Flyers Top Tampa, But Claude Giroux Leaves (Video)

Flyers Top Tampa, But Claude Giroux Leaves (Video)

Excitement over the Flyers' fifth straight win is tempered with the knowledge that Claude Giroux left the game in the second period after a collision saw Wayne Simmonds' knee hit Giroux in the head. Giroux was low on the ice after a checking attempt, and Simmonds tried to avoid him by jumping over him, but his knee hit Giroux's helmet pretty hard.

Giroux would leave the game and go up the tunnel, and he didn't return. On Friday, the Flyers announced that Chris Pronger was out indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms, and Brayden Schenn's previously described upper body injury was updated to be a concussion as well. After Sidney Crosby missed nearly a year with concussion-related symptoms (and is once again being held out as a precaution), nothing could be scarier than a player having a possible concussion.

At least for now, Paul Holmgren is saying Giroux's removal from the game was a precaution. He will be evaluated again tomorrow morning and did not go to the hospital. We're not going to get too much further into what-if's until we're given a reason to.

llya Bryzgalov also left the game, departing during a stoppage in the third period. He went halfway up the tunnel, but returned the bench not long after. After the game, he coyly indicated that it was "an old boo-boo," and seemingly nothing to worry about. Sergei Bobrovsky finished the game for him, preserving the 4-2 lead he inherited before Scott Hartnell netted an empty netter. It's a least a good sign that Bryzgalov never took off the equipment and skated with the team to celebrate the win.

Video of the collision and more on the game below.

Game Action:
The question heading into the game was whether the Lightning and Flyers would once again play a trap vs. stall showdown. Tampa didn't stick strictly to the 1-3-1, and did send forecheckers more than we saw in last game. It may have had something to do with the fact that they just seemed to have the puck more overall in the period. They came out firing and controlled the tempo through most of the first period. Ryan Shannon opened the scoring, converting on a nice feed from Dominic Moore.

Although the home side looked pretty sluggish while chasing the Lightning through the first 20 minutes, a one-goal deficit was hardly much to worry about after seeing the Flyers win a pair of comeback efforts in recent games.

This is a Flyers team that appears seasoned beyond its years, with players young and old keeping their heads in the game even when they concede early leads and aren't playing good hockey. When the second period began, so did the game for Philadelphia. The Flyers scored three straight in the frame, with Danny Briere, Jaromir Jagr, and Wayne Simmonds all lighting the lamp.

Vincent Lecavalier scored on a power play less than a minute into the third period, but the momentum didn't tip any further to Tampa's advantage. Matt Carle deposited a great pass from Danny Briere just four minutes later to put the Flyers back up by a pair.

Hartnell scored a well-deserved empty netter in the final minute of the game, extending his goal scoring streak to five contests.

We still don't know the extent of Giroux's injury, but it was encouraging to see the rest of the team hold up so strongly in the third period. Even after last season's very deep team was blown up, they're at least as deep right now as they were then. That's not to say losing Giroux for any amount of time wouldn't be disruptive...

Notes:
Giroux had a pair of assists, including a sweet drop pass to Jagr. Simmonds is heating up, getting increasingly very comfortable around the opposing crease. His goal was a little dirty in that it went in off a deflection and total change of direction, but Simmonds is making things happen down low on a regular basis lately. His goal came off a play very much like an attempt he made against the Penguins, spinning down low and trying to send a blind pass to Jakub Voracek.

Simmonds was also very active with the stick. Briere's goal came off a great strip by Simmer, as well as a nice pass.

Jagr had an amazing overall game, and his goal tied him with Brendan Shanahan for 11th all time in NHL goals with 656.

Sean Couturier took Giroux's spot between Jagr and Hartnell in the third period, a welcomed site for fans wanting to see the star rookie play in an offensive role (although no one would have it be for this reason). Cooter nearly scored twice, both off of great feeds from Jagr.

Once again, the defense was pretty solid. Marc-Andre Bourdon and Kevin Marshall played well, and Kimmo Timonen continued to build on an excellent season. He did have a goal pass through his wickets before beating a screened Bryzgalov though…

Tonight's great soundbite came from Bryzgalov, who, when pressed by Tim Panaccio as to why he didn't return to the ice on a stoppage if it was only an equipment issue, as Bryz had indicated, gave up and just said, "I'm a bad liar," drawing laughs from the room. We're just glad his status can literally be called a laughing matter.

We'll keep you posted if any injury updates are made, but it sounds like we've heard all there is to say for tonight.

