Not Your Typical Flyers-Penguins Tilt, but Similar All-Too-Typical Flyers Result

Not Your Typical Flyers-Penguins Tilt, but Similar All-Too-Typical Flyers Result

In an encounter not very reminiscent of many of the recent
battles in their rivalry, the Penguins defeated the Flyers in overtime on
Sunday night, a measured 2-1 contest that truly could have fallen either way.
Unfortunately, it didn’t fall quite the way it needed to.

The two teams fought to a 0-0 draw in the first period – the
first scoreless frame the two teams had played against each other since Game 5
of last year’s playoffs – then Claude Giroux put Philly ahead with a power-play
goal in the second. Meanwhile, Ilya Bryzgalov was able to keep the Penguins’
offense at bay for nearly 54 minutes, but finally lost the shutout during a (albeit
questionable) 5-on-3.

The Flyers had some quality opportunities in OT, but just
couldn’t get the puck to go to its home. Tyler Kennedy eventually did, firing a
laser by Bryz to steal a victory, Pittsburgh’s 12th straight.

The action on the ice lacked the high-scoring play, and to
some extent the back-and-forth intensity the series has become known for in
recent years, not to mention much of the brawling and chirping. If you didn’t
sense a Pens comeback coming from a mile away though, you obviously haven’t
been paying close enough attention to this rivalry.

That and the Orange & Black have hardly given 60 minutes
of their best hockey all season. The effort was there this time, but
consistency and finishing continue to be an issue.

The good news is the Flyers salvaged one point at least, but
the time for half-measures is past for this group. If they are to have any
chance of reaching the tournament, however remote it may be, they need wins to
start coming in bunches, and immediately.

Here’s some food for thought though. The Pens escape the regular
season series with a 3-1 victory, but on the off-chance the Bullies do make the
playoffs, there’s a solid chance it will be as a seven or eight seed – and thus
would likely be seeing much more black and gold. It’s anybody’s guess whether
that’s a good or a bad thing.

Seeing as Pittsburgh is cruising, plus just acquired Brenden Morrow from the Dallas Stars before the puck dropped on Sunday, it doesn’t sound like a positive scenario right this moment.

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Doug Pederson: Dak Prescott knew he didn't have to win by himself

Doug Pederson: Dak Prescott knew he didn't have to win by himself

For the most part, Carson Wentz had a pretty successful rookie season. 

Sure, the Eagles finished with a 7-9 record, but Wentz did enough to continue the franchise's belief that he is indeed the quarterback of the future. 

Another guy in Dallas did the same thing with the Cowboys. Actually, Dak Prescott had an even more impressive rookie season, leading the Cowboys to 13 wins, while winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. 

Prescott, a fourth-round pick, had a great year, but didn't try to do too much. And that's what impressed Eagles head coach Doug Pederson the most. 

"[Prescott] understood this right away, that he didn't have to win the game for them," Pederson said on The Doomsday Podcast, hosted by Matt Mosley and Ed Werder. (Pederson also talked about running the Rocky steps). "He knew that he had a good defense, a tremendous offensive line, a great runner, he had some veteran players that he could rely on and he learned that early. As soon as he had the opportunity to play and that was early, from Day 1. 

"That's something that a young quarterback, sometimes it takes them a while to figure out the game that way. That's the impressive thing, that he learned how to handle that business that well, utilize the people around him and understand that he didn't have to go win the game."

While Prescott had plenty of help during his rookie season, it was pretty evident Wentz was lacking in that area. 

Prescott had a great offensive line, Dez Bryant, Ezekiel Elliott and others. Wentz had an offensive line that was missing Lane Johnson, an often-injured Ryan Mathews and receivers like Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham playing serious snaps. 

So it made sense when the team went out this offseason and signed Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, and recently LeGarrette Blount, as free agents, finally getting Wentz some real help. 

"We had opportunities to get those two guys and it was obvious last year, we were young at the wide receiver position," Peterson said. "We needed some leadership, some veteran presence there and we went out and got that with Torrey and Alshon. We still want to build through the draft, we still want to acquire young talent. 

"LeGarrette Blount now is a guy that gives us that big back, running back, that can come in and compete and hopefully he does everything he did at New England the last couple of seasons. He had 18 rushing touchdowns for over 1,000 yards and we just expect that same level of performance here."

Maybe having weapons will allow Wentz to do what made Prescott so impressive to Pederson in 2016: not too much. 

Tonight's lineup: Michael Saunders dropped to eighth in order

Tonight's lineup: Michael Saunders dropped to eighth in order

Pete Mackanin is still searching for answers to the Phillies' offensive woes following Sunday afternoon's disheartening 1-0 loss in Pittsburgh during which the Phils could only muster three hits.

The latest lineup twist as the search for an answer continues will see Michael Saunders bat in the eight-hole tonight as the Phils open a four-game series with the surging Rockies tonight at Citizens Bank Park (see game notes).

When he has started this season, Saunders has been a fixture within the middle of the Phillies' order. After all, the offseason free-agent signing was an All-Star for Toronto last season when he hit 24 homers and drove in 57 runs.

But this season hasn't gone as planned as Saunders is hitting just .232 with four homers and 15 RBI in 41 games with the Phils this season.

With Saunders' drop down the lineup, Tommy Joseph will bat fourth, Maikel Franco fifth and Odubel Herrera sixth against Rockies spot starter Jeff Hoffman.

Tonight's full lineup can be found below:

Phillies
1. Cesar Hernandez 2B
2. Freddy Galvis SS
3. Aaron Altherr LF
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Maikel Franco 3B
6. Odubel Herrera CF
7. Cameron Rupp C
8. Michael Saunders RF
9. Jerad Eickhoff SP