Sunday Night Hockey: Flyers Aim to Spoil Detroit's Home Streak

Sunday Night Hockey: Flyers Aim to Spoil Detroit's Home Streak

Fresh off of yet another ass-whooping by the New York Rangers, things aren't pretty in Flyerville. Kimmo Timonen sounded off on his team's lackluster performance, as did many a fan. If the loss was good for anything, hopefully it was a needed reality check. Placement in the standings doesn't much matter, and the Flyers have a tough road ahead if they want to catch the conference leaders, who won again today and still have two games in hand after tonight's game.

For the time being, the Flyers need to forget about the Rangers. Their best shot at true revenge won't come until the playoffs, if at all. There are more immediate issues to handle though, starting tonight in Detroit, where the owners of the league's second best record will try to steal a piece of asterisked history from the Flyers.

You've probably already heard some of the hype surrounding the Red Wings' home winning streak, which is one game behind a decades-old mark of 20, held by the 1975-1976 Flyers and the 1929-1930 Bruins. Of course, neither of those clubs had the benefit of shootout wins, another reason to hate the post-OT skills comp. Travis pointed this out well at BSH:

During this streak, the Red Wings have won three games in the
shootout. Those would have been ties in 1976 or 1930. If we're taking
that into consideration, this Red Wings streak really lasted 12 games,
and it ended on January 12 against Phoenix.

Record or no, the Wings' success at home is a little salt in the wound of the Flyers' struggles at the Wells Fargo Center. There were a few stories in the press about the home woes, but none scratched the surface of answering what, if anything in particular, is the problem. Is it mere coincidence?

Backup Battle
Bryz is still not 100%, so Bob is again in goal, but Bryz will back him up. Detroit will start Joey MacDonald while Jimmy Howard remains out due to a broken finger. MacDonald has started the previous three games, winning the most recent two. If you include the game MacDonald entered when Howard got hurt, he has a 2-1-1 record with a 1.57 GAA and .935 save percentage. On the Flyers' injury report, Jake Voracek was nicked up yesterday, so Kyle Wellwood has been recalled and will play tonight.

Speaking of the shootout, we always hope the game ends before that, but particularly tonight. The Red Wings have won six of them since New Years (including one on Friday), losing only one.

Wings by the Numbers
Detroit is 4th in goals per game and 6th in goals against, but their special teams marks are  nothing special (16th PP, 21st PK). Hopefully their power play doesn't find the same mojo the Rangers did yesterday.

As usual, the Red Wings are led by the great playmaker Pavel Datsyuk (41 assists, 55 points), Johan Franzen (21 goals), perennial Norris candidate Nicklas Lidstrom, but they're plenty deep as well. They currently have 10 players with double-digits in goals; the Flyers currently have nine.

If the Flyers can get their act together after yesterday's beatdown, we could be in for a hell of a game. Either way, enjoy your Sunday night.

College football wrap: Auburn upsets No. 18 LSU with controversial finish

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College football wrap: Auburn upsets No. 18 LSU with controversial finish

AUBURN, Ala. -- Gus Malzahn was ready to try anything to get a win for his Auburn Tigers.

Malzahn relinquished offensive play-calling duties. Following his daughters' advice, he traded his usual game-day visor for a cap. And then, when the clock expired and LSU players were celebrating an apparent last-second win, the Auburn coach put all his faith in a ruling he couldn't control.

Daniel Carlson kicked six field goals and Auburn beat No. 18 LSU 18-13 on Saturday night after officials ruled Danny Etling's apparent last-gasp scoring pass came after time expired.

Malzahn said he knew there were only zeroes on the clock before the snap to Etling.

"I was pretty confident time had expired," Malzahn said. "It was just a matter of going to the booth and confirming it."

Etling rolled to his right and found D.J. Shark in the back of the end zone on a 15-yard pass, setting off a short-lived celebration by LSU players (see full recap).

Hornibrook proves he's ready in Badgers' win over Spartans
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- By the time Alex Hornibrook's first start was over, there wasn't much question about whether he could handle one of the toughest road tests in the Big Ten.

Hornibrook threw for 195 yards and a touchdown, and 11th-ranked Wisconsin turned its early-season showdown with No. 8 Michigan State into a rout, beating the Spartans 30-6 on Saturday.

"You've got to have respect for a guy whose first start is against a Michigan State defense," Wisconsin running back Corey Clement said.

"He's going to come out the next game and do even better. I think he's just getting his feet wet."