Video Highlights:

TicketIQ: Affordable seats available to see Sixers face marquee opponents

TicketIQ: Affordable seats available to see Sixers face marquee opponents

Editor's Note: The following is sponsored content written by TicketIQ.

The improvements have been obvious for the 76ers this season. Just months removed from a franchise-worst 10-72 record, the Sixers have begun to see return on their rebuild with rookie Joel Embiid leading the charge.
 
December will be a big month for the team as it looks to rise in the Eastern Conference. Attending an upcoming game won’t come attached with big ticket prices, either. With several marquee opponents headed to Wells Fargo Center over the next four weeks, including the Lakers, Celtics and Raptors, fans can find relatively inexpensive ticket prices on the resale market all month long.
 
On TicketIQ, a ticket search engine that pools tickets and data from over 90 percent of the resale market, the average resale price for 76ers tickets in December is just $58. That makes December among the cheapest months to see the Sixers this season.

 
With the Lakers in town for a December 16 game, it will be the only 76ers home game this month that commands an average resale price above $100. On TicketIQ, 76ers vs Lakers tickets own a $112 average and the most inexpensive are listed from $27 each. It will be the Lakers’ sole visit to Philadelphia this season.
 
The Celtics will be the Sixers’ second most expensive opponent this month, but their December 3 visit is currently averaging nearly half the price the Lakers are seeing when they’re in town two weeks later. As it stands now the average resale price for tickets against the Celtics is $69 with a get-in price of $13.
 
The Nets, Pelicans and Raptors are all generating similar demand for their respective stops in Philadelphia later this month. With all three teams visiting over a six-day period between December 14 and 20, no game will average over $55 on the secondary market. Tickets start from as low as $7 each to when Anthony Davis and the Pelicans come to town on the 20th.
 
For those fans with interest in attending the most inexpensive games at Wells Fargo Center this month, the struggling Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets will serve as the most affordable opponents to see in action in December. The Magic play the Sixers on Friday night, where last-minute 76ers vs. Magic tickets are averaging $43. Their next home game against the Nuggets have an average resale price of just $35.

Instant Replay: Magic 105, Sixers 88

Instant Replay: Magic 105, Sixers 88

BOX SCORE

One way to try to win a game: Go up by six early in the first quarter and look to build on that lead.

One way to lose a game: Squander that advantage and give up a 16-0 run to the opponent. 

The Sixers' effort to beat the Magic ended almost as quickly as it began. The Magic outscored the Sixers 21-14 in the first and put the game out of reach in the third with a 21-point lead going into the fourth.  

The Sixers fell, 105-88, to the Magic in spite of increased playing time for Joel Embiid (26:56).

Inside the stats
Joel Embiid recorded a double-double with 25 points (10 for 21 from the field) and 10 rebounds, as well as four assists. Jahlil Okafor did the same with 16 points (8 for 10 from the field) and a season-high 13 boards.

Aaron Gordon led the Magic with 20 points (9 for 14 from the field).

Nikola Vucevic also had a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double with five assists off the bench.

The Sixers shot just 6 for 26 (23.1 percent) from the field in the first quarter.

Embiid, Okafor play together
As anticipated, Sixers head coach Brett Brown paired Embiid and Okafor together against bigs Vucevic and Bismack Biyombo. 

They shared the court for 5:29 in the second quarter, during which the Sixers outscored the Magic, 12-9. The duo scored all of the Sixers' points during that span and combined for five rebounds. This combination allowed the Sixers to stretch the floor; Embiid made two threes in this spurt. 

Brown gave them another look in the fourth for over seven minutes when the Magic already had put the game away. This time they totaled 12 points and four rebounds, as the Sixers and Magic both scored 19 apiece during this stretch. Toward the end, Okafor was matched up with swingman Jeff Green. 

Injury updates
Robert Covington left the game in the fourth quarter with a left knee sprain after colliding with T.J. McConnell in front of the Sixers' bench chasing for a loose ball.

Jerryd Bayless (left wrist soreness) missed his third straight game. He is questionable for Saturday against the Celtics.

Familiar competition 
Before Embiid and Biyombo faced off in the NBA, they got to know each other before Embiid entered the league. The two bigs became friends in 2014 when they met training in Los Angeles while Embiid was preparing for the draft.

“He’s still the same guy,” Biyombo said. “Nothing’s changed with his goofy personality.” 

Up next
No rest for the Sixers. On Saturday they will host the Celtics for the back end of a back-to-back. Two days later, they play the Nuggets at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday.