Holy Sht This Claude Giroux Goal

Holy Sht This Claude Giroux Goal

Ilya Bryzgalov backstopped the Flyers to their second straight shutout and fifth straight win, and they've now gone 136+ minutes without allowing a goal. Neither the Flyers nor the Toronto Maple Leafs could score in regulation or the OT, and Bryz was also perfect in the shootout. Jonas Gustavsson did his part for the Leafs as well, stopping all but Claude Giroux's shootout attempt, which was simply gorgeous. 
Watch this. 
Doesn't get a whole lot prettier than that… 
With the win, the Flyers are still in the fifth seed in the East despite having the third best point total behind only the Rangers and Penguins. The state of PA is tearing up the league right now. 
Not the best offensive showing for the Flyers (obvo), who couldn't get too many clean opportunities with the Leafs boxing them out pretty well. I did like seeing their grit show up in the second period though, when they took exception to a Dion Phaneuf slash on Claude Giroux. If you ever wonder why they try to hide injuries in the NHL, watch the tape of the last few games and see how many opposing sticks end up on G's gloves. They all know about whatever hand/wrist injury is ailing him. 
Scott Hartnell came right to his defense though (suck it, Phaneuf) followed by the whole line. Wayne Simmonds found his way into the action as well, ultimately getting Joey Crabb to drop the gloves for a pretty entertaining fight. 
Bryz and the defense were the story in this one though, and G's goal was certainly fun. The question now is, will Lavvy sit a goalie coming off back-to-back shutouts in tomorrow's game? Tomorrow is a pretty important matchup as well, with the Devils hanging right with the Flyers in the standings… 

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

NEW ORLEANS — Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to coexist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right foot fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."