Phils Attempt to Start the Halladay Weekend a Few Days Early

Phils Attempt to Start the Halladay Weekend a Few Days Early

The good news following last night's tough late loss to the Reds is that the Phils will attempt to bounce back tonight with Roy Halladay on the mound. Even better news is that Halladay (6-3, 2.21) has great career numbers against the Reds, 2-1 with a 2.21 ERA in five stars including the postseason. He's also thrown 18.0-consecutive scoreless innings against them dating back to July 10th of 2010. There was a memorable post-season game mixed in there you may recall.

The Reds will counter with left-hander Travis Wood (3-3, 5.17) who has six quality starts in 10 games, but has received the least run support of any Reds starter. The lack of support should hopefully continue tonight with Roy on the mound.

No Utz

As mentioned earlier, Chase Utley is not in the lineup this evening. Instead, Wilson Valdez will play second base and bat eighth with Ben Francisco batting in the two-hole and manning right field.

From the Notes: With a win tonight, the Phillies would reach 30 wins in fewer than 50 games played for just the 5th time over the last 50 years … The four previous times that the Phils achieved that were in 2001, 1995, 1993, and 1976 … In 2009, the Phillies won their 30th game in game No. 50. Tonight is the Phils 49th game of the 2011 season.

Gload Hurting

Many wondered why Ross Gload was not used as a pinch-hitter last night in the Phils loss. Turns out Gload is battling some hip problems, a labial tear to be exact, similar to what Chase Utley battled through in 2008. Ruben Amaro Jr. on its severity: "It's not necessarily minor. He's got a labral issue. But we're going to try to manage through it." He later added that a trip to the DL wouldn't really solve anything.

First pitch scheduled for 7:05. It's a warm one at the bank, could be some nice hitting (or tank top) weather. I'm down at the game if anyone would like to chat along in the comments.

Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Canucks 2

Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Canucks 2

Box Score

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Flyers passed a freshness test Sunday night — barely.

After building a 3-0 lead in the first 23 minutes, the Flyers held on for a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.

The Flyers were the more rested team. They had two days off here following Thursday’s loss in Edmonton — and a three-day break before the start of the trip.

But they almost allowed Vancouver to come back in the Canucks' second of back-to-back home games with only a day’s rest following a grueling six-game United States road trip.

The Flyers (28-24-7) moved within a point of the eighth and final playoff spot, currently shared by Florida and Boston, in the Eastern Conference. The Canucks (26-28-6) were denied a chance to gain ground on the final postseason berth in the Western Conference.

Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek and Brayden Schenn — who added the goal that proved to be the winner — scored for the Flyers. Two of the three goals came on the power play. Both teams failed to score in the third period.

Markus Granlund and Jannik Hansen replied for the Canucks.

With the win, the Flyers avoided going winless on a three-game tour through British Columbia and Alberta. They posted their first victory in Western Canada in the past nine attempts.

Goalie report
Coach Dave Hakstol showed loyalty in Michal Neuvirth after the Flyers' netminder allowed four goals on his first 12 shots in Thursday’s one-sided loss in Edmonton. Neuvirth started off much better Sunday, as he got his toe on Markus Granlund’s dangerous chance from in close early and stopped all eight shots that he faced in the first period.

Power play
Hakstol was looking for the Flyers to rediscover their “swagger” on the power play. He got his wish early as Simmonds jammed in a Shayne Gostisbehere rebound only 5:45 into the game. The puck barely crossed the line but was clearly in, as confirmed by a video review. Vancouver winger Alex Burrows was off for hooking at the time. In the second period, Schenn padded his NHL power-play goals lead as he gave the Flayers a 3-0 lead at 2:38. Schenn scored his 14th power-play goal of the season on a shot from the slot as Simmonds screened Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller. With his goal, Simmonds moved into a tie for second in NHL man-advantage markers with Washington’s Alex Ovechkin. Both players have 12.

Voracek busts his slump
The drought is over for Voracek. The winger busted his scoring slump as he gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead at 2:38 of the second period. The goal was Voracek’s first in 10 games. He had not scored since Jan. 25 against the New York Rangers.

Shayne the unfriendly ghost
Gostisbehere did not live up to his nickname. Ghost was quite visible as he assisted on all of the Flyers’ goals. It was Ghost's first career three-point game.

Did you notice?
Defenseman Michael Del Zotto had a chance for a rare breakaway with about five and a half minutes left in the first period, but missed a well-placed lead pass as he was coming out of the penalty box. Instead of a scoring opportunity, the missed pass led to an icing call and a face-off in the Flyers’ end.

Up next
The Flyers head back home to meet the NHL-best Washington Capitals on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m.

Report: Sixers, Pelicans had 'similar' package to DeMarcus Cousins deal in place

Report: Sixers, Pelicans had 'similar' package to DeMarcus Cousins deal in place

The Kings and Pelicans made waves after Sunday's NBA All-Star Game with the huge trade that sent superstar DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans.

Sacramento sent Cousins to New Orleans for a package that included rookie Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and first- and second-round picks this in this year's draft.

But the Sixers and Pelicans reportedly were very close recently on deal for a "similar" package in exchange for Jahlil Okafor, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne.

That "similar" package was reportedly minus Hield.

So while the Pelicans are now almost certainly out of the running for Okafor, they've still made an impact on the Sixers in the near future.

Remember, the Sixers have the right to swap picks with the Kings in this year's draft via the Nik Stauskas deal in 2015.

So with Sacramento's brightest star now gone, that pick swap could be looking better and better for the Sixers.

As for Okafor, what does all this mean for his status with the Sixers?