The Flyers Are Probably Done, But How Many Times Have You Heard That Before? (And Other Notes)

The Flyers Are Probably Done, But How Many Times Have You Heard That Before? (And Other Notes)

There isn't have much to add to the sad tale of The Flyers Lose to the Islanders 4-1 on
Tuesday Night, the title of which alone is probably more than most folks
would care to read. We’ll simply caution in one small department: this wasn’t
necessarily the end.

How many times have the Flyers lost a "must win" this year and been left for dead?
Two? Three? A handful, give or take? Yet here we are, still talking about the
playoffs.

It’s not what anybody wants to hear right now, but then neither
is the statement Long Island has a better hockey club than Philadelphia. As of
today they do.

The Isles are getting hot at the right time, improving their
record to 7-1-1 over the last nine tilts, and since beginning the season 4-7-1,
they’ve been posting a 16-9-3 pace. That is a legit playoff team.

The Flyers of course do not look like a legit playoff team by any
means, but until additional contestants step up and seize the last couple of playoff
spots (or spot, singular) like the Islanders appear to have done, the
postseason is still up for grabs.

Unless the Flyers keep losing obviously. That will crush
their postseason hopes, too.

We thought they were finished on several
occasions already, but some of the competition hasn't quite been able to separate from the pack. Even though whatever remained of the Flyers' playoff chances was essentially cut
in half after this latest loss to New York, they remain the same number of points back of eighth place –
five – as they were entering Tuesday. So, ya know, they might jump right back
into the race with a few wins, because hey why not anything’s possible.

Then again, maybe the Flyers were out of the running this entire time.

Notes

• Steve
Mason started the game in net for the Orange & Black in a move some people
remarked could be a sign of a permanent change moving forward if it proved
successful. The fact that Ilya Bryzgalov played 22 games in a row had nothing
to do with it (not my words).

Anyway, Mason was okay in his first start for the Flyers,
stopping 28 of 31 shots in the loss, but fell victim to many of the same
problems as Bryz has. Poor backchecking allowed rushes to turn into odd-man scenarios, one
of which was even compounded by a little friendly fire from Erik Gustafsson.

Regardless of what the front office decides to do as it
pertains Bryzgalov, what is any goaltender supposed to do about this?

• In
a thrill that could probably best be compared to winning a buck off of a $20
scratch-off, the Flyers may have come up with the play of the night. Claude Giroux
found Jakub Voracek streaking into New York’s zone with a one-hopper from
deeeeeep in their own end, and Jake slipped the puck under Evgeni Nabokov as fellow
Islander Andrew McDonald crashed into him. Amazing pass, great finish, and
ultimately meaningless.

• In
other news, the Pittsburgh Penguins clinched the Atlantic Division. Cherry on
top.

>> BOX SCORE [Flyers.com]

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Best of NBA: Jaylen Brown, Celtics use 5-point possession to top Pistons

Best of NBA: Jaylen Brown, Celtics use 5-point possession to top Pistons

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Jaylen Brown sank a 3-pointer from the right corner while being fouled with 37.6 seconds remaining, part of a five-point possession for Boston that lifted the Celtics to a 104-98 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night.

The Celtics were down 96-95 when Brown connected while being fouled by Marcus Morris. Brown missed the ensuing free throw, but Detroit couldn't come up with the rebound, and Tobias Harris was called for a loose-ball foul. Marcus Smart added two free throws to put Boston up 100-96.

Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 33 points. Andre Drummond had 17 points and 15 rebounds for the Pistons, but he went 1 of 11 on free throws and was taken out for some key possessions toward the end to prevent Boston from fouling him.

Lakers crushed by Spurs in first home game since front office shakeup
LOS ANGELES -- Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs routed the Lakers 119-98 on Sunday in Los Angeles' first home game since Magic Johnson took over the franchise's basketball operations.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points for the Spurs, who have won four straight and nine of 11.

Pau Gasol added 15 points against his former team, and the Southwest Division leaders had little trouble with the Lakers, who have lost four straight and 15 of 19.

Five days after owner Jeanie Buss put Johnson in charge of basketball operations, the Lakers' dismal season still hasn't changed much, although new Lakers acquisitions Corey Brewer and Tyler Ennis got limited playing time.

Rookie Brandon Ingram scored a season-high 22 points as the Lakers fell to 19-41, ensuring their fourth consecutive non-winning season (see full recap).

Antetokounmpo scores 28 as Bucks hold off Suns
MILWAUKEE -- Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 28 points, Tony Snell made a clinching 3-pointer from the corner in the closing seconds and the Milwaukee Bucks held off the Phoenix Suns, 100-96 on Sunday.

Michael Beasley added 17 points and Malcolm Brogdon had 15 as the Bucks swept the two-game season series with the Suns. Greg Monroe finished with 14 points and Snell had 13.

TJ Warren led the Suns with 23 points. Alan Williams scored a career-high 17 points and tied his season high with 15 rebounds, while Devin Booker added 15 points and Eric Bledsoe had 11.

Clinging to a one-point lead, the Bucks came out of timeout with Monroe inbounding the ball to Antetokounmpo. He dribbled the clock down before passing to Brogdon, who whipped the ball to Snell in the corner. Snell hit a 3 with a defender flying at him.

NHL trade notes: Kings get Bishop from Lightning, Wild land Hanzal from Coyotes

NHL trade notes: Kings get Bishop from Lightning, Wild land Hanzal from Coyotes

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings acquired goalie Ben Bishop from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday in a trade including goalie Peter Budaj and an exchange of draft picks.

The Kings will pair Bishop with Jonathan Quick in a remarkable veteran goaltending tandem down the stretch of the regular season. Quick returned only Saturday from a 59-game absence with a serious groin injury.

The Kings gave up Budaj, junior defenseman Erik Cernak, a 2017 seventh-round pick and another conditional pick. Los Angeles received Bishop and Tampa Bay's 2017 fifth-round pick.

Both teams are scrapping to get into playoff position over the next six weeks. The Kings (30-27-4) are just outside the second wild-card berth in the Western Conference, while the Lightning (27-25-8) are seven points back of a playoff spot (see full story).

Report: Wild get Martin Hanzal from Coyotes
A person with knowledge of the trade says the Minnesota Wild have acquired Czech center Martin Hanzal from the Arizona Coyotes.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Sunday on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced. Details on the return to Arizona were not immediately available.

Hanzal was considered one of the top rental players available ahead of Wednesday's NHL trade deadline. The 30-year-old pending unrestricted free agent has 16 goals and 10 assists in 51 games this season and 313 points in 608 NHL games, all with the Coyotes.

The move signals an aggressive approach from the Wild, who lead the Central Division and Western Conference by three points over the Chicago Blackhawks.