Bad to Worse: Flyers Dropped by Pens on Poor D and Worse Goaltending

Bad to Worse: Flyers Dropped by Pens on Poor D and Worse Goaltending

We keep waiting for the Ilya Bryzgalov who was "near-elite" enough for the Flyers to sign to a 9-year, $51 million contract to emerge from a decidedly subpar shell and at least pull his weight. The team in front of him has its warts, particularly on defense, but it is good enough to be a real threat if it can get some good if not great goaltending. Unfortunately, as we saw again in Saturday's 6-4 loss, that is increasingly unlikely to happen.

Miscues led to far too many scoring opportunities for the Penguins, but from the beginning, the Flyers were charged with winning a game in which they'd have nothing resembling acceptable NHL goaltending.

Matt Cooke of all people got the scoring started with the first of three poor goals allowed by Bryzgalov. He'd score again later and be named the player of the game, probably, disgustingly, deservedly so. The first two Pens goals were each on clean shots that Bryz saw from start to finish. The third came on a turnover and a weak defensive effort by Kimmo Timonen, again on Cooke, but Bryzgalov did little to counter the effort, sitting in his crease rather than pouncing.

Despite the Flyers ending the first period up 2-1 after a pair of gorgeous goals by Jaromir Jagr, and heading into the second intermission tied at 3, they ended the afternoon as poorly as possible.

Sergei Bobrovsky was called to action in the third, and although his three goals allowed weren't quite as bad as Bryzgalov's, they still left plenty to be desired.

Again, the defense was insufficient. Newcomer Nicklas Grossman wasn't a weakness, and that's at least a good sign. But carelessness with the puck was an issue, as were second effort opportunities.

Three third period goals put the Penguins up by a comfortable margin, although if anyone was going to tally a meaningless late goal, we're glad it was Wayne Simmonds. Simmer scored his eighth goal in nine games with 19 seconds left, again from the doorstep.

The scoring is not a problem. The defense, from the forwards to the blueliners, is. The goaltending is. Right now, the Flyers are about as good as their place in the standings. The skaters came to the defense of their goaltenders in the locker room, and they need to do a better job of that on the ice.

But they also need far better goaltending behind them, no matter how many swords they're willing to fall on with the press.

Video:

Notes:
The Flyers absolutely suck in afternoon games, now sitting at 4-10-1. That's more than half of their regulation losses this season, and they've allowed five or more goals in seven of those games.

Eric Wellwood had a fun first NHL goal, taking advantage of Dave Engelland's lost edge in front of his own net and popping one home.

One game after Erik Gustafsson became the seventh Flyer to score his first NHL goal this season, Wellwood became the eighth. 

Good god I wish this recap could focus more on Jagr's pair of goals. He looked so good early, halting his momentum to stop just fast enough to snap wristers over MAF's shoulders at will.

Nick Grossman somehow managed to be the only Flyers d-man with a plus rating, however much stock you give that stat. He also had eight hits and three blocked shots.

Kimmo missed some shifts in the third period. No word on exactly why, but it was not his best day, by far.

Another terribly reffed game by Stephane Auger, and the Pens have a right to say the same. When will the league 86 this guy?

How bad were the Flyers today? They allowed a goal while on a 5-on-3, one of two shorthanded goals they allowed in less than two minutes. Both came with Bryz in net. Humongous bad.

Midway through the game, the Flyers-Rick Nash rumors heated up again...

Bryzgalov's comments to the press should go over famously.

Phillies can exhale after bullpen nearly blows 10-0 lead

Phillies can exhale after bullpen nearly blows 10-0 lead

BOX SCORE

The moment when the ball struck first baseman Tommy Joseph’s glove for the final out of the Phillies 10-8 win over the Mets — dealing a major blow to their rival’s wild card hopes in the process — felt more like a collective exhalation than a moment of celebration (see Instant Replay).
 
Two days earlier, the bullpen faltered suddenly. A game-tying two-run homer by Jose Reyes in the ninth was the first body blow. The game-winning three-run homer by Asdrubal Cabrera was the knockout.
 
Saturday, the collapse occurred over the course of five innings as the Phillies let a lead that was once 10-0 slip away, one drawn-out at-bat after another.
 
Missing, of course, was the moment of impact in the proverbial slow-motion car crash, thanks to well-placed sinkers and four-seamers from Michael Mariot.
 
“The bullpen’s been sputtering,” manager Pete Mackanin said in an understatement.
 
Joely Rodriguez entered in the sixth inning with a 10-4 lead to face a string of lefties and it quickly became apparent that he did not have his fastball. A middle-in four-seamer that caught too much of the plate was slapped for a double by Mets shortstop Gavin Cecchini, his first major-league hit and a run. A second run scored when a little dribbler by third baseman T.J. Rivera died on the third base line, leaving Rodriguez with no play.
 
“He just didn’t throw quality strikes,” Mackanin said.
 
