Call It a Comeback: Flyers Win Three in a Row for the First Time This Season

Call It a Comeback: Flyers Win Three in a Row for the First Time This Season

As Bill Clement likes to say, “Pick the part about hockey
you like the most, and you’ll find it in this one.” That certainly was the case
at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night where the Flyers launched their
second third-period comeback in as many games to defeat the Montreal Canadiens
5-3. Best of all, the victory puts the Orange & Black on their first
three-game winning streak of the season.

The Flyers were trailing deep into the third period, but were
skating as if all the momentum in the world was on their side. The action was
constantly forcing the issue at Montreal’s end, causing Philadelphia to rack up a 14-2 shot
advantage over the final 20 minutes. They were winning the battles, and some of
the puck movement while on the attack was breathtaking

Take the go-ahead goal for instance. The score itself wasn’t
pretty, Erik Gustafsson’s pass intended for Matt Read in front banking into the
net off of Canadiens defenseman Francis Bouillion as it turned out. The setup itself
was a thing of beauty though.

Jakub Voracek emerged from the corner with possession, then slipped
a cross-ice pass between Alex Galchenyuk’s legs. Claude Giroux bluffed the shot
as he was accepting the transfer, creating the extra millisecond that was necessary
to shuffle the puck softly behind his back. Gustafsson collected it off of his
skate, maneuvered past the outstretched body of David Drewiske, and fed the
disc in to Read.

Call it friendly fire, or call it “lucky” as Montreal netminder
Carey Price explained to reporters after the game. Either way, Gustafsson’s
second career NHL goal results in two huge points in the standings for the
Flyers.

Among other plays the Canadiens probably considered unlucky:
Sean Couturier snapping his lengthy goal-scoring drought with another deflection off
of one of Price’s teammates; Oliver Lauridsen’s blast from the point bouncing
off the boards and right to Simon Gagne to give the rookie defenseman his first
NHL point; and Bruno Gervais whipping a shot off the skate of a bloodied Wayne
Simmonds to tie the game. The decisive tally would occur just 90 seconds after Simmer’s 12th
of the season.

Conveniently, only Jakub Voracek’s empty-netter could not be
traced to some element of luck.

Of course we kid Mr. Price, as Ilya Bryzgalov has had a
little of that going on himself this season. Speak of the devil, Bryz didn’t
seem rattled by the impending arrival of Steve Mason, though he was only called
upon to face 17 shots, stopping 14. That said his performance was better than
the numbers might indicate – even despite one humorous reaction.

There were also plenty of fisticuffs in addition to the
scheduled hockey game. Brayden Schenn and P.K. Subban got a little mixed up as
the first period was coming to a close, which would set the tone for
back-to-back fights by Simmonds and Zac Rinaldo later, neither of which was
anything to write home about.

Giroux’s scuffle with Lars Eller early in the third period
was very noteworthy however. As you can see from the photo below, the
gloves were off and punches were thrown, yet the officials chalked this one up
to “boys will be boys” and left them both off with roughing minors. The energy
may very well have been in Philly’s favor already, but who doesn’t get fired up
when their captain decides to get his hands dirty?


Don’t look now, but that’s seven points out of the last
eight possible now for the Flyers, their lone loss during that span coming in a
shootout with the Islanders – another tilt in which they came back from a
third-period deficit. That puts them four points back of a playoff berth with
12 to go, and with this newfound resilience, clearly these guys aren't ready to be put away. It’s still an uphill battle to make the postseason, but the Bullies have
finally come to fight.

At least they're making things interesting anyway.

>> BOX SCORE [Flyers.com]

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:"";
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

10 Eagles to watch during 2017 training camp

csn_eagles_training_camp_2017_640x360.jpg
USA Today Images/CSN

10 Eagles to watch during 2017 training camp

The Eagles kick off their 2017 training camp this week for a season with higher expectations than a year ago. 

A big reason for that is because Carson Wentz is entering his second season after an up-and-down, yet promising, rookie campaign. We're not going to list him as a player to watch because we're all going to watch him anyway. 

Another big reason for optimism is plenty of newcomers. Many of them are listed. 

Here are 10 players to watch during Eagles training camp 2017: 

Nelson Agholor 
We mentioned the newcomers, but let's start with a guy who has been here for a couple of disappointing seasons. Agholor will probably never live up to his draft status, but now it's just about making him a decent NFL player. This spring, he was the best receiver on the field, which was undeniable as it was infuriating to fans. Because it just hasn't translated into games and until it does, no one will care much. But it's worth watching to see if he can continue his impressive offseason. Maybe this year, with a reduced role, he won't be a headcase. 

Derek Barnett
The first-round pick showed some impressive signs during the spring, especially when he beat Lane Johnson a few times 1-on-1. But now the pads go on and the real football begins. Barnett has a real chance to not just earn playing time but also earn a starting job during this training camp. 

Ron Brooks/Joe Walker
We cheated a little here by lumping these two together, but it kind of makes sense. Both are coming back from serious injuries, which is why we need to see what they can do. Walker tore his ACL during the preseason a year ago. Before he did, he was set to be the team's backup middle linebacker. It wasn't until his injury that the Eagles went out and signed Stephen Tulloch. And Brooks was playing OK as the Eagles' slot cornerback before his ruptured quad tendon in October. Jim Schwartz seems to really like him, but many folks have seemingly forgotten about Brooks this offseason. 

