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.

Best of NBA: Curry, Warriors demolish Cavaliers, 126-91, at home

Best of NBA: Curry, Warriors demolish Cavaliers, 126-91, at home

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors certainly looked ready to trade some more blows with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers come June.

The two-time reigning MVP hit five 3-pointers and had 20 points while matching his season best with 11 assists in Golden State's 126-91 rout of the defending champs Monday.

Klay Thompson scored 26 points with five 3s, and Curry made four steals. Draymond Green produced his third triple-double of the season with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists while matching his career best with five blocks -- and had another dustup with King James in the process.

James had 20 points on 6-of-18 shooting and eight rebounds, and he and Green became the talk once more as their relationship turned even more testy.

Kevin Durant added 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and three blocks for the Warriors in a much-hyped matchup merely weeks after Golden State lost 109-108 in Cleveland on Christmas (see full recap).

Thomas explodes for 17 in fourth quarter to lift Celtics over Hornets
BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas scored 17 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, and the surging Boston Celtics beat the Charlotte Hornets 108-98 on Monday night for their ninth victory in 11games.

It was Thomas' 25th straight game with 20 or more points. He's been putting up big final quarters of late -- scoring 20 or more three times this season. No other NBA player had done it more than once entering Monday.

Al Horford had 22 points, while Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder added 15 apiece for Boston, which has won all three meetings with Charlotte this season.

Kemba Walker scored 24 points and Marvin Williams 21 for the Hornets, who lost their fifth straight -- all on the road.

Thomas scored 13 straight points, pushing Boston ahead 93-83 with his 3-pointer from the left wing with 7 minutes left.

Boston led 80-71 entering the final period (see full recap).

Wizards remain hot with win over Trail Blazers
WASHINGTON  -- Bradley Beal scored 25 points and John Wall had 24 as the Washington Wizards took a page from the Portland Trail Blazers' playbook by hitting 13 3-pointers in a comfortable 120-101 victory on Monday afternoon.

The Wizards, who rely less on the 3-pointer than almost any NBA team, were 13 of 23 from beyond the arc in their 12th consecutive home victory. The 3-pointer-heavy Trail Blazers shot 8 of 26 on 3-point attempts.

After Washington coach Scott Brooks called Portland guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum as good as any backcourt in the league, Beal and John Wall outplayed them. Lillard led the Blazers with 22 points and McCollum had 12, but they combined to shoot 11 of 29 from the floor.

The Wizards have won four of their last five games (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Penguins halt Capitals 9-game streak with wild 8-7 OT win

Best of NHL: Penguins halt Capitals 9-game streak with wild 8-7 OT win

PITTSBURGH -- Conor Sheary scored 34 seconds into overtime and the Pittsburgh Penguins ended the Washington Capitals' nine-game winning streak with a wild 8-7 victory Monday night that included nine second-period goals.

Sheary had two goals and an assist for the Penguins, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Evgeni Malkin picked up his 11th career hat trick during a frenetic second period, and Sidney Crosby collected his NHL-leading 27th goal to go with two assists. Bryan Rust and Nick Bonino also scored for Pittsburgh, and Matt Murray got the win despite allowing seven goals on 28 shots.

The Penguins trailed 3-0 before scoring six goals in less than 11 minutes in the second period, more goals than the Capitals had allowed in a game all season. Pittsburgh led 6-5 after 40 minutes.

Lars Eller scored twice for Washington, and T.J. Oshie, Brett Connolly, Nicklas Backstrom, Justin Williams and Andre Burakovsky also found the net. Philipp Grubauer made eight saves after coming on in relief of Braden Holtby, who was pulled during Pittsburgh's second-period deluge (see full recap).

Eichel scores twice to give Sabres' 4-1 win over Stars
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jack Eichel scored two goals and the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Monday.

Tyler Ennis scored 19 seconds into the first period. Ennis returned after missing 30 games with a groin injury that required surgery.

Jake McCabe also had a goal and Robin Lehner made 31 saves after missing the past three games with an illness.

The Sabres snapped a two-game losing streak and beat the Stars for the first time in four matchups.

Radek Faksa scored for the Stars in the opener of a three-game road trip. Kari Lehtonen stopped 25 shots. Dallas has lost two in a row and six of eight (see full recap).

Bishop anchors Lightning to 2-1 win over Kings
LOS ANGELES -- Brian Boyle scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period, and the Tampa Bay Lightning opened a six-game road trip with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

Ben Bishop made an early mistake that led to Kyle Clifford's goal for the Kings, but bounced back to make 31 saves in his second start back from a three-week absence with a lower-body injury.

Tyler Johnson scored in the first period for the Lightning, who won for just the second time in seven games.

Peter Budaj stopped 27 shots for the Kings.

Both teams played without stars due to illness. Kings captain Anze Kopitar missed his first game since Nov. 20, and All-Star defenseman Victor Hedman missed his first game of the season for Tampa Bay (see full recap).