If Tiger Heff Pet Cat, Would Be Florida Panther

If Tiger Heff Pet Cat, Would Be Florida Panther

The Flyers are
hoping to make it four in a row tonight as they host the Florida
Panthers, who currently sit in first place in the Southeast Division
despite technically being below .500. Such is the state of southern
hockey, as well as the parity of a league with a scoring system that
awards points for overtime losses. The Panthers currently have one fewer win than either of the divisional foes directly below them, but on the
strength of 12 OTLs, hold a two-point lead in the division, putting
them in third place in the conference seedings.

Every game thread about a not-so-great team should include some
mention that they're still good enough to win tonight, which is all we
really care about. Their 31 wins did not all come against the
Hurricanes. However, like the Flyers, the Panthers will take the ice
without some key players.

Leading scorer and former Flyers rental Kris Versteeg is out, as
is Scottie Upshall, who hasn't seen action since these teams played in
January. Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov is out with a bad knee.

For
the Flyers, there's been a snowball effect with injuries starting to
pile up. JVR, Kimmo, and Big Mesz are still out, and it appeared Jaromir
Jagr and Jake Voracek would each miss at least one game after each were taken
out in the battle with Detroit, although Timmy P. seems to think Jagr will give it a go. Harry Z was called up for forward
relief, and defenseman Brandon Manning was also invited for coffee.

Interestingly, the Flyers have actually played some good defense
while two of their back line pillars have been out. Ilya Bryzgalov is
playing his best hockey as a Flyer, and the marking's been tighter in
front of the net, the forechecking fairly aggressive (and, importantly, effective).

The Flyers have won both previous matchups this season, and another one is on the calendar later in the month.

Can Bryz give the Panthers the silent treatment? 

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 in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Annapolis, Maryland. Their opponent will be announced at 4 p.m. 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.

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.