Flyers Score Seven Goals, More Than Twice as Many in Previous Four Games Combined

Flyers Score Seven Goals, More Than Twice as Many in Previous Four Games Combined

With their season on the line, the Flyers’ offense suddenly
came to life toward the end of March, averaging more than four goals per game
during a stretch where they grabbed nine points out of a possible 10. And with
their season still on the line, Philly’s offense just as abruptly went ice cold
less than two weeks ago, only able to muster three scores over a four-game
span, essentially eliminating the squad from playoff contention.

The combination of which makes their seven-goal outburst in
Montreal on Monday all the more perplexing – against the second-place team in
the East and one of the better defensive clubs in the NHL at that.

It was just another example of how maddening it has been to follow
the Orange & Black this season. On any given night we might be treated to hockey
at or near its highest level, but too often only for a period or two at a time,
and some nights not at all.

The ability is in there though, as evidenced in
their 7-3 win over the Canadiens.

Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 25 of 28 shots, getting stronger as
the contest went along, perhaps even making a couple of his toughest saves of
the season. With the bench shorthanded defensively due to injuries and numerous
penalties, Luke Schenn skated a career-high 33 minutes, continuing to prove he
can be relied upon to carry the load at the back end. And Claude Giroux and
Jakub Voracek each had a goal and two assists, the one top-line connection for
the Flyers that has yet to lose its luster.

Quite possibly the biggest difference between this outing
and the previous 40 was Scott Hartnell finally re-emerging as a
difference-maker. Hartsy banged home a hat trick, giving him just seven goals
for the season after netting a career-high 37 a year ago.

Of course it is a condensed schedule, plus Hartnell
did lose around one month to a foot injury.

Injuries have been a theme all season long though. Multiple
players were missing for stretches, which at this point includes nearly all of
their defensemen who began the season in Philadelphia. Nicklas Grossmann, Braydon
Coburn, Andrej Meszaros, and Bruno Gervais were scratches for Montreal, and the group was stretched further after Kent Huskins was knocked out of the game in the first period and
Kurtis Foster received a 10-minute misconduct for coming to his teammate’s aid.

Yet not everything is about who isn’t in the lineup.
Injuries only explain away some of the inconsistencies. Take the Flyers’ power
play for instance. At one point it had ascended to number one in the NHL, only
to go six consecutive games without lighting the lamp, streak they finally snapped by converting on 3 of 4 chances in the victory.

Both the first and second PP units have remained largely intact of late. Maybe it was nothing more than a slump. Whatever the reasoning, they were firing on all cylinders here.

The Flyers found a way to win this one – and big – even though the occasion provided a few excuses to fail. Sure, Carey
Price hasn’t been sharp in net recently for the Canadiens, but the Orange &
Black got to him, chased him from the game, then continued pouring it on. Seven
goals match Philly’s highest output of the year.

What the front office is going to have to figure out in what
will surely be a taxing offseason is what causes these rapid mood swings. During wings like this the Flyers' level of talent is on full display. Now how do they
go about sustaining it from one game – or even one period – to the next?

>> BOX SCORE [Flyers.com]

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Eagles head coach Doug Pederson talks protesting anthem, Myke Tavarres doesn't

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson talks protesting anthem, Myke Tavarres doesn't

A day after flip-flopping on whether or not he planned to stand or sit during the national anthem, Myke Tavarres had nothing to say about this complex issue.

Tavarres, a rookie undrafted linebacker with the Eagles, told ESPN on Monday he planned to emulate 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and sit during the playing of the national anthem Thursday night prior to the Eagles’ preseason game against the Jets at The Linc.

Tavarres said he wanted to draw attention to racial inequality and social injustice with the demonstration.

"We’ve got an issue in this country in this day and age, and I feel like somebody needs to step up and we all need to step up,” Tavares  told ESPN.

But within a couple hours, Tavarres had changed his mind.

“Myke plans on standing for the national anthem,” his agent said in a statement. “Myke does not want to be a distraction to the Philadelphia Eagles organization. Mike’s goal is and will always be to make the Eagles’ 53-man roster and help the team win a Super Bowl.”

Kaepernick, who four years ago led the 49ers to the Super Bowl, spoke for 18½ minutes about his decision to sit during the Star-Spangled Banner.

Tavarres said at his locker after practice Tuesday he had nothing more to say.

“I made a statement through my agent last night,” he said. “If you have any other questions, please talk to him.”

Head coach Doug Pederson said he did not talk individually to Tavarres, a fringe prospect who is unlikely to survive this weekend’s roster cuts.

But he did discuss the broader issue in a meeting with the full team and said he believes his players should stand during the anthem.

“Listen, I can appreciate everybody's opinions and I respect everybody's opinions,” Pederson said.

“But at the same time, I feel that [the national anthem] is important and it's obviously out of respect for the men and women of our country that sacrifice in order for us to coach and play this great game.

“So I get it. I understand it. But at the same time, I encourage everybody to stand.”

If not yet suspended, Lane Johnson would start at RT in opener

If not yet suspended, Lane Johnson would start at RT in opener

The Eagles are just 12 days away from the season opener against the Browns. 

And Lane Johnson still isn't suspended. 

The Eagles' starting right tackle is facing a 10-game PED suspension once the B sample returns and shows the same peptide from an amino acid that his A sample did. Johnson expects it to, but it hasn't happened yet. On Aug. 13, after news broke about the looming suspension, Johnson said he thought the results from the B sample would come back in two to three weeks, although there's no set timetable.  

... Nothing yet. 

So, at what point do the Eagles, who shifted the offensive line in anticipation of the suspension, have to plan for Johnson to be active for the opener? 

"[That’s] a great question, and this is something that we wrestle with every day," head coach Doug Pederson said Tuesday. "The conversations are such that we've got to have — especially offensively — just have a plan ready to go. 

"I'll tell you this: If he's ready to go, then he's our guy." 

Since news of the impending suspension broke, Johnson has been working with the second team at right tackle. To replace him, the Eagles moved Allen Barbre from left guard to right tackle and inserted rookie Isaac Seumalo at left guard. Seumalo stayed there until an injury forced Stefen Wisniewski into the lineup. 

If there's no suspension and Johnson is able to play in the opener, things would then shift back. Johnson would take his job at right tackle, and Barbre would go back to left guard, sending Seumalo and/or Wisniewski to the bench. 

"I think he had a tremendous camp and tremendous offseason at left guard, and you kind of put the pieces back in place," Pederson said of Barbre. "We've seen enough from the Isaacs and Wisniewskis, and Allen over there at right tackle that we know we've got the combination of guys — and ‘Big V’ (tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai) got plenty of reps — to sustain this thing through the duration."

For now, though, the Eagles aren't treating Johnson like a starter. The veteran will be playing on Thursday in the preseason finale against the Jets. It might be his last game until Nov. 28 against the Packers. Or not. 

The waiting game continues.

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard starts despite awful numbers vs. Max Scherzer

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard starts despite awful numbers vs. Max Scherzer

Despite having awful career numbers against Max Scherzer, Ryan Howard is in the Phillies' lineup against him Tuesday night.

Howard, 1 for 18 with 11 strikeouts against the Nationals' ace, bats fourth. 

Howard seems to be coming back to Earth. He hit .357 with seven home runs, four doubles and 16 RBIs in his first 20 games out of the All-Star break, but has gone 2 for 16 with two singles and eight strikeouts since.

Jimmy Paredes gets another start in left field. Peter Bourjos is out of the lineup for a fourth straight game.

The rest of the lineup is standard. Odubel Herrera, who bats second, is 6 for 19 with five walks in his career against Scherzer (see game notes).

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