Flyers look to redeem themselves as they get another crack at the Capitals tonight

Flyers look to redeem themselves as they get another crack at the Capitals tonight

Following the Eagles’ clunker of a loss in Minnesota this past Sunday, a good portion of you may have flipped over to the Flyers game – which started at 3 PM -- to try and get some of those positive Philly sports vibes back into your system.

If you did flip over to the Flyers game, you saw them blow a three-goal lead with just 8 minutes, 40 seconds left in regulation and eventually lose to the Washington Capitals, 5-4, in a shootout to cap off a titanic dud of a local sports day.

As Liz Lemon would say, blerg.

But the Orange and Black have a chance to rebound tonight when they welcome -you guessed it - the Capitals to Wells Fargo Center for the second game of a home-and-home and a shot at redemption.

This sounds very cliché and generic, but what happened to the Flyers on Sunday evening in our nation’s capital was the result of an issue that has plagued them this entire season: the failure to play a full, complete 60 minutes.

It sounds incredibly simple and obvious but that’s what it came down to.

They had a 4-1 lead with less than 10 minutes left, took their foot of the gas and let the Capitals string together shreds of momentum. With as dangerous a team the Capitals are with the offensive firepower they possess, it was only a matter of time before disaster struck.

The Flyers played with fire and ultimately got burnt.

I’m not one to take solace in moral victories, but let’s crumple all that into a giant paper ball, throw it in the trash and look at some positives that have been around the team lately.

Before the game against Montreal last Thursday, head coach Craig Berube pushed Scott Hartnell down the second line with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds and bumped rookie Michael Raffl up to the top line with Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek.

It’s a move that has paid major dividends so far.

In the two games the trio has played together, they’ve accounted for four goals and seven assists. Giroux has two of those goals and Voracek and Raffl each have one. Raffl has three of those assists and Giroux and Voracek each have a pair.

I’ve read your comments. I know just how much you all love – I use that term loosely - Raffl and the way he plays. Say what you want about him but you can’t deny he’s producing on the top line.  I know it’s only been two games, but for a team like the Flyers that averages just 2.27 goals a game, that type of production is huge.

It’s going to be interesting to see if the line can continue to produce like that in the coming weeks.

Despite giving up 14 goals in regulation in his last four starts and facing his first real piece of adversity as a Flyer, Steve Mason gets the call between the pipes for the Flyers tonight. He’s played well in South Philly, winning his last five starts at home.

Overall, the Flyers are on a six-game home winning streak. Too bad that’s been almost cancelled out with a four-game road losing streak.

Braden Holtby goes in net for the Capitals. Anything interesting happen the last time he played in Philadelphia? I don’t remember seeing anything in the national sports media or any game show hosts commenting on anything that happened.

I’ll leave you with your almost-daily reminder of how this is a kind of important game because of how much the Eastern Conference sucks as a whole and how the Flyers are just three points out of the final Metropolitan Division playoff spot and just five points out of the last Wild Card playoff spot.

Instant Replay: Rockies 8, Phillies 2

Instant Replay: Rockies 8, Phillies 2

BOX SCORE

The Colorado Rockies laid the wood to the Phillies again Tuesday night. The Rockies hit three home runs en route to an 8-2 win at Citizens Bank Park. The Rockies beat the Phillies, 8-1, on Monday night.

The Phillies have lost four in a row, eight of their last nine and 19 of their last 23 to fall to 15-28.

Two games into this four-game series, the Phillies have been held to just two runs in 13 innings against a pair of rookie Colorado starting pitchers.

Starting pitching report
Zach Eflin had his second straight poor outing. He was tagged for 10 hits and eight runs in six innings. He gave up three home runs.

Eflin has given up 21 hits and 15 runs in his last two starts.

The Rockies got another good start from a rookie. This time it was German Marquez, who held the Phillies to a run over six innings. Rookie Jeff Hoffman held the Phillies to a run over seven innings in the series opener on Monday night.

Bullpen report
Mark Leiter Jr. stopped the bleeding with two scoreless innings.

The Rockies' bullpen has given up just one run in five innings in the series.

At the plate
The Phillies scored their first run on a bases-loaded walk in the third inning. Andrew Knapp homered in the ninth to make it a six-run game.

Rockies leadoff man Charlie Blackmon hit a pair of two-run homers against Eflin. He leads the majors with 62 hits. Blackmon has seven home runs in his last five games at Citizens Bank Park. He hit five in a three-game series last season.

