Thankful for OT: Flyers Top Isles With Briere Brace

Thankful for OT: Flyers Top Isles With Briere Brace

The Flyers and Islanders got off to a fast start last night—historically fast in fact. Each team scored on its first shot, the score tied at 1 just 37 seconds in. Per Elias, that's the fastest 1-1 tie in team history and second fastest in NHL history.

That being said, it basically sucked. All the elation of Andrej Meszaros scoring 18 seconds in was immediately erased by the Kyle Okposo equalizer. Worse yet was Okposo netting the go-ahead goal on a gorgeous display of Islanders passing 10 minutes later, then assisting on a third Isles goal with a minute and a half left in the period.

Fortunately, the Flyers would come all the way back. A look at the goals and more below.

Ilya Bryzgalov got the second and third periods off, though he wasn't terrible in the first. Sergei Bobrovsky put in a great relief effort, keeping the Isles off the board the rest of the way. It took a few huge saves too, including back-to-back breakaways turned aside. 

On a power play in the second period, Scott Hartnell, sporting one hell of an amazing mustache, collected a bad bounce off the end boards and quickly deposited it behind Rick DiPietro. Despite some great looking opportunities for the Flyers in on DiP, that was it for the scoring in the second, and coming on the heels of a pair of disappointing losses, things weren't looking too good…  

But Danny Briere got on the board with just over five minutes left in regulation, capitalizing on a fluky bounce out of the corner. Rick DiP had to be hating his home boards after this game. And, he almost let that frustration out in stick-shattering fashion when Briere beat him in OT, this time without any flukes. Hartnell hit him with a nice drop pass, and Danny buried it for the winner.

Video Highlights

Notes
Perhaps the biggest story coming out of this one was that Jaromir Jagr reaggravated his groin injury. He presumes he'll miss the next two games, but who can really say. At his age, injuries are a concern, even though he has been something of an ironman. He was a minus-2 in 7:52 of ice time.

Hartnell now has nine goals on the season, tied with rookie Matt Read for second on the team behind Claude Giroux's 11. Briere scored his sixth and seventh. We see you, Danny… Remindin us you're a sniper…

Before breaking out on Wednesday, Okposo hadn't scored yet this season, even drawing a benching from his coach last week. Glad our boys could help him get on track.

The Isles line of Okposo, Michael Grabner, and Frans Nielsen accounted for all of the team's scoring.

Only 11,086 people showed for the game. Things are bleak on the Island…

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Being immersed in the team is important for Nerlens Noel, and so is continuing his rehab. 

While the Sixers are on the road for three days to play the Grizzlies and Pelicans, Noel will remain in Philadelphia to work out at the training complex in Camden, New Jersey. The team is not scheduled to practice in between games, so staying back allows Noel another day to get on the court.

“[I want him to] just start playing more and have a ball in his hands, get hit, physical, feel people, play one-on-one,” head coach Brett Brown said.

Noel has yet to play this season because of elective arthroscopic left knee surgery in October. He rejoined the Sixers after completing the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Alabama. There still is no timetable for his return. 

Brown has said there is a “classroom” element to Noel’s return. He has to learn a roster with new players and schemes. 

The on-the-court side of it is a reacclimation to the intensity of the league. Regardless of how many games Noel already has played in the NBA, there is an adjustment period getting back into the grind of the competition. Brown believes the time in the gym this week will help Noel prepare for the level of intensity he will face in his return. 

“It’s such fool’s gold to think somebody’s going to jump back into NBA basketball after you haven’t played for so long. I don’t care how athletic he is,” Brown said. “It’s a man’s world, this league, and there’s a physicality and there’s a real-time reaction you have to have to play in the game. You can’t make that up in practice, you can’t make that up playing one-on-one, but you can better position him instead of just going out to get shots. I want him to feel a body, get hit, hit back, play one-on-one, those types of things.”

Noel had been assigned to the Sixers’ Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, to get in practice time when the Sixers had a game. The Sixers may forego another assignment and keep Noel at their facility as the Sevens also have two games in the next three days. 

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

Joel Embiid has been making the NBA look easy. Rookie of the Month honors, five double-doubles in 13 games, seven performances of 20 points or more … all having missed the last two years rehabbing from foot injuries.

Embiid, though, still is a player learning the league. Night’s like Monday’s lackluster showing are going to happen, even if it seemed unexpected against the struggling Denver Nuggets. 

“We’ve been used to seeing Jo have superhuman nights,” Brett Brown said after the Sixers’ 106-98 loss (see Instant Replay). “I thought Joel was down tonight.” 

Embiid tallied a total 16 points (5 for 15 from the field, 1 for 3 from three, 5 for 6 from the line) with four rebounds, one assist, a career-high five blocks, three turnovers and three fouls in 25:32. 

He had a quiet first half with six points (2 for 5 from the field) and one rebound in 9:21. The biggest struggle came in the third quarter. Embiid scored a single point off a free throw and shot 0 for 6 from the floor. By the end of three, he was shooting 18.2 percent. 

The big man said he needed to be better at passing out of the double team. He committed two turnovers in the third. 

“I wasn’t getting to my spot and I wasn’t getting what I’m used to getting,” Embiid said of the first three quarters. “I’m going to go back and watch the tape and see what I did wrong.” 

Embiid bounced back for another Embiid-like offensive effort in the fourth. He dropped nine points off an efficient 3 for 4 shooting in 7:31. Still, it wasn’t enough. 

“I made a couple shots,” Embiid said. “It didn’t help us win, so I don’t think it matters.”

Brown noticed Embiid rushing his game. He also thought Embiid’s balance was off, something the big man has been dealing with all season as he continues to find his legs. 

Embiid will not play in Tuesday's game against the Grizzlies. It is part of his workload management in which he does not play both games of a back-to-back. Expect him to hone in on game film until his next matchup, and get back on the roller coaster that can be a first year in the NBA. 

“It's just part of a young man's growth,” Brown said. “It just happens. I don't think we need to read too deeply into it. I think, in many ways, to expect from time to time not as good of a performance as we have been used to is fair enough.”