Game 29What's Left of Flyers Visit Capitals in DC

Game 29What's Left of Flyers Visit Capitals in DC

With the news
coming over the wire today that Claude Giroux's Hart Trophy campaign has
been interrupted by a concussion, placing the team's best offensive
player alongside Chris Pronger in the abyss of indefiniteness, the
feeling among fans going into tonight's matchup with the Washington
Capitals is muted. We're not riding high on first place, a five-game
winning streak, or having the NHL scoring leader as our top centerman.
We're wondering how long "indefinitely" equates to in terms of days on a
calendar and games on a schedule.

The scariest word in sports right now is Concussion, and the Flyers
are without three key players tonight because of it. We've already
discussed the concussion thing a few times, and we'll get into it more
in the coming days and possibly weeks. But tonight, there's what could
be a very fun game in DC, the flames of a Patrick Division rivalry to
stoke.

Our title is perhaps a bit melodramatic; the Flyers may be without
their top offensive and defensive players, respectively, but they still
have every bit a team that should be expected to be in every game they
play.

Cooter
Rookie Sean Couturier filled in for Giroux between Scott
Hartnell and Jarormir Jagr, and he will presumably do so again tonight,
at least to start. Hopefully his veteran linemates can get his offensive
career going after spending most of his minutes as a low-liner and
penalty killer so far. Those minutes could serve him well in handling
expanded duties, provided his natural scoring abilities click as well.

Bryz Again
Peter Laviolette will stick with Ilya Bryzgalov in net, we hope sending him a message that he is the man for the long haul.

Dale Hunter Era
It's
kind of awesome and amazing that we'll see Dale Hunter behind the bench
for the Caps tonight. If that isn't the most 'hockey' thing… Tough and
talented, his number in the rafters, Hunter will be remembered by many
hockey fans for one of the dirtiest hits the sport has ever seen. But
most also know he was a smart player, a legend in a hockey town that had
few, and he's said to be a pretty good coach. The Bruce Boudreau Era
was a significant one in Capitals history, in that the Capitals were
significant for its duration. That hasn't always been the case. Whether
Hunter can take them beyond that, and beyond the first round of the
playoffs, is what everyone's wondering now. The Caps certainly didn't
get any less interesting in bring Dale to the bench. [More from the WaPo]

Another Jagr Reunion
We haven't heard nearly as much about Jagr
facing this former club as we did last week when he suited up in Orange
& Black to face the Penguins, but Jags did don that hideous Capitals
eagle jersey for a few seasons before being dealt to the Rangers.
Former Flyers scribe Chuck Gormley has more on that dynamic here. [CSN
Washington
]

Hopefully we'll have another win to talk about in the comments tonight, and not just e-prayers that our guys are okay.

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 Wake Forest in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Annapolis, Maryland. 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.

Wake Forest finished the season 6-6 and on a three-game losing streak, but two of those three loses came to No. 2 Clemson and No. 13 Louisville. The Deamon Deacons have lost five of their last six games.

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.