Flyers Take New-Look D on 10-Day Road Trip

Flyers Take New-Look D on 10-Day Road Trip

With the Flyers
struggles at home this season, a week and a half on planes and in hotel
rooms seems to be more welcome than usual. They'll make four stops,
starting tonight in Winnipeg, then moving on to Edmonton for a Thursday
night game, Calgary on Saturday night, and wrapping up in San Jose a
week from tonight.

It's a good time for a bonding experience, with two new faces added
to the mix. Of course, with the deadline coming while the team is on the
road, we may have seen a current Flyer or two for the last time. A
quick look at the new-look, below.

Although at least one beat writer opined that the Flyers might be
better off as sellers this trading season, it appears as if they
disagree. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise, as it's exceedingly
rare to see the Flyers play the seller's role in February. Frank
Seravalli made his point well—the Flyers haven't looked like a true contender
for some time, clearly a notch below the likes of the Rangers and Red
Wings. But there's still time for that to change, one way or another,
and the front office appears committed to keeping the throttle open.

The names Nicklas Grossman and Pavel Kubina may not scream "Cup
contender," but the nature of the acquisitions shows the team's thinking
fairly clearly. Gone are the two rookie faces getting regular ice time
on the Flyers blue line, replaced by a pair of veterans with differing
skill sets. Although both are fairly large in stature, Grossman is a
stay-at-home defender who contributes on the PK. Kubina is more of a
puck-mover, and also adds a righthanded shot at the point on the power
play and at even strength. Timmy P has more on what Kubina brings to the
table here
. While he's not necessarily being compared to Eric
Desjardins in terms of current skill, it's nice to hear Rico invoked,
and it'll be even better when a RH one-timer catches twine. Now 34,
Kubina's numbers on the season aren't jaw-dropping. But, a move to a
more aggressive offensive system could result in some more goal scoring,
something the Flyers could use from their blue line.

Two other things of note with these acquisitions and what they
(presumably) mean about the Flyers short- and long-term planning. First,
that two mid-level defenseman were targeted and acquired without giving
up an NHL-rostered player likely indicates that they're unlikely to be
straight-up selling anything this week, unless it's something they think
they can win without.

Second, neither Grossman, 27, nor Kubina, 34, is under contract for
next season. Both could prove to be mere rentals, which would certainly
indicate the Flyers' goals for the season, though Kubina has already
said he'd like to sign an extension here. Neither player is set to command the high end of the defense market spending, so if the Flyers want to hang onto one (or possibly both) of them, they can probably do so before free agency opens.

Aside from trying to read the tea leaves on what the Flyers will
attempt between now and the deadline or with contract negotiations, the road trip will give us all a
look at whether the two new defenders will have the desired calming
effect in the defensive zone. Suter and Weber they are not, but in all
likelihood, they are an upgrade from combinations including Marc-Andre
Bourdon and Erik Gustafsson—though that isn't a slight on the latter two
players—as well as Andreas Lilja.

Tonight, the Flyers will try to reverse their fortunes against a
Winnipeg Jets team that has had their number so far this season, winning
the first three meetings. The Jets have won three straight and five of
their last seven, situating them right on the playoff bubble. Blake
Wheeler is on fire, scoring a goal and assisting on another in the Jets'
4-2 win over the Bruins on Friday, then collecting four assists in a
5-1 win over the Avalanche on Monday. 

Stanley Cup Final: Penguins come alive late in third to steal Game 1 vs. Predators

Stanley Cup Final: Penguins come alive late in third to steal Game 1 vs. Predators

BOX SCORE

Jake Guentzel broke a 37-minute shot drought to score the winning goal in the final minutes as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators 5-3 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.

The Penguins jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead on goals by Evgeni Malkin, Conor Sheary and then Nick Bonino, when the puck went in off Nashville's Mattias Ekholm. The defending Cup champions then didn't have a shot for exactly 37 minutes as the Predators roared back to tie the score at 3.

Nashville got goals from Ryan Ellis, Colton Sissons and Frederick Gaudreau as it dominated Pittsburgh in the second period and most of the third. A waved-off goal by P.K. Subban in the first period on a coach's challenge loomed large when Guentzel beat Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne with 3:17 left in the third on the Penguins' ninth shot.

Bonino sealed it with an empty-netter.

Pittsburgh had the fewest shots by a winning team in a Cup Final game with 12.

Best of MLB: White Sox beat Red sox, spoil David Price's uneven season debut

Best of MLB: White Sox beat Red sox, spoil David Price's uneven season debut

CHICAGO -- Red Sox lefty David Price had an uneven season debut while Melky Cabrera homered and drove in four runs, helping the Chicago White Sox rally past Boston 5-4 on Monday.

Price, who missed the first part of the year with a left elbow strain, threw 88 pitches in five innings. The former AL Cy Young Award winner gave up two hits, including Cabrera's three-run homer, walked two and hit two batters. He also struck out four.

Price was in line for the win before Kevan Smith hit an RBI double off Matt Barnes (3-2) in the seventh, tying it at 4. Cabrera had an RBI single with two outs.

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia injured his wrist in the first inning and exited in the second. He was hurt trying to beat out a hit when first baseman Jose Abreu slid into the bag and Pedroia fell over him.

Juan Minaya (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning and David Robertson closed for his eighth save in nine chances (see full recap).

Astros use 11-run eighth inning to cruise past Twins, 16-8
MINNEAPOLIS -- Carlos Beltran homered and singled during an 11-run burst in the eighth inning against Minnesota's beleaguered bullpen, and the Houston Astros overwhelmed the Twins 16-8 Monday in a matchup of AL division leaders.

The Astros combined eight hits, two walks, a hitter batter and a balk in the eighth to rally from an 8-2 deficit. The Twins tried three pitchers in the inning, a day after they used eight relievers in a 15-inning loss to Tampa Bay.

Beltran finished with four hits and Carlos Correa had three, including a home run. Alex Bregman also homered for Houston, which had a season-high 18 hits, 13 of them in the last two innings.

Jordan Jankowski (1-0) got his first major league win with 2 1/3 innings in relief of starter Brad Peacock. He allowed four earned runs and gave up home runs to Miguel Sano and Robbie Grossman but he benefitted from the Houston hit parade.

Craig Breslow (1-1) took the loss (see full recap).

Blue Jays pound Reds, 17-2
TORONTO -- Troy Tulowitzki hit his fourth career grand slam, Marcus Stroman won his fifth straight decision to help the Toronto Blue Jays rout the Cincinnati Reds 17-2 on Monday night.

Justin Smoak hit a three-run homer and Russell Martin added a two-run shot for the Blue Jays, who have 43 home runs in May.

Smoak had four RBIs while Martin went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a walk. Toronto's 23 hits were a season-best. The Blue Jays had a franchise-high 25 hits against Texas on Aug. 9, 1999.

Ezequiel Carrera went 4-for-4 with a walk and Devon Travis had four hits, extending his hitting streak to 13, as the Blue Jays won for the sixth time in seven games.

Adam Duvall hit a solo home run for Cincinnati, his third homer in two games and fifth in the past five.