Even the normally-reliable Hector Neris struggled on Saturday. In his 77th outing of the season, Neris walked two straight batters and then surrendered an RBI double to Cecchini of his own which narrowed the lead to 10-7 and thrust the uncertainty of a save situation onto Mackanin.
 
Mariot was given first crack at the ninth inning one day after Mackanin said he would give Jeanmar Gomez a break from closing duties.
 
Mariot’s audition got off to a rough start. He gave up a pinch-hit solo home run to Jay Bruce — who had been mired in an 0-15 slump — with one out in the ninth and then walked Eric Campbell and Michael Conforto after a pair of grueling at-bats that lasted a combined 18 pitches.
 
The two hitters fouled off eight of Mariot’s pitches and took several four-seamers that just missed the plate.
 
“I was pretty upset about that,” Mariot said of the four-seamers that missed. “I was hoping to get at least a swing or maybe a call on those. Talking to [catcher] A.J. [Ellis], I think he said that they missed but I was hoping at least one of them to get called a strike.”
 
Gomez was up in the Phillies’ bullpen but Mariot ensured that Mackanin wouldn’t need to throw the recently-struggling closer back into the fire in a high-stress situation.
 
Mariot was able to locate his fastball when he needed to most. He fooled Lucas Duda with a two-seamer that the slugger popped out to Freddy Galvis and got Travis D’Arnaud to ground a four-seamer outside right back to him.
 
“I just told myself: ‘keep throwing strikes and good things will happen,’” Mariot said.
 
He threw just enough strikes to ensure that the Phillies didn’t end up on the wrong end of what would have been the Mets’ biggest comeback in team history.

Find great deals on Philadelphia Phillies tickets with TicketIQ. Buy cheap Phillies tickets with no hidden fees for all games on their 2016 schedule. 

College football wrap: Auburn upsets No. 18 LSU with controversial finish

usa-gus-malzahn.jpg
USA Today Images

College football wrap: Auburn upsets No. 18 LSU with controversial finish

AUBURN, Ala. -- Gus Malzahn was ready to try anything to get a win for his Auburn Tigers.

Malzahn relinquished offensive play-calling duties. Following his daughters' advice, he traded his usual game-day visor for a cap. And then, when the clock expired and LSU players were celebrating an apparent last-second win, the Auburn coach put all his faith in a ruling he couldn't control.

Daniel Carlson kicked six field goals and Auburn beat No. 18 LSU 18-13 on Saturday night after officials ruled Danny Etling's apparent last-gasp scoring pass came after time expired.

Malzahn said he knew there were only zeroes on the clock before the snap to Etling.

"I was pretty confident time had expired," Malzahn said. "It was just a matter of going to the booth and confirming it."

Etling rolled to his right and found D.J. Shark in the back of the end zone on a 15-yard pass, setting off a short-lived celebration by LSU players (see full recap).

Hornibrook proves he's ready in Badgers' win over Spartans
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- By the time Alex Hornibrook's first start was over, there wasn't much question about whether he could handle one of the toughest road tests in the Big Ten.

Hornibrook threw for 195 yards and a touchdown, and 11th-ranked Wisconsin turned its early-season showdown with No. 8 Michigan State into a rout, beating the Spartans 30-6 on Saturday.

"You've got to have respect for a guy whose first start is against a Michigan State defense," Wisconsin running back Corey Clement said.

"He's going to come out the next game and do even better. I think he's just getting his feet wet."

The freshman quarterback outplayed fifth-year senior Tyler O'Connor, his Michigan State counterpart. The Badgers (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) were the better team in the first half and then outscored the Spartans 17-0 in the third quarter (see full recap).

No. 23 Rebels find their rhythm, beat No. 12 Georgia 45-14
OXFORD, Miss. -- Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly faked the handoff and then took off running toward the end zone. A few seconds and 41 yards later, the quarterback had cruised through the middle of the Georgia defense and into the end zone untouched.

It was pretty much that easy for the Rebels all afternoon. Ole Miss finally built a lead it couldn't give away.

No. 23 Ole Miss rolled to a 45-14 victory over No. 12 Georgia on Saturday, building a 31-0 lead by halftime and a 45-0 advantage by midway through the fourth quarter.

Kelly threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns. Ole Miss (2-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) broke a 10-game losing streak in the series dating to 1996 (see full recap).

Dobbs rallies No. 14 Vols to 38-28 win over No. 19 Gators
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- This time, Tennessee delivered the comeback.

And in the process, the Volunteers took out 11 years' worth of frustration on Florida.

Joshua Dobbs accounted for five second-half touchdowns Saturday and No. 14 Tennessee erased a 21-point deficit to beat No. 19 Florida 38-28 and end their 11-game losing streak in the annual series.

"I didn't see anybody blink," Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. "Nobody flinched. They just kept playing."

This marks the first time Tennessee (4-0, 1-0 SEC) has beaten Florida (3-1, 1-1) since 2004. The Volunteers had lost to Florida by one point each of the last two years despite leading in the fourth quarter of both games (see full recap).