Flyers Need a Turnover Intervention. Intervention!

Flyers Need a Turnover Intervention. Intervention!

With the Hurricanes, Devils, Caps, and Pens on the schedule to start the season, a 3-1-0 record is perfectly acceptable. But, I'm pretty sure most of us would rather that loss be to any of those other teams. Hell, I'd rather be 2-2 and have one of the wins be against the Pens.  

After the jump, we'll dispatch with any excuse-making. (Then we'll talk about a possible biting and watch a video of Chris Pronger throttlin' him a Penguin.)

The depth we saw on the 3rd and 4th lines in the first three games was washed away without JVR and Betts in the lineup. No excuse... If everyone's healthy except two lower line forwards, even though both are big special teams contributors and more than solid at even strength, that's still fairly normal in this league. And anyway, no one's blaming Arron Asham or Riley Cote for this one. Weak penalty gripes? No excuses... The call on Briere :14 into the game was an annoying reminder of what the league loves—powerplays and more powerplays, but the ensuing goal also wasn't the reason the Flyers lost. The Penguins were whistled for more PIM in the game anyway. Overall, despite the close 5-4 final score, the Flyers just flat out blew this one. 

Although they did keep it interesting... 

Braydon Coburn will draw the fans' ire in the wake of this loss, especially those of us who have maybe had a few HopDevils. He coughed up a couple of pucks that resulted directly in Pens markers, including an autogoal.

After seeing turnovers result directly in Ovechkin goals on Tuesday, and a mess of flubs tonight, let's hope it's not an enduring trend. 

Ray Emery was left high and dry a few times, and he didn't have his best game with him tonight to match the fleury flurry. 

At the other end of the ice, Marc-Andre Fleury gave up four goals of his own, but overall, way too many of the Flyers' shots were benign. Good news is, his chest will probably be sore tomorrow, and his glove got a lot of action. 

A couple of positives on the night: Danny Briere picked up two more goals, both from in tight. Jeff Carter also had a good night on the score sheet, tallying two goals and two assists. The scoring depth is there again this year, but it wasn't enough tonight. Honestly, it wasn't as close as the score would indicate. Any time the Flyers seemed to pick up momentum, the Pens scored like it was a free happy hour at Bootleggers. 

Mike Richards played hard, coming up with some big hits and clearly trying to steal back the game's energy. After the Flyers had scored with the goalie pulled, they threw everything they could at MAF, including Richards, head-first. The ensuing scraps are gonna make the rounds tomorrow. Update: They already are

First, Kris Letang claims, well... he doesn't publicly claim anything specific. But, it's assumed he told the refs that Scott Hartnell bit his hand. Hartnell says he didn't. While that was going on, Chris Pronger was ripping former teammate Chris Kunitz away from the action by his gruff. Almost have to feel bad for Kunitz, who just looked scared. 

It's gonna be a crazy season series, that's for sure. That's fun and all, but at least for the first game, the off-season moves aimed at putting the Flyers ahead of the Penguins haven't achieved that goal. Chris Pronger had a solid game at both ends, and Sidney Crosby was held off the score sheet. Malkin had a goal and an assist though, and for most the game, the Flyers couldn't match the Penguins' tenacity with and without the puck. 

We'll keep you posted on any developments stemming from the last half-second of the game.

No. 2 Villanova's run at the Pavilion ends at 48 with loss to No. 22 Butler

No. 2 Villanova's run at the Pavilion ends at 48 with loss to No. 22 Butler

BOX SCORE

VILLANOVA, Pa. -- It started with 9:37 left in the game with a foul shot by Kelan Martin, and it ended with 4:18 left with a three-pointer by Martin.

In between, nothing went right for Villanova.

It was a 5½-minute nightmare.

No. 22 Butler ran off 18 straight points against No. 2 Villanova, turning a seven-point deficit into an 11-point lead, and then hung on for a 74-66 win over the Wildcats, ‘Nova’s first loss on campus in more than four years (see Instant Replay).

Villanova has lost three games this year, two of them to Butler.

“You have to give them credit,” Villanova sophomore Jalen Brunson said. “They were just hitting every shot. As a team, we just didn’t really lock in defensively. All credit to them for what they were able to do offensively.”

Villanova led 49-42 with just over 9½ minutes left, but during that 5½-minute stretch Butler made 7 of 11 shots – including 4 of 7 threes – to take a 60-52 lead.

Villanova went 6½ minutes without scoring. The Wildcats missed six straight shots and committed two turnovers during that 18-0 run.

“Nothing really changed,” Butler junior forward Kelan Martin said. “We just stuck together.

