Briere Leads All-Snubs to Win Over Sabres

Briere Leads All-Snubs to Win Over Sabres

The talk of the day heading into the Flyers' first game of the season's second half  centered on how only one player from the top team in the Eastern Conference was named an All-Star. While we were all happy to see Claude Giroux get some league-wide acknowledgement, especially after he was left off the All-Star ballot, there are plenty of guys worthy of the nod on this roster. It didn't take long for them to show it, either. 
Danny Briere was a popular choice for biggest snub, with Mike Richards and Kimmo Timonen not far behind him. How about Sergei Bobrovsky among the rookie All-Star selections (see comments)? Well each of those guys played their asses off in a more meaningful game Tuesday night, with Briere leading them to a 5-2 win over his former club in Buffalo. Scott Hartnell wasn't in the All-Star discussion, but he continued his resurgent season by notching a Gordie Howe Hat Trick. 

Highlights and video below. 

It was a rough start for the Flyers, who were outplayed heavily in the first 10 minutes of the game and for stretches of the second period as well. Bob gave up a pair early, although he was playing behind sloppy defense and was caught off guard by a bad bounce off the back boards. Kid hadn't played since New Year's Eve, so it wasn't too surprising that he got off to a sluggish start. But he recovered quickly and shut out the Sabres for the remaining 50 minutes, with 38 saves overall. 

Briere tied a career-best four points, which had to feel a little better coming against his former squad. He scored a loud top-shelf goal and added three assists, and his line was once again the best on the ice, accounting for four of the team's five goals.

Hartnell had a Gordie Howe Hat Trick, scoring a pair including the empty netter, assisting on another, and fighting Paul Gaustad, and Ville Leino was credited with a goal that bounced in off his skate as he skidded to a stop in front of Ryan Miller while being obstructed. The play was reviewed, but quickly upheld. 

Richie had a good night as well, beginning with an "assist" that won't show up on the scoresheet. With the Flyers on the powerplay in the first period, he absolutely ROCKED Jochen Hecht, opening up a lane for Briere to send a sweet touch pass to Timonen, who put one on goal where a screening Hartnell would deflect it in. The Captain's encore would come on a brilliant breakaway move to beat one of the best goaltenders in the game. 

Highlights below, followed by some celebratory extras: 

•Through two contests this season, the Flyers have hung NINE goals on Ryan Miller. [/Lindy Ruff face]
•With Leino's goal, the Flyers now have eight players with double-digit goals. 
•Scott Hartnell's pair of tallies tied his season total of 14 from last season. 
•Andrej Meszaros added to his league-leading +/- total with a plus-2 on the night. Ville Leino was also a plus-2, and he's now third in the league in the category.
•Anthony SanFilippo pointed out before the game that the Flyers are 6-0-0 when Nik Zherdev is scratched. Make that 7. Not many teams can afford to be without one of their most talented scorers, but the Flyers aren't most teams. 
•The Flyers won 33 faceoffs and lost 22. That helps. 
•JVR scored in the third period, but the goal was waved off due to a high stick by Giroux. It was an amazing play by both guys though, with JVR knocking the pass down, juggling it with the toe of his skate, and knocking it in out of mid-air. 
•The Flyers are now three points ahead of the Penguins for the division and conference lead, and they've played two fewer games. 
•The tough four-games-in-six-days road trip continues with games in Boston on Thursday, Atlanta on Friday, and New York on Sunday. 

(AP Photo/David Duprey)

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

OKLAHOMA CITY -- James Harden scored 21 points, and the Houston Rockets overcame Russell Westbrook's seventh consecutive triple-double to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-99 on Friday night.

Harden also had 12 assists and nine rebounds to help the Rockets win their fifth straight. Houston withstood Harden's 6-for-23 shooting effort.

Westbrook finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He has the longest triple-double streak since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989. The most in a row is nine by Philadelphia's Wilt Chamberlain in March 1968.

It was Westbrook's 12th triple-double this season and the 49th of his career. He is the NBA's active leader in the category and ranks sixth all-time.

The Thunder had won the previous six games during Westbrook's triple-double binge (see full story).

