Game 32Flyers Out to Get Past Bruins Loss, But Not Forget It

Game 32Flyers Out to Get Past Bruins Loss, But Not Forget It

There's probably not a whole lot of small details or minor lessons the Flyers or any of us fans want to remember about Saturday's absolute ass-kicking at the hands of the Boston Bruins. One thing's for sure though, while they need to move on and play as if that game didn't happen, it was a good wake-up call that they're not quite where they need to be. Right now, they're good enough to have a fun regular season ride with all the usual ups and downs. But are they good enough to make a deep playoff run, or go all the way to a Cup?

While it was only one game, that 6-0 loss to last year's champs was indeed a measuring stick, and the Flyers came up very short. Of course, they were without some key players, including their top forward and top defenseman, and it appears we'll get the former back soon. But the latter may never be, and Saturday should show the Flyers the level they need to aspire for between now and, way down the road, the playoffs.

The road continues in Denver tonight, where the Flyers begin a five-game road trip with a 9PM start against the Avalanche. A former Cup-winning goalie tandem highlights the storylines.

Goalies
Ilya Bryzgalov will try to put a five-goal performance behind him and get back to his winning ways. He'll face JS Giguere, the man he once served as a backup to when both played for the Anaheim Ducks. Remember the degree to which Giggy's star was on the rise back then?

Beat Boxing
One of the many things that went wrong for the Flyers on Saturday was a woeful performance on the penalty kill (although it's not easy when you're down two men). They'll have to either stay out of the box (preferred) or improve in that regard, because despite not having much in the way of a dangerous even strength attack, the Avalanche are among the league's best on the power play.

The Flyers' PP wasn't too hot against the Bruins either, failing to score on six opportunities. It's somewhat understandable, as the roster has been shaken up without Pronger and Giroux, who each play PP, SH, and even strength.

Fortunately, it sounds like the Flyers could be closer to getting Giroux back, perhaps in time for this weekend. We just hope he's 100%, or else there's really no sense in risking it at this still-early stage of the season.

Who's Up?
Before last game, we had some thoughts as to who should step up with Giroux out. Now, Sean Couturier has joined him on the shelf for a bit, and Danny Briere is likely to skate with former lineman Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr. Considering that Briere and Hartnell got each other back on track in a big way when paired up for the 2010 playoffs and continued a good run last season, they should be pretty familiar with what each other can do. In fact, it wouldn't have been a surprise to see this line be Lavvy's first choice, swapping Ville Leino for Jagr. There could be some nice chemistry here…

Still hoping JVR steps up and dominates a game soon…

Wayne Simmonds saw a career-long goal-scoring streak snapped in the shutout, but he remained active around the crease. Maybe he starts a new one tonight.

Ben Holmstrom gets a cup of coffee tonight as well, possibly on an all-youngin fourth line with some combination of Harry Z, Tom Sestito, and Zac Rinaldo. Hard to say exactly what the lines will be after the top unit, and Lavvy could move some guys around, trying to find something that clicks with a very makeshift lineup that is missing centers Giroux, Couturier, and also Brayden Schenn.

Good read from Frank Seravalli on the current roster situation, plus Marc-Andre Bourdon's nickname: [Daily News]

Fortunately, the 'Lanche haven't been particularly noteworthy this season. They're 15-17-1, and they've lost four of their last six. Two of their four December wins came in the shootout (hopefully we'll be spared that). The Flyers have fared much better over their past handful of games, but that one loss really stands out. Time to show some resiliency, bounce back and beat an inferior team, even with a pretty Phantom'd up set of lower lines.

Photo: Anne-Marie Sorvin-US Presswire

Best of NHL: Last-place Islanders take down rival Rangers

Best of NHL: Last-place Islanders take down rival Rangers

NEW YORK -- Andrew Ladd scored in the second period and Jaroslav Halak stopped 36 shots to lead the New York Islanders to a 4-2 victory over the crosstown-rival Rangers on Tuesday night.

John Tavares, Jason Chimera and Scott Mayfield also scored at the Barclays Center to help the last-place Islanders improve to 4-0-1 in their last five games.

