Searching for That Elusive Third Consecutive Win, Flyers Back in Action against Rangers

Searching for That Elusive Third Consecutive Win, Flyers Back in Action against Rangers

The Flyers have a chance to do something on Tuesday night
that they haven’t yet in 2013. No, I don’t mean eclipse .500, although yeah,
that too. With a win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, the Flyers
could finally win their third game in a row for the first time this season.

As the debate swirls over whether or not the Flyers are a legitimate
contender for the Stanley Cup or even a playoff team, head coach Peter
Laviolette and many of his players have talked a lot about the need to “string
wins together.” Their inability to do so is a big reason why they’ve been
spinning their wheels in the early potion of their schedule.

Then again, while we’ve mentioned it about one hundred times
already, the Flyers had a built-in excuse during the early stages of the season.
It’s hard to expect any team to play to their highest level during a stretch of
19 games in 34 days.

Now they head up to New York fresh and in relatively good
health, coming off of one game in five days. The only excuse not to start stringing
together wins is they simply aren’t good enough – not what anybody will want to
hear as the Flyers simultaneously reach the season’s midway point.

Of course, the Rangers are no slouches either. They enter
this tilt as winners of two straight, just one point behind the Flyers for
third place in the division with three games in hand. The Rags have sort of flown
under the radar in the always-crowded Atlantic, at least compared to the lofty
Stanley Cup predictions some held for them entering the year. They’re certainly
in the mix.

Not surprising, New York is one of the better defensive
teams in the NHL with Henrik Lundqvist in net. While his numbers are down slightly
compared to previous seasons, the Rangers are ranked ninth in goals against per
game (2.45).

The defensive numbers have helped carry the club’s skaters, whose
own offensive output surprisingly ranks 23rd (2.45). To make matters
worse they’ll be without Brad Richards, who was the victim of a dangerous hit at
the hands of Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta on Sunday. Richards is third on the squad
with 13 points.

So far the season series is split at two apiece. The Flyers
finally got a big monkey off their backs by getting their first W over the Rags
in nine tries back in January. New York turned around and took their two points
back five days later. Both results were 2-1 finals, so it’s been a low-scoring
series – although the Flyers’ offense has turned it around quite a bit since

In order to turn it around, Philadelphia will have to
overcome the Rangers’ stinginess at home along with their own poor road record.
The orange sweaters are 4-8 outside their own building, while New York is 8-4-1
at the Garden.

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Carson Wentz falls far behind Elliott, Prescott in Rookie of Year odds

Carson Wentz falls far behind Elliott, Prescott in Rookie of Year odds

Carson Wentz's Rookie of the Year odds took a hit, the Eagles' Super Bowl odds shortened and the Vikings' lengthened after Sunday's 21-10 win.

The Eagles are 33/1 to win it all, a week after being listed by Bovada at 50/1. The Vikings, meanwhile, went from 7/1 to 9/1. They still have the third-shortest Super Bowl odds in the NFL and are two spots ahead of the Cowboys (14/1). 

Wentz, who had his worst statistical game against Minnesota, is now 9/1 to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, according to Bovada. Last Wednesday, he was 6/1.

Wentz trails Cowboys studs Ezekiel Elliott (2/5) and Dak Prescott (11/5) on that leaderboard.

As far as this week, Wentz is favored to throw for more yards than Prescott. Wentz is 5/7 to outgain Prescott through the air in Week 8, while Prescott is 1/1 to outgain Wentz.

Elliott's over/under rushing total against the Eagles is 99.5. He's rushed for 130-plus yards in each of his last four games, and the odds are 3/1 that he'll reach that number again this week. 

The Eagles have allowed just one 100-yard rusher this season, Washington's Matt Jones (16 for 135).

Elliott is also now on pace to break Eric Dickerson's rookie rushing record. Dickerson had 1,808 in 1983; Elliott is on pace for 1,875. Will Elliott break that 33-year-old mark? A "yes" bet pays 2/1; a "no" bet pays 1/3.

Dave Hakstol did Steve Mason a favor by challenging Sabres' 3rd goal

Dave Hakstol did Steve Mason a favor by challenging Sabres' 3rd goal

Many, though not all hockey games, have a tipping point or pivotal moment that factors into the outcome.
Sometimes it’s obvious what it was and when the moment occurred. Other times, it’s overshadowed by something else on the ice.
Ask the Flyers which moment would define their come-from-behind 4-3 shootout victory over Buffalo on Tuesday and the response will be virtually unanimous: when Dmitry Kulikov leveled Jakub Voracek with a high hit that made contact to the head in the third period.
Voracek was forced off the ice under the NHL’s concussion protocol.
That hit incensed the Flyers, who went on to score two power-play goals and tie the game, 3-3. The comeback was on.
Yet there was a less obvious but significant point that happened late in the second period, and it concerned goalie Steve Mason.
Matt Moulson had given Buffalo a 3-0 lead on Michal Neuvirth at 15:43, when Flyers coach Dave Hakstol elected to make a goalie switch.
Rather than call a simple timeout to buy Mason some warm-up time and allow his team to collect itself on the bench, Hakstol challenged the goal, claiming “goalie interference.”
Replays won’t show any direct interference on the shot itself. Neuvirth was speared several seconds before the play developed.
Hakstol knew the goal would likely not be overturned, but his strategy was to buy time for Mason and his team. By using a challenge, he knew the review process would take a lot longer than the 60-second timeout.
Either way, he was going to use his only timeout.
“You know what, I think we needed a timeout at that time, anyway,” Hakstol said coyly. “Pretty low probability of it being successful. Everything worked out well in the end.”
Mason appreciated what his coach did, too. Buying extra time for you?
“Yeah, probably,” Mason replied. “Regardless of the situation, you’re sitting on the bench, you know? You’re not really gauged as much as when you’re playing, obviously. So, you just try and ramp things up as quickly as possible.”
Mason had two saves in that shortened period, five in the third period and one in the overtime to register his second victory.
“There’s a never-quit attitude in this room,” he said. “We showed in Chicago — we were just talking about that. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to close that one out.
“But guys have a belief that you get one [moment] and it comes. [Travis Konecny] got us going with his first NHL goal, which is great. The guys really pushed to capitalize on their chances.” ​