James moves into 9th on scoring list as Cavs top Heat 114-84
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 27 points to move into ninth place on the NBA scoring list, and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Miami Heat 114-84 on Friday night.

James passed Elvin Hayes on a driving layup with 6:58 remaining and has 27,315 career points. The four-time MVP was removed about a minute later and received a loud ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

Kevin Love, a game-time decision because of back spasms, scored a team-high 28 points and had 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers. He missed the morning shootaround but was in the lineup after warming up on the court about an hour before tip-off.

Kyrie Irving added 23 points for the Cavs, who have won three straight after losing three in a row.

Derrick Williams scored 17 points to lead the short-handed Heat, who have lost four straight (see full story). 

Schroder has career-high 33, Hawks rally past Bucks 114-110
MILWAUKEE -- Dennis Schroder scored a career-high 33 points and the Atlanta Hawks rallied from 20 down in the second half to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-110 on Friday night.

Paul Millsap had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18.

The Hawks, who ended a seven-game losing streak Wednesday with a win over Miami, trailed by 20 at halftime. A 40-point third quarter put them back in the game.

Jabari Parker scored 27 for Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo, in foul trouble throughout the game, had 14.

Atlanta pulled ahead 105-103 on Kyle Korver's jumper with 3:15 remaining, giving the Hawks their first lead since early in the game (see full story). 

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets top Red Wings to notch 5th straight win

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets top Red Wings to notch 5th straight win

DETROIT -- Brandon Dubinsky scored a tiebreaking goal in the second period and the surging Columbus Blue Jackets won their fifth straight game, 4-1 over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.

Lukas Sedlak got his first NHL goal for the Blue Jackets, who have earned at least a point in 12 of their last 13 games. Cam Atkinson contributed a short-handed goal in the first period for Columbus.

Dylan Larkin's power-play goal in the second was the only scoring of the night for the Red Wings. Sergei Bobrovsky had 32 saves for the Blue Jackets.

Sam Gagner scored into an empty net with 13.9 seconds remaining (see full story). 

Staal scores in 6th round of SO to lift Wild over Oilers
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Eric Staal scored in the sixth round of a shootout and the Minnesota Wild beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Friday night.

Matt Dumba and Jason Zucker scored in regulation for Minnesota, which has won three straight.

Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves. He entered with a league-best .946 save percentage and 1.65 goals-against average.

Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had goals for the Oilers, whose four-game losing streak began with a 2-1 home overtime loss to the Wild last Sunday.

Staal scored on a backhand deke before Nugent-Hopkins fired wide in the sixth round (see full story). 

Raanta, Rangers beat Blackhawks 1-0 in overtime
CHICAGO -- Nick Holden scored 55 seconds into overtime, Antti Raanta made 26 saves against his former team and the New York Rangers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 on Friday night.

Derek Stepan passed from the boards to a streaking Holden in the middle of the ice, and he beat Scott Darling on the stick side for his fourth goal of the season.

Darling was going for his second straight shutout while subbing for injured starter Corey Crawford but had to settle for another solid performance.

Raanta, who made his NHL debut with Chicago in 2013 and played for the Blackhawks for two seasons before he was traded to New York, improved to 15-0-3 in 20 career appearances at the United Center.

The 27-year-old Raanta had 17 saves in Thursday's 2-1 victory at Winnipeg, and coach Alain Vigneault opted to give him a second straight start over Henrik Lundqvist because of his recent play and his success in Chicago (see full story).

Oshie, Johansson, Grubauer lift Caps over Sabres 4-1
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- T.J. Oshie and Marcus Johansson each scored a goal, Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves and the Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Friday night for their third straight win.

Jakub Vrana and John Carlson also scored, helping Washington beat Buffalo for the third time in 15 days.

Kyle Okposo scored and Robin Lehner made 25 saves for Buffalo. The Sabres have lost three of their last four.

Oshie gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead 6:43 into the second period when he lifted a shot from the right edge of the crease past Lehner. Jay Beagle drew two defenders into the corner and sent the puck back to a wide open Oshie for his ninth goal of the season (see full story).