Game 6: It's JAM Time

Game 6: It's JAM Time

After dropping a laughably poor effort followed a tightly fought battle, the Flyers have let the Penguins back into a series they had the opportunity to sweep. The Pens who slumped through the early games are wide awake now, including Marc-Andre Fleury, who went from historically bad to being a major factor in Pittsburgh's rebound. 
Two more chances to close out the series, but I'm pretty sure I speak for everyone in the good half of the state when I say we don't want to see a game 7. Not that the Flyers can't win it—they might even be better with elimination on the line—but if they lose today, they may not have much edge left either. 
They need to play like today is game 7. 
The teams will skate the same lineups today as game 5. No Nick Grossmann. But being without him in game 5 might have contributed to the Flyers slowing the pace down a bit, as they did in some of the March stretch that saw them winning despite being shorthanded on the blue line. 
It also meant increased minutes for the Flyers' top three defensemen, and fatigue could be  a factor as today's game wears on. 
Playing conservatively isn't necessarily an answer to the Penguins' attack. It's certainly not how they won games 1-3. It's gonna take some JAM. 
Time to stay out of the penalty box… 
Time for Ilya Bryzgalov to show up too. MAF's made a new mark on the series, and despite being slowed by a pair of injuries, Bryz is still the same goalie who went on a tear in March. He seemed pissed after the game 5 loss, which could be a good thing because he needed some swagger back. Forget March. Bryz was the better goalie the first three games of this series. 
Time for HartnellUp and the Wayne Train. Scott Hartnell got off the schneid in game 5, and the Flyers could use some more of that, along with some more JAM from fellow power forward Wayne Simmonds. 
Time for the refs keep the whistles quiet on ticky-tack shit and let the boys play today. If it's egregious, call it. Don't let it get out of hand. But leave the questionable minors out of a game between two tough but talented teams. No matter what the refs do, it's gonna be rough out there, and the Flyers can't let the Pens gain an edge on cheapshots, but they can't get suckered into retaliating and losing the special teams battle. It really could be the biggest factor in the series. 
Time for Marc-Andre Fleury's luck to run out. No, he isn't winning purely on luck, but he owes his posts a steak dinner, and one goal on a bad bounce or deflection could be the difference in who wins this series. 
Time for the refs to see what Evgeni Malkin is (besides strong on the puck and dangerous if given space). 
Time to win the even strength battle. 
Time for Riemer to save his lost season with a huge goal. 
Time for Jaromir Jagr to brandish the dagger. 
Time for Max Talbot to make goal-scoring jokes to Dan Bylsma. 
Time for Brayden Schenn to do what Mike Richards couldn't. 
Time for Sean Couturier to lock Malkin in a two-dimensional prism and hurl him through infinite space. 
Time for Matt Read to make the Calder vote look even more absurd. 
Time to block some shots. 
Time to Lappy up. 
Time for Claude Giroux to take the series back. Youth has served this team well, but they need a closer right now. They need a captain, and it's G. 
Time to giddy up and fuckin go. 
Puck drops at noon on NBC… 

Best of NFL: Redskins notch first win on Hopkins' field goal vs.Giants

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Best of NFL: Redskins notch first win on Hopkins' field goal vs.Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.  -- Dustin Hopkins kicked a 37-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter for his fifth of the game and the Washington Redskins avoid a near-disastrous 0-3 start with a 29-27 win over the penalty- and error-prone New York Giants on Sunday.

Kirk Cousins threw touchdown passes of 44 yards to DeSean Jackson and 55 to Jamison Crowder as the banged-up Redskins (1-2) handed new coach Ben McAdoo his first loss with the Giants (2-1).

Su'a Cravens ended the Giants' final drive with an interception in New York territory. It was Eli Manning's second pick of the quarter, with the other coming in the end zone by Quinton Dunbar after New York got to the Redskins 15 on a big play by Odell Beckham Jr.

This was a wild NFC East matchup that see-sawed the entire second half after Washington rallied from a 21-9 deficit.

The fourth quarter was wild with the matchup of Beckham and Redskins cornerback Josh Norman, leading to big plays by Beckham, an ejection of Giants center Weston Richburg and a personal foul against Norman for a big hit on Sterling Shepard.

