Flyers Win 5-4, Even Series 1-1

Flyers Win 5-4, Even Series 1-1

The Flyers responded in a big way following
their 1-0 loss on Thursday night. They earned a much needed 5-4 win on
home ice, evening the series at a game apiece. There was no real rhythm
to the game, as the officials apparently were getting paid per whistle
tonight.

The teams were a combined 3-18 on the power play. I don't know about
you, but I was losing my mind with all of the penalties. It's playoff
hockey, let them play five on five. I don't want to see a series
determined by special teams play.

A wild first period ended with the teams tied 3-3. Claude Giroux got the
Flyers going early as he stick-handled through three Sabres before
beating Ryan Miller up high. It was vintage Giroux. Things got out of
control after that as Thomas Vanek evened the score. Dan Carcillo then
punched home a rebound to put the Flyers up 2-1. Vanek and then Sekera
scored to put the Sabres up 3-2.

Bob was pulled after the third goal, giving way to Brian Boucher. JVR
closed out the first period scoring with a nice drag move in the slot
before unleashing a wrist shot which beat Miller. The up and down play
was a far cry from the tight defensive affair we saw in Game 1.

Goal scoring-wise things settled down after that. Ville Leino did
what he does and held the puck longer than you'd ever think possible. He
used a Sabre defenseman as a screen before beating Miller to the short
side. Danny Briere's skate redirected a Scott Hartnell point shot to put
the Flyers up 5-3 heading into the third.

The Sabres, unable to take advantage of three third period power
plays, pulled to within a goal thanks to a goal manufactured by their
fourth line. Rob Niedermeyer whipped a puck across the crease, which
Cody McCormick banged home.

The Flyers clamped down after that and hung on for a crucial 5-4 win.
We'll have lots more on the fallout of Bob being pulled, the Flyers
continued struggles on the power play (they finished just 1 of 10 with
the man advantage), and the day-to-day status of Chris Pronger.

The series resumes in Buffalo on Monday.

Tim Quarterman: Ben Simmons at PG will 'work out well' for Sixers

Tim Quarterman: Ben Simmons at PG will 'work out well' for Sixers

There are only a handful of people who have played basketball extensively with Ben Simmons, given he has been sidelined thus far into his rookie season with a foot injury. Those who spent Simmons’ freshman year at LSU with him have firsthand insight into the NBA player he has the potential to become.

“He's definitely a team player,” Tim Quarterman said. “He's a pass-first person. He wants to see his teammates do well. I think when he comes back to play, that's what he'll bring to Philly. He's not one of those people who just tries to go out there to get a 100 points. He's a good teammate.”

Quarterman was the Tigers’ point guard during Simmons’ only season in college. Quarterman left school after his junior year and earned a spot on the Trail Blazers' roster. He and Simmons have different stories: Simmons was the first overall pick; Quarterman went undrafted. Simmons has has been out since training camp; Quarterman, while playing sparingly, has experienced live NBA action. Still, the two have shared in the journey of life in the league. 

“It's a cool process going through our rookie season together,” Quarterman said before the Trail Blazers faced the Sixers Friday. “Even though he's not playing right now, he's working to get on the court. I'm sure he'll do great when he gets back out there. I got a chance to talk to him last night. Everything's been good so far.”

The Sixers got a small glimpse of Simmons during training camp before he suffered a Jones fracture on the final day. He recently began participating in 5-on-0 drills. Simmons also has been putting up shots after practice and doing light courtwork during pregame warmups. 

Brett Brown has said he intends to start the 6-foot-10 Simmons at the one spot when he returns. As part of his multi-faceted rehab, Brown has been giving Simmons written tests in which he has to navigate various in-game situations as the point guard. Simmons played point-forward at LSU, where he averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists. 

“He'll be able to space the floor,” Quarterman said of Simmons at the point. “He can see over the defense and make passes that some little guards can't. He can defend. He can move his feet well. I think it'll work out well.”

It remains to be seen when the former teammates will both be suited up in the same NBA game. There is no timetable set for Simmons’ return. The Sixers face the Trail Blazers for their second and final meeting of the regular season on March 9 in Portland. 

“It's cool for both of us to be making the best of our opportunity,” Quarterman said.