Flyers in Jersey for Celebration of a Wide Open Atlantic

Flyers in Jersey for Celebration of a Wide Open Atlantic

Not long ago, the Rangers' lead over the Atlantic Division, and with it the Eastern Conference, seemed insurmountable. Now, after winning their ninth straight, the Penguins are absolutely in striking distance, and after their fifth consecutive win, the Flyers are just four back of the Pens heading into tonight's game against the Devils. Jersey, though having played one more game, is just two points back of the Flyers. 
The Rangers have slowed their pace, losing three straight, and the Bruins have fallen off as well. The top three Eastern teams in terms of points are all from the Atlantic, and NJ is tied with Boston heading into tonight. The Rags will resume winning again, and the impressive Pens and Flyers will lose a few games eventually, but the middle of the pack is climbing the standings ladder, and we're in for an exciting every-game-counts finish to the season. 
Tonight's action pits the currently 5th seeded Flyers against the 6th seeded Devils at 7PM. 
For the most part, no one is playing for seeding aside from a desire to steal the division. Everyone's just trying to get their game in order for the postseason regardless of matchup. These games have some added interest though in that a pair of Atlantic could teams could square off as the 4-5 pairing. 
How do you like the Flyers' chances against Pittsburgh or New Jersey in a seven-game series?
We'll get a good look at Lou Lam's boys with back-to-back games tonight and Tuesday. The Devils have won four of their last five after losing four in a row. Last night, they too were scoreless against the Islanders through two periods, and the Isles had the game within reach after John Tavares scored in the third. But David Clarkson equalized with less than two minutes to play, and Marek Zidlicky put the Devils ahead 14 seconds later. Thanks a lot, Islanders. 
After not getting a single power play last night, the Flyers face the league's top killing unit tonight. Hopefully we'll at least get a shot at them. 
Gotta be a tough call for Peter Laviolette as to who should start in net. Ilya Bryzgalov has gone 11 straight without a break, but he's playing out of his mind right now, currently riding a pair of consecutive shutouts, with three in his past four games. 
Who do you go with in net in this important matchup? The locked-in netminder or the backup who could use a turn? [UPDATE: Sam Carchidi says Bob goes tonight]
The schedule remains jam-packed, with games Tuesday and Thursday, and two battles looming next weekend—in Boston and hosting Pittsburgh. If the Flyers can keep playing at this level, and get healthy, it should be pretty entertaining. 

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 in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Annapolis, Maryland. Their opponent will be announced at 4 p.m. 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.

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.