Cool Shootout Bro. Flyers Lose, 3-2

Cool Shootout Bro. Flyers Lose, 3-2

In our preview, we hoped we'd be spared a shootout tonight in Colorado. The Avalanche have fared well in the trick-shot competition, and we all know the Flyers' history in it. Well, like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, we probably should have just kept it out of mind, because there it came, stomping down buildings along the way.

But, also like Mr. Stay-Puft, the shootout was actually kind of awesome, even though the Flyers lost. Regular readers of the site know I'm not a big fan of ending a game in shootout, and I'm not going to rehash those reasons here. Tonight, it felt like a fitting way to end a close but somewhat unremarkable 3-2 game, and the goals weren't hard to look at.

Notes and video of the action below.

Scott Hartnell got back on his goal-scoring track, netting his 16th of the season and seventh on the power play late in the first. With the Avalanche down Gabriel Landeskog for 4 minutes, the Flyers worked the passing lanes well and found open man after open man, culminating in Jake Voracek sliding a pass across the crease to Hartnell for the dunk.

The Flyers had yet to lose a game they'd been leading after the first period this season. That streak is over, due almost entirely to a poor effort in the second period. They were great in the first period, then flat in the second. The Hartnell-Briere-Jagr line had some trouble getting going in particular.

Landeskog would get his revenge, scoring the first of two Colorado goals in the period. TJ Galiardi had the other, although it was a total fluke play. Brad Malone appeared to be trying to get the puck back to the point, but it hit Tom Sestito's skate, then deflecting into traffic in front of the net and bouncing in.

The Flyers had some good fight in them for the third, but they couldn't crack JS Giguere until there were just 18.1 seconds left on the clock. With a flurry around the net, Briere emerged from his office behind it and slammed the puck in. At least, it appeared to everyone watching the telecast that he did. The official scoring still has Wayne Simmonds credited with the goal as of this posting. Simmer was once again ready to hammer away on the doorstep.

After a scoreless OT (much of which was played with the teams skating three a side), the shootout came. The outcome of this one might have been the same if neither goalie had taken the striped ice. All three Avalanche shooters beat Bryzgalov, and the first two Flyers (Briere and JVR) beat Giguere. But Matt Read narrowly missed the equalizer, putting a real nice attempt on net, but catching iron like a young Gordon Bombay.

Yeah, but a quarter inch the other way and he'd have missed completely…

Aside from the lapse on the first goal, the Flyers played some solid defense in this one. Hard to find anyone in white and orange to blame for the second, and the shootout, well, yeah, you'd like to see Bryz come up with at least one.

Overall, the shootout goals were all pretty nasty though. JVR scored on his first ever attempt, and it was a beaut, Clark.

How about this play from Braydon Coburn?

Harry Z tried to check Galiardi, missed, and went face-first into the boards. Wasn't pretty, but he seems to have been OK.

The Flyers are now a dismal 19-36 in shootouts…

Video Highlights, sadly including only the final goal of the shootout (we'll see if we can get the rest):

Sixers take lasting lessons from talk with Will Smith at team dinner

Sixers take lasting lessons from talk with Will Smith at team dinner

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The sprawling city skyline could have been the highlight of the Sixers' team dinner at One Liberty Place on Monday night. Instead, it was a surprise celebrity appearance that left them in awe.

Will Smith, who is part of the Sixers’ ownership, caught the players off guard when he visited with the team to offer advice and answer questions.

“Man, that’s one of my idols,” Nerlens Noel said following the first training camp session at Stockton University. “Everything he said I really took in and all the guys did too.”

Rather than entertaining the group with his acting or musical skills, Smith imparted important lessons that are applicable in sports. The 48-year-old has had decades of success across multiple platforms, and he offered pieces of wisdom that can resonate in any situation. 

“If you have bad people around you, that’s how people see you and that’s how you are,” Joel Embiid said. “He said to have good people around. That’s the main thing I got from that.”

The Sixers had differing memorable moments the morning after Smith’s visit, which demonstrated how many topics he addressed with the team. 

“He’s a good guy,” Ben Simmons said. “I definitely learned a lot from hearing him talk … You’ve got to look at things from a positive and negative with every situation.”

Jahlil Okafor was especially caught up in Smith’s appearance. Smith is Okafor’s favorite actor, most notably for his role in I Am Legend, and impressed Okafor with his character. 

“We already know about his accolades and how smart he is and obviously he’s an entertaining person,” Okafor said. “But it just seemed like he really wanted to be there to help us out. I just took away that he was a great person.”

Okafor also added, “It just helps [to hear from him] because the road to success is pretty much the same. It’s about being focused, it’s about knowing that you’re going to be knocked down, you’re going to fail. That was one of the messages that Will Smith shared, was expect failure but the main thing is to get back up.”

Noel previously had seen Smith courtside at Sixers games, and this was his first opportunity to hear directly from him. Noel listened to everything Smith had to say, from how to deal with the media to ranking his best and worst movies. 

“Never get caught up in too much of the negativity,” Noel recounted. 

While people view professional athletes as celebrities, the Sixers were on the opposite side Monday evening. 

“It’s hard to get starstruck nowadays,” Noel said. “But when you see Will Smith, it’s a whole different ballgame.”

Tonight's lineup: With only RHPs left, could Ryan Howard start every game?

Tonight's lineup: With only RHPs left, could Ryan Howard start every game?

If healthy, Ryan Howard is expected to start all three games in the Phillies' final series of the season Sept. 2-4 at home against the Mets.

He might also start the entire Braves series.

The Phillies' final six games are all against right-handed starting pitchers: Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz and Josh Collmenter in Atlanta; Robert Gsellman, Bartolo Colon and Noah Syndergaard with the Mets. That could mean six starts for Howard before his time with the Phillies expires.

Howard's batting average has been below .200 for practically the entire season, but he's been much better since the All-Star break, hitting .259/.325/.598 with 11 homers, five doubles and 25 RBIs in 123 plate appearances (see game notes). He went 0 for 6 in his last two starts but homered in each of his two previous starts to reach 23 for the third year in a row.

Here's the Phillies' full lineup Tuesday against Teheran:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Roman Quinn, LF
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P

Matt Kemp is out of the Braves' lineup.

1. Ender Inciarte, CF
2. Adonis Garcia, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Nick Markakis, RF
5. Tyler Flowers, C
6. Jace Peterson, 2B
7. Dansby Swanson, SS
8. Mallex Smith, LF
9. Julio Teheran, P

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