Jimmy Vesey and Marc Staal scored for the Metropolitan Division-leading Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 28 saves. The Rangers have alternated wins and losses in regulation in their last eight games.

Halak beat Lundqvist for the ninth time in their last 10 matchups. Halak had won eight straight -- including the last five after joining the Islanders before the 2014-15 season -- before Lundqvist ended the streak in the Rangers' 5-3 win in the season opener Oct. 13 at Madison Square Garden. Lundqvist is now 1-6-1 in his last eight against the Islanders (see full recap).

Schwartz lifts Blues over Canadiens in OT
ST. LOUIS -- Jaden Schwartz got his second goal of the game in overtime, leading the St. Louis Blues to a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

Paul Stastny also scored for St. Louis, which has won four of five. The Blues rallied from a 2-0 deficit and have a point in their last 13 home games.

Tomas Plekanec and Paul Byron scored for Montreal, which completed a five-game trip 2-3.

Goalie Jake Allen made 28 saves to improve to 13-3-3.

Schwartz lifted a backhander past goalie Al Montoya with 1:22 left in overtime.

Stastny and Schwartz scored in a 2:51 span in the third period to tie it at 2 (see full recap).

Blackhawks blank Coyotes to snap modest skid
CHICAGO -- Marian Hossa had two goals, Scott Darling made 22 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-0 on Tuesday night to snap a two-game slide.

Artem Anisimov and Dennis Rasmussen also scored to help Chicago maintain a three-point lead over St. Louis in the Central Division.

Darling made a handful of tough stops but wasn't heavily tested in his first shutout this season and third of his career. He started his third straight game in place of No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford, who had an appendectomy in Philadelphia on Saturday.

The 37-year-old Hossa scored his team-leading 13th and 14th goals in his 27th game -- surpassing his total of 13 last season in 64 contests (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Magic overcome Wall's 52 points to beat Wizards

Best of NBA: Magic overcome Wall's 52 points to beat Wizards

WASHINGTON -- Elfrid Payton scored 22 of his season-high 25 points in the first half and the Orlando Magic overcame John Wall's 52-point performance to beat the Washington Wizards, 124-116 on Tuesday night.

Wall had the highest-scoring game of his career and kept Washington in it with 33 points in the second half as the Wizards cut the lead below 10 in the fourth quarter. The guard made 18 of 31 from the field and added eight assists.

Payton went 8 for 8 from the field and 3 for 3 from the line off the bench in that first half, nearly matching his previous season best of 23 points in the first two quarters alone. Payton finished 9 for 12 and handed out nine assists.

Orlando won its third straight game and its 124 points were a season high (see full recap).

Spurs trounce Timberwolves to reach 13-0 on the road
MINNEAPOLIS -- Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points and the San Antonio Spurs improved to 13-0 on the road this season with a 105-91 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.

Leonard hit 11 of 15 shots after not scoring at all in the first quarter and Patty Mills scored 15 points off the bench for the Spurs (18-4), who played without Tony Parker after he bruised his left knee against Milwaukee on Wednesday night. San Antonio overcame a slow start to shoot 52.7 percent.

The Spurs moved past the 1969-70 New York Knicks to take sole possession of the second-best road start to begin a season in NBA history. The Golden State Warriors started 14-0 last year.

Zach LaVine scored 25 points for the Timberwolves. Karl-Anthony Towns had 11 points and 14 rebounds, but shot just 3 of 16 (see full recap).

Anthony, Knicks blow past depleted Heat
MIAMI -- Carmelo Anthony matched a season high with 35 points, and the New York Knicks beat the injury-ravaged Miami Heat 114-103 on Tuesday night.

Kristaps Porzingis had 14 points and 12 rebounds for New York, which is three games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2012-13 season. The Knicks lost Derrick Rose to back spasms in the third quarter.

Goran Dragic scored 29 points and Hassan Whiteside finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds for the Heat, who fell to 2-8 at home.

The teams were tied at 68 late in the third quarter, when the Knicks went on a 27-13 run over the next eight minutes to take control. Anthony finished 13 for 27 from the field, and Porzingis and Joakim Noah combined for 22 rebounds (see full recap).