The Flyers basically own Pittsburgh's CONSOL Energy Center

The Flyers basically own Pittsburgh's CONSOL Energy Center

Looking for a great way to get under the skin of your most-hated rival and its fan base?

How about winning almost every game you’ve played in that hated-rival’s new hockey arena since it opened a few years ago.

Yeah, that’ll sting.

Well, if you look at a satellite image of downtown Pittsburgh, odds are you’ll see an orange and black flag sticking out of the top of CONSOL Energy Center because the Flyers have felt right at home there and have pretty much claimed ownership of the arena since it opened in October 2010.

After two Brayden Schenn goals and a marvelous 30-save Ray Emery performance paced the Flyers to a 2-1 victory over the Penguins in the Steel City last night, Philadelphia now holds a 9-2-1 lifetime record at CONSOL Energy Center. That record includes three games played there during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Take that, Pittsburgh!

To refresh your memory and to gloat -- not going to lie, mostly to gloat -- here’s a quick recap of the dirty work the Flyers have done at CONSOL Energy Center to send Penguin fans home with sad faces.

Oct. 7, 2010 – Flyers 3 Penguins 2

The Penguins celebrated the first-ever regular season game at CONSOL Energy Center and the Flyers promptly ruined that celebration by handing the Penguins a 3-2 defeat. Mid-way through the second period, Danny Briere scored the first goal in the building’s history. Blair Betts and Claude Giroux also scored. Rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves for the victory in his first NHL game.

Oct. 29, 2010 – Flyers 3 Penguins 2

In a game that featured Mike Richards and Matt Cooke dropping the gloves right after the opening faceoff, Giroux scored twice and Bobrovsky made 26 saves to give the Flyers their second win in as many trips to Pittsburgh’s new arena.

March 29, 2010 – Flyers 5 Penguins 2

Ville Leino, who is currently wasting away in that mess in Buffalo, scored twice and Giroux, Jeff Carter and Scott Hartnell all added goals as the Flyers steamrolled a Crosby-less and Malkin-less Penguins team. Brobrovsky again took home the win. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m sensing a theme here.

Dec. 29, 2011 – Flyers 4 Penguins 2

This game featured Jaromir Jagr and Max Talbot’s returns to the city where they began their respective careers and each poured salt into the wounds of Penguin fans with goals. Kimmo Timonen and Matt Read also scored for Philadelphia. Bobrovsky made 24 stops for another win in Pittsburgh.

April 1, 2012 – Flyers 6 Penguins 4

Jake Voracek scored twice to lead the Flyers to a victory. That was cool, but this game is most remembered for the Royal Rumble that broke out late in the game after Penguins’ forward Joe Vitale rocked Briere with a hard check at center ice. All kinds of shenanigans then ensued. Peter Laviolette tried to jump the benches and fight Penguins’ coach Dan Bylsma, Zac Rinaldo tried to take on the whole Penguins’ bench and Hartnell brought us the joy that is him trolling the fake Hulk Hogan Penguins fan - which is on the short list of greatest moments of my life. That, in turn, led to an in-arena playoff promo featuring the real Hulk Hogan supporting the Flyers – which also happens to be on the short list of greatest moments in my life.

April 11, 2012 – Flyers 4 Penguins 3 (OT) (Game 1 – Eastern Conference Quarterfinal)

Ah, the start of perhaps the most ridiculous playoff series any of us have ever seen. Philadelphia fell behind 3-0 but Briere – aka Mr. Playoffs – scored twice and Schenn knotted the game up in the third before Voracek stunned the Penguins with a quick overtime winner. It would be a precursor to the rest of the crazy series.

April 13, 2012 – Flyers 8 Penguins 5 (Game 2 – Eastern Conference Quarterfinal)

Again Pittsburgh jumped out to an early lead and again Philadelphia fought back for the victory. Every time you blinked, it seemed like another goal was scored. But the Flyers scored the knockout blow. Giroux and 19-year-old rookie Sean Couturier both netted hat tricks in the win.

Feb. 20, 2013 – Flyers 6 Penguins 5

Another kooky Flyers/Penguins game in Pittsburgh that wound up in the Flyers’ favor. Again the Flyers fell behind the Penguins and again they fought back for the win. This game had everything. Crazy goals, fights, penalties, momentum changes and anything else you could have asked for. Voracek posted a hat trick, including the game-winner on a shot from behind the net that fooled Pens’ backup goalie Tomas Vokoun. It was the game of the year for the disappointing Flyers.

Nov. 13, 2013 – Flyers 2 Penguins 1

You should remember this game because, well, it happened last night. It wasn’t your typical exciting Flyers/Penguins game but it was a win so it worked. Schenn scored two huge goals and Emery helped calm a Penguins’ storm early on with his play in net to lead the Flyers to a win.

So, there you have it. Sure, there were three losses sprinkled in there, but the Flyers have basically owned the Penguins’ new barn and claimed it as their own.

All that’s missing is Mayor Nutter riding a white horse into the Steel City while wearing a Revolutionary War outfit and screaming, “I HEREBY PROCLAIM THIS LAND TERRITORY OF THE GREAT CITY OF PHILADELPHIA!”

As Eagles enter bye, Doug Pederson aims to thwart complacency

As Eagles enter bye, Doug Pederson aims to thwart complacency

The Eagles are 3-0. They’re alone atop the NFC East and have been the biggest surprise of the young NFL season.

Doug Pederson’s message to his team: You haven’t done anything yet.

