Flyers and Oilers Duel as Trade Deadline Approaches

Flyers and Oilers Duel as Trade Deadline Approaches

The Flyers left Winnipeg riding high after a dramatic finish, heading straight for the sights, sounds, and of course lurid temptations of western Canada's hedonistic mecca, Edmonton. Hopefully they all made curfew and rested up, because despite the Oilers assuming their customary position near the bottom of the Western Conference standings, the Flyers could really use a win, regardless of the opponent.

The boys in Orange & Black are very much in prove-it mode, and they could use a few in a row to reverse an overall downward trend and build on the win over the Jets. The Oilers, meanwhile, might consider a name change to the Turmoilers (thank you! be here all week!), as trade rumors encircle talented winger Ales Hemsky again. Hemsky is a friend of Jaromir Jagr, and when talking to the Edmonton News Journal about their plans to meet for dinner last night, the Flyers' Czech star said he hoped Hemsky wasn't traded before then.
As we approach game time (9:30 EST), Hemsky is still scheduled to play for the Oilers tonight. Their top rookie, however, will not.  

The Flyers brandish a dangerous complement of rookie firepower, with Matt Read currently leading NHL rookies in goals, Sean Couturier contributing valuable checking line minutes due to a numbers game ahead of him, and Brayden Schenn now healthy and showing the well-rounded game the team hoped for when trading for him.   

Edmonton used the top pick in last year's draft to select Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but unfortunately for you Beastie Boys fans out there, we won't see The Bryz vs. The Nuge tonight. Dan Tencer, a sports radio host in Edmonton, says RNH will miss his seventh straight game tonight, marking 20 of his last 22 spent on the shelf.

The Oilers are still a decent scoring team, about average at even strength, and very good on the power play (4th overall). Not the best news for a Flyers PK unit that was victimized on each of three Winnipeg man advantages on Tuesday. Maybe the added time with newcomers Nicklas Grossman and Pavel Kubina will pick things up a bit for tonight's matchup.

Edmonton is coming off a huge 6-1 win at Calgary, but they'd lost three in a row and five of six before that. This team can lose in bunches, too. They've had seven different losing streaks of three or more games, three of which were four or more in a row.

Nikolai Khabibulin is another Oiler with his name in some trade rumors, though he too is out tonight with a groin injury. Either Yann Danis or Devan Dubnyk will get the call tonight.

Ilya Bryzgalov wasn't among the Flyers who stepped up to gut out a win in that shinny match against the Jets, and he'll be expected to improve on that tonight, making sure goaltending isn't a reason for a Flyers loss to a team they should certainly beat. His team can do more to help him out, particularly keeping the Oilers PP unit grounded, one way or another.

After seeing their effort on Tuesday, we're pretty excited at tonight's prospects. Will Wayne Simmonds continue to dominate in front of the net? Will the Jagr-Briere duo strike again? Can the PK bind up Edmonton's power play?

Some fun questions heading into what will hopefully be another entertaining game in the western provinces.

Brian Carroll's goal in 92nd minute gives Union draw with Rapids

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Brian Carroll's goal in 92nd minute gives Union draw with Rapids

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- Brian Carroll tied it in 92nd minute and the Union escaped with a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids in a showdown of the Western and Eastern conference leaders.

Carroll ran underneath Fabian Herbers' high-arching header and slotted the finish under goalkeeper Zac MacMath from close range.

The Union (5-3-5) responded only 5 minutes after the Rapids (8-2-4) opened the scoring on Sam Cronin's header in the 87th minute. Cronin made a deep run to connect with Marlon Hairston's cross from the right flank, redirecting it into the far corner of the goal.

Both Dillon Powers and Luis Solignac had shots crash off the crossbar for the Rapids after the 70th minute.

The Union extended their unbeaten streak to seven while the Rapids stayed unbeaten in their nine home games this season.

Chase Utley haunts Mets in Dodgers' rout at Citi Field

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Chase Utley haunts Mets in Dodgers' rout at Citi Field

NEW YORK -- Chase Utley hit a grand slam and a solo homer after Noah Syndergaard threw a 99 mph fastball behind his back, and the Los Angeles Dodgers went deep a season-high five times in routing the New York Mets 9-1 on Saturday night.

