Caps Eliminate Boston, Flyers Won't Play Rangers: A look at second-round scenarios

Caps Eliminate Boston, Flyers Won't Play Rangers: A look at second-round scenarios

With the Flyers idle all week after being the first Eastern Conference team to advance while every other series went the full seven-game distance, we've had literally no idea who they might face in the second round. Depending on how the three game 7s went, it could have been anyone. Tonight, we learned that it won't be the Boston Bruins, who lost to the seventh-seeded Washington Capitals, nor will it be the top-seeded New York Rangers, as there will now be at least one team seeded lower than the fifth-seeded Flyers playing in the next round. 
Tomorrow night, two more game 7's will be played—New Jersey at Florida and Ottawa at New York. A mile from the first round of the NFL draft at Radio City Music Hall, the Rangers' season is on the line at Madison Square Garden. Of all these series, it's somewhat amazing the 4-5 matchup between the Flyers and Penguins was the first to end. Let the rust vs rest debate begin if it hasn't already.
Up in Boston, as if the game 7 drama weren't enough, the Capitals' win came in overtime, when Mike Knuble collected a blocked Bruins dump-in, skated it through the neutral zone and all the way to the goal, then put a tough backhand shot on Tim Thomas. Joel Ward put home the winner, and TD Garden fell silent.
A look at the goal, which was controversial, plus how tomorrow night's games will dictate the Flyers' second-round opponent, below.  
Knuble has had a rough season in Washington, often relegated to low-line work and plenty of time as a healthy scratch. His PT became a bone of contention with a vocal segment of fans, and he came through for them on Wednesday night. Knuble's always had a nose for the net, and let's be clear, if the Flyers got bounced on the OT winner that just ended the Bruins' season, I'd be livid. Knuble's momentum continued into the crease, where he made contact (nothing crazy, but contact nonetheless) with Thomas, seemingly affecting the goalie's ability to make a save on the rebound attempt by Ward. 

Credit the Bruins—they didn't linger or flip out on the non-call. They waited out the goal celebration and lined up for the handshake, and the congratulatory exchange seemed as genuine as this tradition gets.  
Last year's Cup winners and runners up are out in round one. The latter were President's Trophy winners, and the 2012 Vegas favorites for winning it all (the Pens) are also out. Gotta love playoff hockey. 
So who will the Flyers play?
If New York and New Jersey win, the Flyers play the Devils.
If New York and Florida win, the Flyers play the Panthers.
If Ottawa and New Jersey win, the Flyers play the Senators. 
If Ottawa and Florida win, the Flyers play the Capitals. 
It's still pretty wide open, but we know it won't be the Rangers. And we're not ashamed to be happy about that. 
Who do you want next? 

Temple cracks Top 25 in final CFP rankings, will play in Military Bowl

ap-temple.jpg
The Associated Press

Temple cracks Top 25 in final CFP rankings, will play in Military Bowl

After winning its first American Athletic Conference championship Saturday, Temple learned its postseason fate Sunday and it does not involve a New Year's Six bowl game.

The Owls will play Wake Forest in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Annapolis, Maryland. Temple also finished No. 24 in the final College Football Playoff rankings and No. 23 in the AP poll.

At 10-3, Temple has its first back-to-back 10-win season in program history. It's also the first time the Owls have been ranked in consecutive seasons. Head coach Matt Rhule now has 28 wins as Temple's head coach, tying him with Bruce Arians' for the sixth-most in school history.

Wake Forest finished the season 6-6 and on a three-game losing streak, but two of those three loses came to No. 2 Clemson and No. 13 Louisville. The Deamon Deacons have lost five of their last six games.

Flyers-Predators 5 things: Going for longest win streak since 2014

Flyers-Predators 5 things: Going for longest win streak since 2014

Flyers (13-10-3) at Predators (11-8-4)
6 p.m. on CSN and CSNPhilly.com

The Flyers have won a season-high four games in a row. They'll try to make it five Sunday night when they visit the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena for the second game of a back-to-back set.

Let's take a look at five things you need to know.

1. Streaking like 2014?
Not only do the Flyers have a chance to extend their season-best winning streak, but they're also looking to win their most consecutive games since March 15-22, 2014, when they also won five straight.

The Flyers have put up strong showings in the back ends of back-to-backs, going 4-1-1 thus far.

“You just have to have the work ethic night in and night out," Steve Mason said Saturday after the Flyers' 3-1 win over the Blackhawks. "And, I think we were struggling to find that. There are games when we were swarming and giving teams no other option, and other nights we were chasing the puck.

"We have another tough test going to Nashville to play. So, we’re going to have to follow up with another great effort.” 

2. A Provorov encore?
Ivan Provorov's confidence has to be at his highest of the season.

In Saturday's win, the 19-year-old blueliner scored two goals in a 31-second span to double his goal total through the first 25 games.

Provorov said he thinks defense first, but the offensive production is a good sign.

“Score one goal in a game, it’s a good feeling. Score two in one shift, it’s unbelievable,” Provorov said.

“Every time you score, it’s like a confidence booster."

3. Predators finding stride
After losing eight of their first 11 games, Peter Laviolette's Predators have gotten on track, going 8-3-1 since.

Nashville ranks in the top half of the league in goals per game (3.00 — tied for fifth), goals against per game (2.61 — 15th), power-play percentage (22.6 — sixth) and penalty-kill percentage (84.5 — 10th).

Last time out, the Predators blew a 4-1 lead in the third period for a 5-4 overtime loss to the Devils on Saturday, so they should be extra focused.

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: On Saturday, Brayden Schenn scored just his second goal in his past 18 games. Schenn can be streaky so maybe he feeds off that goal. He's also a career plus-4 against the Predators, with two goals and three assists in eight games.

Predators: Let's go P.K. Subban, who isn't exactly a favorite among Flyers fans. He's off to a nice start in his first season in Nashville with six goals and 10 assists, and eight points (three goals, five assists) in his last eight games.

5. This and that
• Flyers goalie Steve Mason is 7-7-5 with a 2.42 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in 20 career games against the Predators.

• Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne is 3-2-2 with a 2.91 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in seven career games against the Flyers.

• Claude Giroux is four assists away from passing Rick MacLeish (369) and Eric Lindros (369) for fifth on the Flyers’ all-time list.