaround this season and his mindset during his recovery. Watch the full clip below.
Embiid also said he models his game after Hakeem Olajuwon.