Playoff Warmup: Flyers-Penguins Gameday Storylines

Playoff Warmup: Flyers-Penguins Gameday Storylines

The Flyers are in Pittsburgh today for the first of two remaining games against their likely opening round playoff opponent. The NHL's system of seeding division leaders 1-2-3 has rendered much of the final month somewhat stagnant in terms of seedings, though there is still a chance the Flyers could move up or down. They've now played as many games as Pittsburgh and are just three points back. 
Considering the Flyers have been better on the road and have played well in the Consol Energy Center, there may not be a whole lot of difference between the four and five seeds. But, there is certainly a tone to be set in these two matchups. The Pens are once again the league's darlings, and to be honest, they've earned it this season. 
Just not against the Flyers, so far. Pittsburgh has beaten Philadelphia only once in four contests this season. They'll be motivated to even the series before starting the one that matters. 

Whooooose Hoooouuuse?Sergei Bobrovsky survived a shaky start against Ottawa as the Flyers scraped their way to a point yesterday. Bob's had the Penguins' number since his first NHL start, when he was the surprise netminder in last season's opener. His name will forever be etched on the wall of the Consol Energy Center, as he christened the building with a Flyers win on its opening night. 
Bob has started all four games the Flyers have played in the Penguins' new igloo, and he's won each of them. 
Max & SidAdam Kimelman has a good story on Max Talbot's first ever game against Sidney Crosby. The two were very good friends while teammates, and Max is looking forward to playing against the player he calls the best in the world. 
The checking line's battle against the top scoring lines of Pittsburgh should go a long way toward dictating today's outcome. If there's a reason to play for home-ice advantage, it's getting the second change against Sid, Geno & Co. 
Recent HistoryThe Pens are likely still smarting from Scott Hartnell's final-second OT winner in a game they'd mostly dominated. They're coming off a 5-3 win over a desperate Buffalo squad, but also two straight 5-3 losses to the Islanders. Yesterday's Flyers opponent drubbed them 8-4 last weekend. 
Matinee MessesI've previously written how much I love a good NHL matinee game. The Flyers have absolutely broken me of this enjoyment. They're simply awful when the sun is out. Can they reverse that trend before the postseason begins and bears some nooners that truly matter?
12:30 start today on NBC. 

Report: Andrew Bogut expected to sign with Cavaliers after buyout from Sixers

Report: Andrew Bogut expected to sign with Cavaliers after buyout from Sixers

Andrew Bogut, we hardly knew ye. 

After coming over from Dallas as part of the Nerlens Noel trade, Bogut is already thinking about his next move.

With the Sixers expected to buy out Bogut's contract, the former No. 1 overall pick will look to sign with the Cavaliers, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon. 

The Sixers swapped Noel for Bogut, Justin Anderson and a top-18 protected first-round pick — which will likely turn into two second-round picks — last Thursday. 

With LeBron James begging the front office for help, the Cavaliers are also expected to sign Bogut's former Dallas teammate Deron Williams in Monday, according to The Vertical's Shams Charania

La Salle suffers demoralizing loss to struggling UMass

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La Salle suffers demoralizing loss to struggling UMass

AMHERST, Mass. -- Zach Lewis scored a career-high 37 points, including six three-pointers, and Massachusetts pulled away from La Salle 84-71 on Sunday to snap a three-game losing streak.

Lewis, whose 37-point effort was the best for any player in the Atlantic 10 this season, hit nine of his 16 field goal attempts overall and was a perfect 13-for-13 at the free throw line. Dejon Jarreau added 20 points and four three-ponters for UMass (14-15, 4-12).

Pookie Powell hit five 3-pointers and scored 24 points, and B.J. Johnson added 20 points to lead La Salle (14-13, 8-8).

Both teams shot similar percentages and had similar three-point totals, but the Minutemen finished with a plus-14 advantage at the free throw line.

La Salle remained within striking distance but a 13-4 stretch for UMass midway through the second half pushed its lead to 63-51. The Minutemen kept the Explorers at arm's length the rest of the way.