The Flyers have been pretty awful, but least the goaltending isn't the problem

The Flyers have been pretty awful, but least the goaltending isn't the problem

Ed note: Greg Paone is a decent guy and may or may not be writing about some Flyers stuff here moving forward. Greg writes ...

During my near quarter-century as a native Philadelphian, I’ve pretty much nailed these few things down as my birthrights:  the term “yous” is proper English, you’re not doing it right if you’re not jaywalking, the Roxborough Roll/South Philly Slide is a perfectly legal form of stopping at a stop sign, and it’s always the goaltender’s fault when things go south for the Flyers.

While the first three things on that list will always be true -- at least in my book -- the last one hasn't been for the Flyers this season. Not thus far.

The Flyers’ 1-7 start isn’t on the shoulders of goaltender Steve Mason. In fact, the story is actually quite the opposite.

Mason has been superb in the six games he’s started this season. The Oakville, Ontario native is sporting a solid .923 save percentage and an excellent 2.37 goals-against average. He’s given up just 14 goals on 183 shots against in his six starts, yet his record stands at 1-5.

Ilya Bryzgalov is smiling approvingly from somewhere on the Las Vegas Strip.

But think about Mason’s numbers this season for a second.

The guy is basically giving up just two goals a game. In today’s offense-friendly NHL, two goals against per game should mean more than one win.

But that’s how unfathomably bad the Flyers' offense, which has scored a league-low 11 goals so far, has been through eight games.

There’s also the whole defensive-breakdown-in-front-of-the-net thing where the opponent is left wide open in front of the Flyers’ net, but we’ve grown accustomed to that over the past few seasons. That’s nothing new.

It’s a shame because Mason’s return to his 2008-2009 rookie-of-the-year form has been one of the only fun things to watch with the Flyers this season. (It might be the only.) Mason has kept the Flyers in games they’ve had no business being in.

The most recent example was this past Thursday against the visiting Penguins.

At one point late in the second period, the Flyers were being outshot, 29-10, but trailed just 2-0 and were in the game because Mason was standing on his head. With the defense the Flyers were playing, it’s totally plausible the Penguins could have been up 7-0 instead.

Mason should be used to that predicament by now, though.

What do you know? The year the Flyers may finally have a legitimate goalie, they can’t shoot the puck into the ocean.

The hockey gods are so cruel.

Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Reds 3

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USA Today Images

Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Reds 3

BOX SCORE

The Phillies rallied for a 4-3 walk-off win over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.

Tommy Joseph won it with a single up the middle with no outs in the bottom of the ninth. The hit scored Aaron Altherr, who had singled and moved to second on a wild pitch.

The Phils have won just six of their last 27 games. Joseph has had a walk-off, game-winning hit in the last two wins.

In addition to Joseph, who also homered, the star of the game was the Phillies' bullpen. Four Phils' relievers combined on 3 2/3 scoreless innings after starter Jerad Eickhoff exited. The Phillies' bullpen is riding a 19 2/3-innings scoreless streak.

Starting pitching report
Eickhoff allowed eight hits and three runs over 5 1/3 innings. He gave up a bunt hit and a two-run homer to the first two batters of the game but took a 3-2 lead into the sixth inning. He allowed a leadoff single and a one-out RBI double in that inning as the Reds tied the game at 3-3.

Veteran Bronson Arroyo, back in action at age 40 after recovering from surgery the last two seasons, gave up three runs — all on solo homers — over five innings.

Bullpen report
Good work by Edubray Ramos to get two outs in the sixth to strand a runner in scoring position and preserve a 3-3 tie. Pat Neshek, Joaquin Benoit and Hector Neris each followed with a scoreless inning. Neris struck out dangerous Joey Votto on a splitter with a man on base to end the top of the ninth. He got the win.

Austin Brice pitched two scoreless innings for the Reds. Michael Lorenzen took the loss. He gave up two hits in the ninth. Joseph's game-winning hit came on a 97 mph heater.

At the plate
Cesar Hernandez, Michael Saunders and Joseph all clouted solo homers for the Phillies. Joseph has six homers in his last 21 games.

Zack Cozart smacked a two-run homer against Eickhoff in the first inning. The Reds tied the game on a one-out double by Scooter Gennett in the sixth.

Remembering Bunning
Jim Bunning died Friday night. Larry Bowa recalled the impact that the Hall of Famer had on his career (see story).

Up next
The series concludes Sunday afternoon. Zach Eflin (0-2, 5.36) and Scott Feldman (3-4, 3.99) are the pitchers.

Soul hold off Valor in 48-47 win, remain unbeaten on the season

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Soul hold off Valor in 48-47 win, remain unbeaten on the season

The Soul on Saturday survived a late scare and moved to 7-0 on the season with a 48-47 win over the Washington Valor at Verizon Center.

With 41 seconds left, the Valor scored a touchdown and appeared poised to tie up the game. However, a fumbled snap led to a failed extra-point attempt and the Soul promptly recovered the ensuing onside kick.

"It’s hard to win a game in arena football, but we'll take them any way we can," Soul head coach Clint Dolezel told the team's official website. "We are definitely happy with 7-0 and looking forward to this bye week to get healed up and ready to finish the second half of the season." 

Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh led the way with 148 passing yards and five touchdowns. Wide receiver Ryan McDaniel led the team with four receptions, racking up 49 yards, while Darius Reynolds had 54 yards on three receptions. Each receiver reeled in two touchdown catches while Shaun Kauleinamoku accounted for the fifth score.

Running back Mykel Benson ran in a one-yard touchdown while Chirs Duvalt returned a kickoff 58 yards for a touchdown before halftime.

The Soul have a bye week before returning to the Wells Fargo Center on June 10 to face the Cleveland Gladiators.