Timmy Jernigan
Of all the newcomers, Jernigan might be the most overlooked, but could also make the biggest impact. He's here with just one year left on his contract but will get a chance to put up some serious numbers while playing next to Fletcher Cox on the interior line. 

LeGarrette Blount
Blount reportedly has language written into his contract that gives him bonuses based on staying under 250 pounds. Even if he's under 250, Blount is still a big back, about 20 pounds heavier than rookie Corey Clement. Blount is up there in age and had a huge workload for the Patriots last season. How much does he have left? 

Rasul Douglas 
Of all the Eagles' rookies, Douglas might need to have the most immediate impact. The third-round pick might be thrust into a major role this season just because of the lack of talent at the cornerback position. He was impressive in the spring but is bound to have ups and downs as a rookie. 

Alshon Jeffery 
The Eagles actually have a real No. 1 receiver. Jeffery made some spectacular catches during the spring, but he and Wentz need to build their rapport, which they had extra time to do when the receivers went to North Dakota. We'll see how far along he and Wentz are soon enough. 

Donnel Pumphrey
It's pretty shocking to see how small Pumphrey looks without pads, especially standing next to Blount. How will the Eagles use the tiny running back? Will he be more of a receiver out of the backfield and in the slot? And can his body really hold up in the NFL? 

Isaac Seumalo 
Yeah, we're telling you an interior offensive lineman is a guy to watch. Seumalo has a real chance to beat out Allen Barbre for the starting left guard position. Either way, Seumalo figures into the Eagles' plans for the future as a guard or as the center who eventually takes over for Jason Kelce. 

Mack Hollins
Of the rookie receivers, Hollins was clearly more impressive this spring. I became convinced Hollins can play football in shorts and a helmet. Now, we'll get to see how he does when the pads go on. With his size/speed combo, he's certainly an intriguing prospect.

Union's Andre Blake helps Jamaica stun Mexico to reach CONCACAF Gold Cup final

usa-andre-blake-jamaica.jpg
USA Today Images

Union's Andre Blake helps Jamaica stun Mexico to reach CONCACAF Gold Cup final

PASADENA, Calif. -- Kemar Lawrence scored on an exquisite 24-yard free kick in the 88th minute, and Jamaica advanced to the CONCACAF Gold Cup final with a 1-0 upset victory over Mexico on Sunday night.

Jamaica will face the United States on Wednesday night at Santa Clara, California. The Reggae Boyz are seeking their first championship in soccer's North and Central American and Caribbean region.

Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake kept the game scoreless with a series of saves while Mexico dominated possession despite missing most its top players.

Lawrence's late strike froze goalkeeper Jesus Corona. The ball rose past a five-man wall and curled into the left corner just below the bar for the New York Red Bulls defender's third career international goal and first in three years.

The Reggae Boyz have reached the final for the second straight Gold Cup tournament, but this stunning upset at the Rose Bowl ranks among their biggest international wins. Mexico has won seven Gold Cup titles, the U.S. five and Canada one.

Trying to win its second consecutive Gold Cup and fourth in five tournaments, Mexico used the deeper reaches of its player pool following the World Cup qualifiers and the Confederations Cup last month. While teams were allowed to make up to six substitutions for the knockout rounds, El Tri coach Juan Carlos Osorio said he was blocked by Mexico's clubs.

Mexico hadn't trailed in the tournament before Lawrence's late goal, but El Tri also hadn't been impressive -- no player scored more than one goal. That lack of finishing skill ultimately cost Mexico, which failed to advance to the Gold Cup final for just the second time in the last six tournaments.

The crowd was dominated by Mexico's vast Southern California fan base, but the Rose Bowl was less than half-full with just 42,393 fans. The absence of Chicharito Hernandez and other top Mexican stars, combined with El Tri's unattractive performances in the Gold Cup to date, apparently kept many of their usual faithful at home.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino watched the semifinal from the Rose Bowl stands. So did Osorio, who served the fifth game of a six-match FIFA ban for his conduct toward officials during the Confederations Cup.

Blake made two brilliant saves in succession in the 12th minute, diving twice to stop close-range chances by Jesus Duenas and Erick Torres, the Houston Dynamo star and the only player on the current roster from outside Mexico's domestic leagues.

Blake did it again in the 25th minute, stopping Torres' point-blank header from the top of the 6-yard box with improbably quick reactions.

Jesus Molina sent Blake crashing to the ground with aerial contact in the 34th minute while competing for a ball in the box, but Jamaica rallied and forced Corona to make his own diving stop in the 38th minute off a free kick.

Jesus Gallardo's 22-yard free kick also was punched away adroitly in the 65th minute by Blake for his sixth official save.

Jamaica got a chance in the 56th minute, but substitute Ricardo Morris' 14-yard shot went straight to Corona. Damion Lowe got another golden chance with a sharp header off a free kick in the 78th minute, but Corona dived to swat it away.