In a scene that seemed inevitable since October, Syndergaard was immediately ejected following the third-inning pitch -- almost certainly his shot at retaliation against Utley for the late takeout slide that broke the right leg of then-Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in last year's playoffs.

Plate umpire Adam Hamari tossed Syndergaard, sending Mets manager Terry Collins into a rage, but no trouble ensued between the teams. A longtime New York nemesis, Utley raised one hand slightly in the direction of the Dodgers' bench to keep teammates calm -- and later answered by doing all sorts of damage with his bat.

Kenta Maeda (4-3) shook off an early line drive that appeared to hit him in the pitching hand and threw five shutout innings for the win. The right-hander yielded two hits, both in the first, and snapped his three-game losing streak.

Adrian Gonzalez homered and had four hits for the Dodgers, who spoiled the Mets' 30th anniversary celebration of their 1986 World Series championship. Corey Seager and Howie Kendrick also connected, all after Syndergaard was gone.

Pinch-hitter Juan Lagares homered in the eighth for New York, long after the outcome was decided.

The stoic Utley is playing at Citi Field this weekend for the first time since Tejada was injured. The Mets -- and their fans -- were incensed by the aggressive slide, which led to a change in baseball rules this season designed to protect infielders in what some call the Utley Rule.

But the Mets had not tried to retaliate until Saturday night.

With one out and nobody on in the third inning of a scoreless game, Syndergaard's first pitch to Utley sailed behind the second baseman's back by a considerable margin.

Hamari immediately ejected Syndergaard, prompting Collins to come storming out of the dugout. Collins also was ejected after screaming at Hamari and pointing in his face during an animated argument. The manager was finally escorted back toward the New York dugout by another umpire.

After waiting near the mound with teammates for some time, Syndergaard walked calmly to the Mets' dugout without showing any emotion as the crowd cheered him.

Logan Verrett (3-2) entered for the Mets and, with a vocal contingent in the sellout crowd of 42,227 urging him to hit Utley with a pitch, eventually threw a called third strike past him. But then Utley homered on Verrett's first pitch of the sixth to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

Booed all night, Utley added his sixth career slam off Hansel Robles in the seventh, giving Los Angeles a 6-0 cushion with his 38th career homer against the Mets.

In the series opener Friday night, Utley was greeted with loud jeers and derisive chants. He had four RBIs in a 6-5 loss, including a three-run double that tied the score with two outs in the ninth.

Where are you now?
Tejada was released by the Mets during spring training and signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, who designated him for assignment Saturday.

Trainer's room
Dodgers: RF Trayce Thompson exited in the fifth with lower back soreness. He was replaced by Yasiel Puig, who hit an RBI single off Verrett in the sixth.

Mets: INF Wilmer Flores (hamstring) went 1 for 2 with a sacrifice fly in his fifth rehab game for Double-A Binghamton. Before the game, Collins said it was reasonable to think Flores could come off the disabled list Sunday.

Up next
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (7-1, 1.48 ERA) starts the series finale Sunday night against 43-year-old Bartolo Colon (4-3, 3.44). Kershaw, coming off a two-hit shutout against Cincinnati, is 7-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 10 starts against the Mets. He is 5-0 with a 0.64 ERA in May -- including a three-hit shutout of New York on May 12 at Dodger Stadium. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has struck out 55 and walked two this month.

Soul drop 1st road game of season to Gladiators

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USA Today Images

Soul drop 1st road game of season to Gladiators

The Soul fell on the road to the Cleveland Gladiators, 63-49, at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night.

The loss was just the second of the season and the first away from the Wells Fargo Center for the Soul. Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh completed 25 of 44 passes for 342 yards and seven touchdownsi in a losing effort.

The Gladiators were led by receiver Quentin Sims, who finished with 10 receptions for 114 yards and three touchdowns, and signal caller Arvell Nelson who completed 22 of 36 passes for 307 yards and seven touchdowns.

Next week, the Soul travel to Jacksonville to take on the Sharks on Saturday, June 4. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports and 97.5 The Fanatic.  Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.