Bobrobbery! Flyers Actually Win Shootout

Bobrobbery! Flyers Actually Win Shootout

Tuesday night's game between the Flyers and Florida Panthers seemed in many ways the opposite of Sunday's battle against the Boston Bruins. There wasn't much enduring momentum, with play choppy and not particularly favoring either side for very long. Both games went to OT, followed by the shootout. The outcomes were undeniably different.

Ilya Bryzgalov was unable to stop a single attempt. Sergei Bobrovsky stoned them all (and celebrated with an uncharacteristic dance reminiscent of Brian Boucher's can-can after the Flyers backed into the playoffs in 2010—video below). Bob was the story in this one, getting back in the win column after taking the rare loss against the Islanders in his last start.

Notes and video highlights below.

The Panthers opened the scoring on an early first period power play, a sequence that could hardly be pinned on Bob. The netminder made a pair of huge saves, but couldn't stop the third attempt, popped home by Mikael Samuelsson.

Brayden Schenn knotted it halfway through the period with one of those "just get the puck on net" philosophy provers. His shot was stopped by Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen, but sent skyward only to fall down Clemmensen's back and into the net.

Getting to the net was the goal of the Flyers' attack in this one, and Jake Voracek made it 2-1 with a nice tip off a Tom Sestito pass through a small window between Clemmensen's outstretched pad and the post.

A lapse in that mentality partially led to the Panthers' tying goal though. At 15:40 of the second period, Voracek had the puck in the Florida zone and went against the flow of traffic, passing backward to look for a trailer. The pass went into Panther sticks though, and the play was quickly turned into an odd-man rush the other way.

Former Flyer Kris Versteeg carried the puck up ice but ran out of room to make his move, then spun the puck back to the trailing Tomas Fleischmann, who made a quick turn and put it into the open net.

After a scoreless third period, there was some excitement in the overtime, but neither team connected. The shootout seems like an OTL sentence anymore, but the Flyers were able to steal their first in 10 months on the strength of a brilliant Claude Giroux goal and three straight Bobrovsky saves. They'd lost three this season, and six in a row dating back to last March.

Here's the shootout video. Watch how far Clemmensen ends up out of the net on G's move...

Flyers PR state the team has gotten a goal from a rookie in 11 of their last 13 games and eight of their last nine. Great to see that kind of production at any time, but particularly when the young guns are being called on to contribute even more with some veteran scorers out.

Giroux also took on added responsibilities, playing a whopping 27:17. He put up nearly 28 against Boston. 

The Flyers tallied 38 hits a game after notching 39. Twenty-eight were by forwards, including five by Scott Hartnell.

They didn't do so well in the faceoff circle though, losing 32 of 55.

Video Recap with JJ and Bill Clement:

The Rangers won (3-0 over Winnipeg) to maintain their lead in the division and conference, and the Capitals topped the Bruins to take hold of the Southeast Division by virtue of having more wins than the Panthers despite the same point total. The third seed currently has eight fewer points than the fourth… The Devils lost in a shootout to the Sabres.

Up Next:
The Flyers who aren't invited to Ottawa for the All-Star Game are off for a week. They don't play again until next Tuesday, when they host the Jets.

Eagles-Vikings predictions by our (cough) experts

Eagles-Vikings predictions by our (cough) experts

The Eagles are coming off two straight losses and the slate doesn't get any easier with the 5-0 Vikings coming to town.

It also marks the return of Sam Bradford, who was traded just before Week 1, paving the way for rookie Carson Wentz to start.

The Eagles kick off against Minnesota at the Linc on Sunday at 1 p.m., so it's time for our (cough) experts' predictions for the Week 7 matchup.

Dave Zangaro (2-3)
I'll admit, this game just has a weird feel. It has the feeling like the Eagles might be able to catch the Vikings sleeping after their bye week and hand them their first loss of the season.

I was almost tempted to pick the Birds in this one.

But I'm not.

Ultimately, the Vikings are just the better team. I'm not sure how the Eagles are going to put up points against them. And I'm not convinced the Eagles' defense will be able to stop anyone after what we saw last weekend.

They keep it close, but the Birds fall to 3-3.

Vikings 20, Eagles 17

Derrick Gunn (2-3)
The good news is Minnesota's offense is ranked 30th in the league and the Vikings' run game is dead last averaging 70.6 yards per game. 

