Weary Flyers Head to Montreal on Heels of Disappointing Collapse, but Canadiens Down a Key Player

Weary Flyers Head to Montreal on Heels of Disappointing Collapse, but Canadiens Down a Key Player

Thanks to their huge letdown on Friday, not only did the
Flyers miss out on a quality opportunity to make up ground in the standings, but
it puts added pressure on the club to come away with points in the second half
of a back-to-back. That’s no simple task considering they’re on the road and the
Montreal Canadiens are up next in the gauntlet.

The Bullies find themselves back in scramble mode after blowing
a 3-1 first-period lead in New Jersey last night, a roller coaster contest not
entirely unlike the ride their season is on. The Devils got the scoring started
40 seconds into the game, but Philadelphia responded with a three-goal outburst
in a two-and-a-half minute span. Then the lead slowly, painfully slipped away.

The ill-timed pulling of Ilya Bryzgalov from goal was the
last straw, resulting in a quick empty-netter and the final nail in their 5-3 defeat.
Now it’s on to Montreal, to take on an opponent who was idle no less.

The Canadiens are in the midst of a revival after finishing
with the fewest points in the Eastern Conference for 2011-'12. Building off of a
6-3-6 finish last year, Montreal has jumped out to an early 8-4-1 record, and
are sitting just one point behind Boston for first place in the Northeast

A big reason for their success has been in net, where Carey
Price appears to be back on track after his rough '11-'12, leading all NHL
goaltenders in wins with eight. Fortunately for the Flyers, it appears they’ve
caught a break there.

TSN’s Cassie Campbell reports Price is battling the flu, and
backup Peter Budaj will make the start. Budaj is 0-1-1 with a rough 4.32 GAA
and .866 SV%. The eight-year veteran made one start against the Flyers for
Montreal last season, surrendering four goals in a loss. Danny Briere paced his
mates with two power-play tallies, while Matt Read and Kimmo Timonen also lit
the lamp.

Other than the day-night situation in net, the Canadiens have
been a solid all-around team, despite the roster lacking a lot of star power.
Veterans center Tomas Plekanic (11) and defenseman Andrei Markov (10)) lead the
team in points, but they are getting sizeable contributions from rookie
forwards Alex Galchenkyuk (8) and Brendan Gallagher (6).

This game's outcome could hinge on special teams even more than usual, as no team in
the league has drawn more whistles on average than Montreal – both ways – while
the Flyers are ninth in total power play opportunities, seventh in times
short-handed. Both teams are middle of the road-ish in all conversion rates, so
we’ll see who’s on their game or gets the calls/bounces.

In other news, Timonen did not play the third period of last
night’s loss in New Jersey due to an unknown lower-body injury. No update yet
about his availability tonight, but currently he is described as day-to-day. With
Andrej Meszaros still a week or two away, the Flyers look very thin on the back
end if Kimmo can’t go. [Update: Erik Gustafsson was called up from Adirondack and is in the lineup, but not necessarily for Timonen.]

No confirmation just yet on who will be in goal for the Flyers, either. Bryz had ordinary numbers in two appearances versus Montreal last season (1-1, 3.02, .885), and while we wouldn't lay the blame on him for last night's disaster, it wasn't his best outing of the year. We'll see if Brian Boucher gets the cal for his first start this year. [Update: it's Boosh.]

Big two points on the line here, as Philadelphia is still
hovering around the basement. When the final horn sounds, they will have
completed exactly one-third of their schedule, so very soon these playoff races
are going to get serious.

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Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

USA Today Images

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

CHESTER, Pa. — On the eve of his comeback after missing nearly 13 months with a left tibia stress fracture and other related injuries, Union midfielder Maurice Edu fractured his left fibula on Saturday, keeping him out for the 2016 playoffs and beyond.

“I was trying to take the shot on goal and my foot got stuck in the turf,” Edu said Sunday, in his blue Union-issued suit and supported by crutches. “My ankle rolled and twisted and it kind of snapped a little bit. I heard it crack, and a lot of pain from there. I got a scan afterward, and there was a break.”

There's no timetable his return.

Edu, 30, has spent over a calendar year fighting various injuries that have kept him out of game action. His trouble began on Sept. 30, 2015, when he played through the U.S. Open Cup final with a partially torn groin and sports hernia. It was during Edu’s recovery from those injuries that he developed a stress fracture.

"A little bit frustration. A lot of frustration, to be honest," he said. "But all I can do now is get back to work, focus on the positives and make sure that my situation isn’t a distraction from the team."

Edu’s teammates were equally devastated by the news. Edu, the Union captain when healthy, is popular and well-respected in the locker room.

"I feel so bad for him," said Alejandro Bedoya, who wore a dedication to Edu under his jersey on Sunday. "He’s one of my good friends, so I was looking forward to playing alongside him. I know how hard he’s worked to get back, and to see him go out like that, it’s heartbreaking. I’m sad for his loss and I hope he stays strong."

Edu, who has been with the Union since 2014, returned to training in July and played three conditioning appearances with the Union’s USL team, Bethlehem Steel FC. He was on the bench for the Union’s last three games and was set to make his first appearance in over a year against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, a game the Union eventually lost, 2-0 (see game story).

"We’re gutted for Mo," Union manager Jim Curtin said. "He was slated to start today. It’s real upsetting because he’s worked so hard to get back on the field. It’s been a tough 2016 for him, but I know he’ll come back stronger."

While he was visibly shaken by recent injury, Edu is driven to return.

"What happened, happened," Edu said. "I have no control over that. The only thing I do have control over is my next steps from here, how I prepare myself mentally and emotionally and how I continue to support this group."

Source: Sixers to waive Brandon Paul as roster deadline nears

Source: Sixers to waive Brandon Paul as roster deadline nears

The Sixers, who have an afternoon of cuts to make in order to get the regular season roster down to 15 before 5 p.m. on Monday, will waive guard Brandon Paul, according to a source.

Jake Fischer first reported the news. Paul has received interest from other NBA teams, per the source, and has not yet had talks about the D-League. 

Paul, 25, appeared in four preseason games for the Sixers. He averaged 7.3 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from three.

Paul recently shared with CSNPhilly.com his challenges to pursue an NBA career.

The Sixers' roster stood at 20 after they signed Temple alum Dionte Christmas.

Cat Barber, Shawn Long and James Webb III also are expected to be waived and spend time in the Development League. Elton Brand announced his retirement and was waived last week.