The freshman quarterback outplayed fifth-year senior Tyler O'Connor, his Michigan State counterpart. The Badgers (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) were the better team in the first half and then outscored the Spartans 17-0 in the third quarter (see full recap).

No. 23 Rebels find their rhythm, beat No. 12 Georgia 45-14
OXFORD, Miss. -- Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly faked the handoff and then took off running toward the end zone. A few seconds and 41 yards later, the quarterback had cruised through the middle of the Georgia defense and into the end zone untouched.

It was pretty much that easy for the Rebels all afternoon. Ole Miss finally built a lead it couldn't give away.

No. 23 Ole Miss rolled to a 45-14 victory over No. 12 Georgia on Saturday, building a 31-0 lead by halftime and a 45-0 advantage by midway through the fourth quarter.

Kelly threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns. Ole Miss (2-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) broke a 10-game losing streak in the series dating to 1996 (see full recap).

Dobbs rallies No. 14 Vols to 38-28 win over No. 19 Gators
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- This time, Tennessee delivered the comeback.

And in the process, the Volunteers took out 11 years' worth of frustration on Florida.

Joshua Dobbs accounted for five second-half touchdowns Saturday and No. 14 Tennessee erased a 21-point deficit to beat No. 19 Florida 38-28 and end their 11-game losing streak in the annual series.

"I didn't see anybody blink," Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. "Nobody flinched. They just kept playing."

This marks the first time Tennessee (4-0, 1-0 SEC) has beaten Florida (3-1, 1-1) since 2004. The Volunteers had lost to Florida by one point each of the last two years despite leading in the fourth quarter of both games (see full recap).

Best of MLB: Nationals clinch NL East with win over Pirates

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Best of MLB: Nationals clinch NL East with win over Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- The Washington Nationals clinched their third National League East title in five years, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 Saturday night behind 5 1/3 scoreless innings from rookie reliever Reynaldo Lopez.

Stephen Drew's two-run single capped a three-run first inning for the Nationals, who return to the postseason after a one-year absence. Their win ensured a playoff berth, and they won the division about 20 minutes later when the second-place New York Mets lost to Philadelphia.

Lopez (4-3) came on to the start the bottom of the fourth inning with a 6-1 lead and allowed three hits while striking out five and walking one. He was removed a runner on first and one out in the ninth inning.

Marc Rzepczynski and Blake Treinen got one out each to end the game, and a pocket of Nationals' fans behind the visiting dugout cheered (see full recap).

Cardinals solve Wrigley again, crush Hammel, Cubs 10-4
CHICAGO -- The St. Louis Cardinals have a lot to accomplish if they want to return to Chicago in two weeks for a rematch of last year's NL Division Series. They would have to qualify for one of the wild-card spots, then win the single-elimination playoff game.

If they do, the Cardinals may be the one club that won't be fazed by Wrigley Field and the Cubs.

Yadier Molina drove in four runs, Stephen Piscotty homered and the Cardinals boosted their playoff hopes by getting to Jason Hammel early in a 10-4 rout of Chicago on Saturday.

Randal Grichuk added three RBIs and Jhonny Peralta had three hits and scored three runs for the Cardinals, who stopped a two-game skid and moved into a tie with San Francisco for the final NL wild-card spot pending the Giants' game at San Diego (see full recap).

Yanks shut out for 3rd straight game in 3-0 loss to Jays
TORONTO -- The New York Yankees' offense has disappeared, and their playoffs chances have pretty much vanished, too.

Jose Bautista hit a three-run homer off Tyler Clippard in the eighth inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Yankees 3-0 Saturday.

New York has been shut out in three straight games for the first time July 27-28, 1975.

"Whatever we're doing right now, it's not working," first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "We just seem to have lost it the last few days."

The Yankees have lost 10 of 13 following a seven-game winning streak and dropped 4 1/2 games back for the AL's second wild card with eight games left. They likely will miss the playoffs for the third time in four years (see full recap).

Dietrich homers, Marlins end Braves' streak at 7 win
MIAMI -- Derek Dietrich hit a two-run homer to help the Miami Marlins end the Atlanta Braves' winning streak at seven games, winning 6-4 on Saturday night.

Dee Gordon had two hits, two walks and three stolen bases - one shy of tying the Marlins' single-game franchise high, which he has done on two separate occasions.

Atlanta's Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 28 games in the first inning and has reached base in 44 straight. He also hit a solo home run in the sixth, his 32nd.

Brian Ellington (4-2) earned the win in relief and A.J. Ramos recorded his 39th save in 42 chances.

The Braves pulled within 5-4 on a wild pitch by Fernando Rodney in the seventh inning (see full recap).