Gerardo Parra also homered for the Rockies, who have the best record in the National League at 30-17.

Transactions
The Phillies placed outfielder Daniel Nava on the 10-day disabled list with a slight hamstring strain. He is expected to return sometime next week. The team opted for an extra bullpen arm and recalled reliever Adam Morgan from Triple A to take Nava's roster spot.

Health check
Howie Kendrick took outdoor batting practice Tuesday for the first time since suffering an abdominal strain on April 15. He could head out on minor-league rehab later this week and be ready to return sometime next week. Kendrick can play corner infield and corner outfield, so he could take away at-bats from Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders if they don't get going. Both were benched Tuesday night (see story).

Up next
The series continues Wednesday night. Jeremy Hellickson (5-1, 3.44) will pitch against Colorado right-hander Tyler Chatwood (3-6. 5.09).

More WRs, more buzz, but Jordan Matthews unfazed with Eagles

More WRs, more buzz, but Jordan Matthews unfazed with Eagles

After leading the Eagles in passing targets for the past two seasons, Jordan Matthews suddenly became an afterthought when the club signed Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency. There's even speculation Matthews might be available in a trade if a solid offer comes along.

The Eagles' investments at the wide receiver position this offseason would certainly appear to put Matthews' future with the team in question. In addition to Jeffery and Smith, Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson were brought aboard in the draft, all as Matthews enters the final year of his rookie contract.

None of which seems to concern Matthews, who described the trade rumors as "fake news" on Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex, where Phase 3 of Eagles OTAs was underway.

"I don't care about any of that stuff," Matthews said. "I feel like it's the NFL, if you think about it, everybody has a price. Those talks, they happen, so it really doesn't faze me."

To be clear, there has been very little noise to suggest the Eagles were at any point actively shopping Matthews or the fourth-year veteran is on the trade block. A reporter merely stated a belief the Eagles would be open to moving Matthews in the right deal. It was enough to get people talking, and once Jeffery and Smith signed days later, the rumors weren't going away.

Matthews' contract situation has a lot do with the reaction. Apart from all the new faces in the receivers room, this offseason was the first he was eligible to sign a contract extension.

There is absolutely nothing to report on that front. Instead, the Eagles directed funds toward Jeffery and Smith — who are viewed by some as his potential replacements.

"I haven't really talked to anybody about that," Matthews said. "I really don't focus on that too much, to be honest.

"I think you all know me by now. That's not really what fuels me, so it's like one of the last things I actually really think about. Whatever is going to happen is going to end up happening, so I just try to come out here and play hard and do what I need to do for my team."

Matthews turns 25 in July and has impressive numbers for the Eagles, recording 225 receptions for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns. Only six players in NFL history amassed more in all three categories their first three seasons.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Matthews will reprise his role as the Eagles' primary slot receiver in 2017, downplaying the possibility of a reduced role. Pederson also noted Matthews' tight bond with quarterback Carson Wentz.

Pederson also declined to make mention of Matthews' standing with the club beyond '17, nor is it really this coach's place to say.

"Jordan has been a big part of this offense, and he is still a big part of this offense," Pederson said on Tuesday. "He's got a great relationship and a great rapport with Carson, and Carson feels very comfortable with him."

Despite trade rumors, his contract situation and the simple fact the Eagles brought in a bunch of players who would gladly take his targets and his job, Matthews remains positive. In fact, he sees Jeffery and Smith making life easier for the rest of the offense.

"I'm glad, to be honest," Matthews said. "I'm glad to have Torrey, glad to have Alshon, the rookies.

"Obviously, having more guys on the field that have that type of production over a long period of time, they're going to garner attention. That's going to help me get free."

Matthews is coming off of his worst season, posting 73 receptions for 804 yards and three touchdowns. Much of his problems seemed to stem from the lack of options in the passing attack, particularly at receiver, allowing defenses to hone in on Matthews.

Furthermore, Matthews was plagued by an ankle injury for much of the season, from which he is still recovering.

"Still getting there," Matthews said. "An ankle messes up the whole chain. It's not like an upper-body extremity injury. When you're dealing with an ankle, there's a lot more stuff that you have to continue to get right from the back down."

Despite the increasing competition at the Eagles' receiver position, Matthews doesn't sound very worried about his ankle, either. Like trade rumors and concerns about his contract, that too will pass in time.

"We've got a lot of time," Matthews said. "I know I'll be good when it's time to roll."