In the end, Washington made the big plays in avoiding the 0-3 start. Only three teams since 1990 have made the playoffs after losing three in row to start the season.

The Giants had 11 penalties 128 yards, including a third-down hit to the helmet by Olivier Vernon that kept the Redskins' game-winning drive alive.

Shane Vereen scored on a 1-yard run, Manning threw a 23-yard TD to Shepard and Orleans Darkwa scored on a 2-yard run for New York. Josh Brown kicked two short field goals, the last a 30-yarder that gave New York a 27-26 lead with 7:53 to play (see full recap).

Vikings stop Newton, snap Panthers' home win streak
CHARLOTTE, N.C.  -- The Minnesota Vikings keep finding ways to overcome injuries --and keep finding ways to win football games.

Sam Bradford threw a touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph, Marcus Sherels returned a punt for a score and the Vikings snapped the Carolina Panthers' 14-game home winning streak 22-10 on Sunday.

The Vikings put the clamps on Cam Newton, intercepting the league's reigning MVP three times and getting eight sacks, one of those resulting in a safety by Danielle Hunter. The eight sacks were the second-most ever against Newton.

"We have a great team -- the best team I have been a part of," said Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen, who had three sacks. "We come from every area on the field and we get sacks."

Said Newton: "They were dictating to us after they got the momentum."

The Vikings improved 3-0 despite losing running back Adrian Peterson and offensive tackle Matt Kalil to injuries last week. They lost starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in the preseason.

The Panthers were averaging 42 points per game in their last three home games, but could do little after bolting to a 10-0 lead. The Vikings held Carolina wide receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess without a catch.

"For him not to have any touches is baffling," Newton said of Benjamin. "We have to find ways" to get him the ball.

Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said the Vikings focus was on shutting down Benjamin.

"We just knew where Benjamin was the whole time," Munnerlyn said. "Funchess, we weren't worried about him. It was Kelvin Benjamin. Me personally, I think No. 17 (Funchess) is not that good, so we weren't really worried about him." (see full recap)

Bills bounce back with win over Cardinals
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.  -- LeSean McCoy scored twice and safety Aaron Williams returned a botched field-goal snap 53 yards for a touchdown in leading the Buffalo Bills to a 33-18 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor also scored on a 20-yard run at a time the Rex Ryan-coached Bills spent the past week taking the brunt of criticism after opening the season 0-2.

The win also came on the heels of Ryan firing offensive coordinator Greg Roman and replacing him with running backs coach Anthony Lynn.

McCoy scored on 24- and 5-yard runs, and finished with 110 yards rushing after combining for just 117 in his first two games. Taylor had 76 yards rushing, including a 49-yarder, the longest by a quarterback in team history.

Ryan's defense also bounced back after allowing 493 yards in 37-31 loss to the New York Jets on Sept. 15. The Bills limited Arizona to 348 yards and intercepted Carson Palmer on each of Arizona's final four possessions.

Stephon Gilmore had two interceptions.

Arizona (1-2) unraveled a week after a 40-7 win over Tampa Bay, and had a five-game road winning streak snapped going back to last season (see full recap).

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Phillies' clubhouse reflects on life of Marlins' Jose Fernandez

Phillies' clubhouse reflects on life of Marlins' Jose Fernandez

NEW YORK — The clubhouse mood following the Phillies17-0 loss to the Mets Sunday was somber, in part because of the disastrous game that had just wrapped up, but also because of the tragic news of Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez’s death in a boating accident early Sunday morning.

“It was rough. People are devastated. I didn’t even know him and I was crushed,” Phillies starter Jake Thompson said. “I can only imagine how that clubhouse feels. That’s something that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy, to deal with something of that magnitude.”

Both teams paused for a moment of silence before Sunday’s game and the Mets taped a jersey bearing Fernandez’s name and number onto their dugout wall.

“This morning, that was quite a surprise,” manager Pete Mackanin said of the atmosphere of the day. “I don’t think it affected the players once the game started. It was such bad news this morning that everybody was kind of melancholy.”

Fernandez had built a strong track record against the Phillies in his young career, amassing a 2.88 ERA in six starts.

“It’s kind of cliché to say but you look at the start of his career and he could have been a Hall of Famer,” Thompson said.

Asked how he would remember facing Fernandez, Mackanin was succinct.

“He was a helluva pitcher,” he said.

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