Although the Eagles are riding high, Pederson doesn’t want his team to change its outlook or hard work. That’s what teams have to worry about once they’ve found some success.

“The biggest thing is complacency,” Pederson said Monday. “You think you've arrived. You think you are all that. When that creeps in, that's when you get beat. It's my job not to let that creep in. I've got to keep the guys focused and grounded. I told them this week they're going to travel and go home and people are going to pat them on the back and say how great they are.

“But next Monday, I'm going to tell them, ‘Hey, we're back to work. We're 0-0. This is Game 1 and let's go.’ That's just the way it has to be. You are building for one ultimate goal and that's a few weeks down the road. That's what you are trying to get to. But you can't get there unless you take care of the next opponent. It's my job to keep them focused that way.”

Being 3-0 (they’re one of five 3-0 teams) gives the Eagles a head start, but it certainly doesn’t guarantee them a playoff spot. This is the ninth 3-0 start in franchise history. They’ve made the playoffs just five times in the previous eight. And they recently missed the playoffs after starting 3-0 in 2014 under Chip Kelly.

In NFL history (before this season), there have been 276 teams to start with 3-0 records. Of them, 200 (72.3 percent) have made the playoffs.

“We just have to approach it the same, one day at a time,” Pederson said. “That's the way this business goes. You are on top of the world one minute, and you can be at the bottom of the heap the next. Just got to keep things even-keeled and can't get too high, can't get too low. Approach it the same. Like I mentioned earlier, you can't substitute for hard work. That pays off on Sundays. We just have to stay the course. Again, a lot of football left.”

While the Week 4 bye comes pretty early, the Eagles have a couple key players who will use the time to get healthy. And Connor Barwin pointed out that the bye is coming about closer to the halfway point between when the team started its tough training camp and the end of the season.

Pederson told his players to use the week to get away from football and free their minds. Meanwhile, Pederson and his coaches will use the extra time to self-scout and prepare for the final 13 games of the regular season.

With a first-year head coach and a rookie quarterback who was thrust into action a week before the opener, expectations outside (and perhaps inside) the building were tempered.

The Eagles aren’t an underdog anymore.

“We kind of enjoyed flying under the radar, but obviously a win like this against a team like the Steelers will open some eyes around the league,” Malcolm Jenkins said. “For us, nothing different. We’ll keep our preparation the same. We’ll stick our heads down and focus on the work day to day and understand what’s gotten us to 3-0.”

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Ivan Provorov displays durability, versatility in Flyers' preseason loss

Ivan Provorov displays durability, versatility in Flyers' preseason loss

BOX SCORE

NEWARK, N.J. — How much of a horse is Flyers defensive prospect Ivan Provorov?

Well, consider this:

The 19-year-old logged a game-high 28:48 of ice time Monday night during the Flyers' 2-0 split-squad loss to the Devils in which he also quarterbacked the first-unit power play (8:03) and had the most penalty kill time (3:58) (see story).

“I thought I played well,” Provorov said. “It took me a few shifts to get into the game. I competed as hard as I could.”

He said he was used to playing more than 25 minutes in Brandon (WHL), anyway.

“Of course, this is a better league, high pace and it will take a few games to adjust,” Provorov said.

Because the Flyers have yet to work on power play, the results aren’t there. They were 0 for 7 in the game.

“We haven’t done anything on the ice, but have done some video on the PK on the board but nothing on the power play,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “There’s other priorities now with so many players (64) in camp.”

Provorov worked both points on the power play and had just one official shot in the game.

“We didn’t get to do much power play [in camp],” he said. “It will get better as the preseason goes on.”

Rookie forward Travis Konecny worked the low slot on the top power play. He logged 18:34 of ice time, including 6:01 PP time. Konecny had two shots in the game.

He was on Andy Miele’s line with Scott Laughton. Konency had the only shots on his line.

Hakstol said Konecny and Provorov each “settled in” as the game went on. Hakstol isn’t sure if one or both will play Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center against the Islanders.

Konecny’s body language in camp exudes confidence unlike a year ago when he was skittish in his first-ever Flyers training camp. Now he sits back, takes it all in and has that look on his face of been there, done that.

In fact, he was trying to calm down some of his buddies, Anthony Salinitri and Connor Bunnaman, who were seeing the lights before the game.

“Me and [Ivan] Provorov were just talking,” he said. “We feel a lot more comfortable this year.

“I’ve been in this position here. I have my guys Salinitri and Bunnaman, we all hang out together and it’s their first year.

“They’re excited for their first preseason game just like I was last year, but I’m not thinking, ‘Wow, it’s an NHL arena.’ I’m thinking about the game and getting ready to play.”

Konecny was impressive last fall as an 18-year-old and Hakstol said he takes everything into account with more emphasis on the now than the past.

“Your body of work includes your season last year,” Hakstol  said. “Includes everything. The most important information is what you do right now. No question in my mind. I take everything into account.”

Take this into account: Alex Lyon is going to be a contender with Anthony Stolarz for the starting job in goal with the Phantoms this season. He was outstanding with 28 saves on 29 shots.

“They spent some time in our zone and had their big guns out there,” Lyon said of being under siege for two-thirds of the game. “They had a few shots but we did a good job keeping them to the outside. No super grade A opportunities.”

Lyon stopped two breakaways by Beau Bennett, one within three minutes of play.

“I felt like a newborn deer and could barely stand up,” quipped the former Yale goalie. “I was so nervous. It felt good to stop the first one.”