Flyers Looking to Avoid Lightning Strike in Tampa Bay

Flyers Looking to Avoid Lightning Strike in Tampa Bay

Now that the Flyers found their sea legs, they’ll be putting
their defenses to the test against one of the hottest offenses in the league. The
Tampa Bay Lightning are out to an early lead in goals scored in the Eastern
Conference, and are tied with the San Jose Sharks for first in the NHL in goals
per game, averaging 4.75.

Fueled by a potent offense, Tampa Bay is off to a Lightning-fast
start, their 3-1 record good for first place in the Southeast Division. The
early success has been predicated largely on their ability to light the lamp,
hanging a six-spot on two opponents in four games already, and dropping four on
another.

It should hardly come as a surprise given the name
recognition of Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, and Vincent Lecavalier, all multiple-time
All Stars that have made the Lightning a top-10 offensive club for years. Now
all of a sudden they are being aided by rookie Cory Conacher, an undrafted 23
year old from Canada who already has two goals and five assists playing
alongside the big boys.

The Flyers’ depth on the blue line will be under the
microscope. They held up well over the last two games, as Ilya Bryzgalov
surrendered a goal a piece against the dangerous New York Rangers and
shorthanded Florida Panthers. The new additions are generally holding up well,
including Luke Schenn who is tied for the NHL-lead in hits after landing 11 on
red sweaters Saturday night.

However, it will not be Bryzgalov in the crease tonight for
the Orange & Black, but rather Michael Leighton making his first start of
the season. It may be just as well. While Bryz is off to a fantastic start, he
did not fare well versus Tampa Bay a season ago, posting a 1-2-1 record to go
with an abysmal .814 save percentage – his worst against any opponent in
2011-12.

It could be a high-scoring battle regardless of who is in
net. As we mentioned at the top, the Lightning are dangerous on offense, but
they have had trouble keeping the opposition off of the scoreboard. Tonight’s
netminder is Anders Lindback, a second-year prospect out of the Nashville
Predators system. He’s off to a rough start in his first starting goaltender
gig in the NHL, allowing 3.67 goals per game.

Plus, Philadelphia’s old friend Matt Carle will be skating
against his old teammates. Maybe he can return the favor and slip one into his
own net tonight – you know, like old times.

In other news, the Flyers announced Scott Laughton will head
back to juniors,
ending the first rounder’s cup of coffee for the time being.
The team seems to be discovering the right combinations lately, and while
Laughton showed he can play, there doesn’t seem to be any need to press him
into the action at this juncture.

Puck drops at 6 p.m., and with a W, the Flyers can climb
back to .500 in what is already becoming a tightly contest Atlantic Division.

More: Watch Matt Read's hat trick and other highlights from Saturday night's 7-1 victory over the Panthers

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Joel Embiid questionable with flu; T.J. McConnell (wrist) upgraded

Joel Embiid questionable with flu; T.J. McConnell (wrist) upgraded

CAMDEN, N.J. — Whether or not Joel Embiid suits up against the Raptors tonight remains to be seen. He is listed as questionable because of illness and did not participate in shootaround. On Tuesday, Brett Brown said Embiid was dealing with the flu

If Embiid is unable to play, Jahlil Okafor would see more playing time. After four straight DNPs, Okafor started in Embiid’s absence on Saturday against the Wizards and had 26 points and nine rebounds in 35 minutes. The following game, he came off the bench against the Bucks (10 points, two rebounds, 20 minutes) without Nerlens Noel (sprained left ankle).

Noel went through shootaround and is probable for Wednesday.

“I know I can’t control what’s going on with all the DNPs,” Okafor said after shootaround. “I just try to work as hard as I can to stay prepared for whatever happens.”

T.J. McConnell has been upgraded from doubtful to questionable after he was able to go through shootaround with a right wrist sprain. He wore a splint on Tuesday but just had his wrist wrapped to limit swelling. The Sixers' medical staff will evaluate McConnell before the game to determine his status.

“A lot better today,” McConnell said. “Optimistic about tonight. We’ll see how it responds this afternoon during warmups and make a decision there.”

Richaun Holmes remains on assignment with the Delaware 87ers. He is currently participating in the NBA D-League Showcase, which runs Jan. 18-22 in Mississauga, Ontario.

Angry, awful human Chris Christie calls Eagles fans 'generally angry, awful people'

Angry, awful human Chris Christie calls Eagles fans 'generally angry, awful people'

When he's not battling bridge scandals, getting kicked off trainsfalling out of chairs, making trips to McDonald's for Donald Trump, or eating M&M's, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sure seems to be fond of insulting Philadelphia Eagles fans.

The oversized personality was at it again this morning when he spoke with the Boomer and Carton show up on New York's WFAN.

Christie is a well-documented Dallas Cowboys fan and again discussed his fandom and why people seem to care about it.

And in case you needed a reminder, the Cowboys' season is currently over and they didn't even win a single playoff game. Sad!

“I understand why people are interested if you are a public figure, as to who you root for,” Christie said. “They’re interested. But the hostility, I will tell you that I take for being a Cowboys fan — and this is what I say to Giants fans all the time, and Eagles fans. Now Eagles fans I can understand it from a little more because the Eagles do suck and they’ve sucked for a long time. And their fans are generally angry, awful people.”

He then goes on to say he's not a front runner for liking the Cowboys because they've been far less successful over the last ten years than the New York Giants. Mostly true.

You can listen to the whole interview right here. Via CBS Philly