Bryztine Performance: Shorthanded Flyers Steadied by Bryzgalov, Blank Caps

Bryztine Performance: Shorthanded Flyers Steadied by Bryzgalov, Blank Caps

Missing two of their leading defenders, the Flyers were poised to have their hands full with a Washington Capitals team looking to storm back from a home shutout earlier in the weekend. But Ilya Bryzgalov has clearly been getting his game on track, and he took another major step forward Sunday night, posting a shutout that his team needed, as they scored just one goal.

Despite being without Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros, who missed the game with lower body injuries, the Flyers played some very good defense. Braydon Coburn in particular had a great game. But the Caps did get their opportunities, and Bryz had to be sharp all night.

His positioning was perfect or damn near it on every shot, even those that were redirected. This is the game we've been waiting for from Bryzgalov.

The fourth line would contribute the game's only goal, with Eric Wellwood deflecting in a nice pass from Pavel Kubina. It should come as no surprise that the goal came very soon after Peter Laviolette called a timeout to pump up his team, which had been a little flat.

One of the scarier moments of the game came when Kubina was hit in the face with a shot from Alex Ovechkin. It wasn't as bad as that sounds, but he was opened up and bleeding, needing to leave the ice. But he returned soon after and continued to play well. The D really stepped up without two of its cornerstones, but losing another would have been scary.

Another bracing moment was when Erik Gustafsson was slammed into the boards by Troy Brouwer, opening the gate to the Caps bench with his head. Ever the stand-up guy, Scott Hartnell went after Brouwer immediately and had a solid, if brief, fight.

The hit was legal, but that's a smart fight to take. Too bad he lost his edge, but the decision still goes to Hartnell. Only crappy thing about that fight was it interrupted the announcers talking about how fair-weather the Caps fans are.

Overall, it was a pretty intense game that was blissfully uninterrupted by whistles. Only one minor penalty was called in the game, a slash on the Caps' Jason Chimera, who probably earned at least three more that went uncalled. But, as encouraging as the goaltending and defensive efforts were, so too was the Flyers' ability to stay out of the box again.

Highlights

The Phillies season in one video: 'Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby'

The Phillies season in one video: 'Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby'

What is there to say about the Philadelphia Phillies?

In doing my usual postgame perusal of the Internet after their 7-2 loss on Wednesday night, I visited Phillies.com to see what kind of "highlights" they could have possibly posted from another crushing defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.

Thankfully, the first thing that caught my eye was a video titled, "Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby."

It was not Larry Andersen in the Phanatic's arms. Nor me.

And that's the Phillies season in a nutshell.

"You gotta question the parenting skills here," John Kruk said on the telecast. And he's right! What kind of parent would raise their kid to be a Philly sports fan?!?

The Phillies now have the worst record in all of baseball. They're 4-20 in their last 24 games. It's their worst start to a season since 1960.

Even the Phanatic doesn't have enough popcorn to mask all the pain.

If you want to read about the upbeat approach Pete Mackanin is taking, go give this a gander.

"In a long season, these things sometimes happen," Mackanin told reporters. "I remember Atlanta, the first half last year, was terrible. They had a real good second half. I believe we just need to get something going. We're going to put something together. I believe that."

That makes one of us.

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

The future of Villanova basketball just got brighter.

Brandon Slater, a 6-foot-6 wing and highly touted 2018 recruit, told Scout.com on Wednesday night that he has verbally committed to the Wildcats.

He later made the announcement on Twitter.

Among the 2018 recruiting class, Slater, a product of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, is ranked in the top 30 by Scout.com and top 50 by ESPN.com. He's slated as a four-star talent by both media outlets.

Per ESPN, Slater had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse, USC and Virginia Tech. He is Villanova's first commitment for 2018.

"Going up there it just feels like a second home," Slater said, via Evan Daniels of Scout.com. "It gives me a good vibe. It's nothing like all the other schools. I just feel like a Villanova guy. It feels like PVI. It's already home."

Slater and Villanova head coach Jay Wright expressed their excitement on Twitter.