“We knew we might get punched in the mouth today, it happens on the road, especially with a good team. We responded well and stuck with it and went on a run and just kept grinding it out, possession by possession.”

The loss was the first ever on campus for Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins and the other Villanova seniors. The Wildcats had won 48 straight games at the Pavilion since a 2013 loss to Providence. That was Ryan Arcidiacono's freshman year.

Villanova dropped to 26-3 overall and 13-3 in the Big East, and Butler – which had never won at Villanova – improved to 22-6 and 11-5.

One more Villanova win or Butler loss will still give Villanova the outright Big East Conference title and No. 1 seed in next month’s conference tournament in New York. 

Creighton lost Wednesday night to Providence, leaving Butler and Villanova the only schools that can win the Big East regular-season title. 

“We’ve got to have better attention to detail, and it starts with me,” Hart said. “On the defensive end we got exposed and it started with me and that’s something that we’ve got to have better attention to detail from the seniors and [have it] trickle down.”

Villanova got the lead down to six – with the ball -- with three minutes left and got as close as five during a wild last couple minutes, but Butler made its last eight foul shots to secure the win.

“It seemed like the last couple minutes took an hour,” Martin said.

Brunson shot 9 for 13 for 24 points, but the rest of the Wildcats were a combined 16 for 44.

Hart scored 18, but Jenkins shot 1 for 8 and 1 for 5 from three, Mikal Bridges had just three points and Donte DiVinenczo just six.

“They just played better than us in every phase,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “We just have to give them credit. Sometimes you come into a game, and the other team plays better. You try everything and our guys competed to the end, I’m proud of them for that, but we just ran into a team that played better than us tonight in every phase.”

Butler led 8-0 early, but Villanova outscored the Bulldogs 44-28 over the next 22½ minutes and took its biggest lead at 44-36 seven minutes into the second half.

But Butler – down eight against the No. 2 team in the country in a gym where the Wildcats hadn’t lost in four years – kept battling.

“I thought our guys played pretty loose and free and were able to make some open looks against their pressure,” Butler coach Chris Holtmann said. “They’re 15th in the country in defensive efficiency for a reason, but our guys just got into a rhythm and made some open shots.”

Martin had 22 points and eight rebounds for Butler on 7 for 11 shooting. Kamar Baldwin added 15 points before fouling out, and Avery Woodson scored 13.

Butler shot 51 percent and 40 percent from three. Villanova shot just 44 percent and 41 percent in the second half and made just 6 of 24 from the arc – 25 percent.

“Their physicality, we just didn’t handle it well,” Wright said. “We turned it over [and] couldn’t get any assists (eight on 25 baskets).

“They just do a great job of playing every possession. They get down, they don’t do anything different. They just keep grinding, grinding, and try to do the same thing. When they got down, they didn’t crack at all. They just kept executing.

“We didn’t crack either but we just couldn’t get buckets. We didn’t execute well and a lot of it was their defense. They were just a better team than us tonight. We made more mistakes than they did.”

5 things to know about new Sixers big man Tiago Splitter

5 things to know about new Sixers big man Tiago Splitter

Whether or not the Sixers keep Tiago Splitter after acquiring him from the Hawks for Ersan Ilyasova has not been determined (see story). In the meantime, get to know the newest member of the team.

Splitter already knows his coach
Brett Brown was working on the Spurs’ coaching staff when Splitter began playing for the team in 2010. Splitter was a member of the 2013 Spurs squad that won the championship the year after Brown departed to coach the Sixers. 

Another international addition
This season, half of the Sixers’ roster is comprised of international players. Splitter is from Brazil and played on the national team. He was unable to compete in the Olympics last summer because of hip surgery. Splitter also played overseas in Europe before coming to the NBA. The location on his Twitter profile is “Smwhere in Usa or Brazil.” 

First-rounder in ‘07
Splitter did not play his rookie season until 2010, but he was drafted in 2007. The Spurs selected Splitter with the 28th overall pick. He was chosen one pick after Arron Afflalo and one before Alando Tucker. That is the same draft in which the Sixers chose Daequan Cook at No. 21 and traded him to the Heat for Jason Smith. 

Splitter on the mic
Nik Stauskas isn’t the only member of the Sixers with a broadcasting resume anymore. Splitter made appearances on the Hawks’ television broadcast this season and also for a Brazilian network during 2016 Summer Olympics. 

#RAISETHE …?
Will Splitter raise the cat? He’s already raised his five-month-old puppy in this recent Instagram post. 

Será que esta grande o Buddy? #5meses #dog He keeps growing 😱

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