The bad news is the Vikings' defense is a monster, ranked 2nd overall and first in points allowed at 12.6.

There is not a weak link in the Vikings' D and they are fundamentally sound across the board. The Eagles' defense vows that what happened to them at Washington — allowing 230 rushing yards — won't happen again. 

Carson Wentz got roughed up by the Redskins' pass rush, and unless the Eagles' offensive line plugs the leaks, more of the same could happen this Sunday. The Birds have every reason to rebound at home, but I just don't like the overall matchup. 

Vikings 20, Eagles 13

Ray Didinger (2-3)
The Vikings aren't going undefeated. You don't go 16-0 in the NFL with a 30th ranked offense which is what the Vikings have. Yes, their defense is very good. Going back to last season they have held each of their last nine opponents to 17 points or less. They are deep, fast and well-coached by Mike Zimmer. But the offense led by Sam Bradford coughs and sputters a lot.
As a result, the Vikings will play a lot of close, low-scoring games and somewhere along the line they are going to lose. It could even happen this week when they play the Eagles. Special teams could be huge. The Eagles have a big edge with kicker Caleb Sturgis. Vikings kicker Blair Walsh has already missed three field goals and two PATs. However, the Vikings return men -- Marcus Sherels on punts, Cordarrelle Patterson on kickoffs -- are very dangerous. I expect the Eagles to keep it close but in the end I have to go with the superior defense.
Vikings 21, Eagles 16

Andrew Kulp (2-3)
Which Eagles defense shows up on Sunday? If they can limit Minnesota's anemic ground attack, which ranks dead last in the NFL, this should be a close game. Sam Bradford is playing really well, but it's not like he's airing it out all over the place.

Then it becomes a question of how Halapoulivaati Vaitai responds to a rough debut. The Vikings pass-rush is fierce, so it doesn't get any easier this week. As long as the protection gives Carson Wentz a chance, that will at least give the rookie signal-caller a shot at making a few big plays.

For some reason, I like their chances at both. It's going to be another ugly one, but the Eagles do just enough to squeak by.

Eagles 20, Vikings 19

Corey Seidman (2-3)
I foresee a low-scoring game in which the Eagles are more competitive than some might think.

But in the end, the Vikings have the personnel and the defensive-minded head coach (Mike Zimmer) to get key stops down the stretch.

Vikings 20, Eagles 16

Andy Schwartz (1-4)
You’re still reading? 

Well good for you. Much appreciated. 

Because clearly I certainly don’t know what to expect from this team. 

But let’s forget all that for the moment and look at the Bradford Bowl. 

The Vikings’ offense is hardly scary (30th in the league in yards per game behind the Rams and Niners), but their defense is (second in yards per game behind Seattle).

The Eagles’ offense is hardly scary (22nd in yards per game), and their defense (sixth in yards per game) was pretty scary a few weeks ago.

So let’s look at the intangibles. Which team needs this game more? The Eagles. And they’re at home. 

But given the outcomes the last two weeks and that Minnesota is unbeaten and coming off a bye, it certainly makes sense to pick the Vikes, who are favored by 2.5.

Then again, the Eagles not too long ago were unbeaten and coming off a bye … and we all know what happened.

So I’ll say the Birds pull off another upset and remain unbeaten at the Linc. 

Just don’t bet on it.

Eagles 6, Vikings 5

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

It appears the Sixers' frontcourt logjam may not be an issue early on.

Nerlens Noel, who is having surgery Monday for an inflamed plica in his left knee, will miss the first three to five weeks of the season, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Noel suffered a left groin injury in the first preseason game against the Celtics and missed the rest of the preseason. While undergoing treatment, Noel reported left knee soreness, which led to the discovery of the inflamed plica.

It's been an odd start to the season for Noel. The big man was outspoken about his displeasure with the Sixers' frontcourt situation early in camp. With the deadline for Noel's rookie contract extension approaching on Oct. 31, the team has not had conversations about it, according to a report.

The Sixers are already without No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons as he recovers from surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot. The team will also be without their starting point guard Jerryd Bayless who is dealing with a ligament issue in his left wrist. Bayless won't require surgery and will be reevaluated in two weeks.