Flyers Pick up Slack for Injured Teammates, Casually Rout Capitals

Flyers Pick up Slack for Injured Teammates, Casually Rout Capitals

From deflections to well-placed screens to a general lack of preparedness from not one, but two Capitals goalies, the Flyers proved on Tuesday night that good things do indeed happen when you put the puck on net.

Five different Flyers—Hartnell, Bourdon, Simmonds, Talbot and Voracek—found themselves on the score sheet, while goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov was plenty solid when called upon, backstopping a 5-1 victory for the team's sixth-straight win.

Even without captain Chris Pronger, league point leader Claude Giroux and the rest of the their missing cast of characters, the Flyers showed, as Matt pointed out in the game thread, that they're still "every bit a team that should be expected to be in every game they play." Against the still-struggling Caps, they were far more than just "in" the game.

game summary, assorted notes and highlights below...

Game Summary:
Capitals goalie Tomas Vokoun was shaky from the start, frequently scrambling and looking badly out of position. And, even when he was square to the shooter, he wasn't always attentive. Take, for example, a simple wrist shot from the top of the left hand circle that caught Vokoun totally off-guard and with his five hole wide open. The goal, the 200th of Scott Hartnell's career, put the Flyers ahead 1-0 by the end of the first.

The third period played out in largely unremarkable fashion, with both the Caps and the Flyers netting one a piece. For the Orange & Black, Jake Voracek would beat Capitals backup Michal Neurvirth on yet another deflection, just managing to keep his stick under the crossbar to prevent the goal from being called back after a review from the War Room in Toronto.

Notes:
--Hartnell's career 200th makes it six straight games for the winger with a goal. Not the strongest skater, but, man, what a shot (Is that goal regulation size or what?).

--Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said he before the game that he has been looking to increase Jakub Voracek's ice time, but hadn't found the right time. With Giroux out the lineup, he finally found the opportunity. Voracek led all Flyers forwards in ice time in the first period and played a total 17:18 on Tuesday night.

--While we're on the subject, Matt Carle led all skaters with a registered 25:27 TOI. He was up over ten minutes after just the first period.

--Braydon Coburn turned in a particularly strong performance, leading all skaters with four hits and assisting on Talbot's goal (as seen above). Always nice to see a strong night from Coby. He sometimes has a style where his most effective nights are when he's the least noticeable, and where his most noticeable nights are when he's the least effective. Guy gets a tough rap sometimes. Good to see him stand out in a positive manner.

--Largely held in the check for the entirety of the evening, superstar Alexander Ovechkin was given little time and even less space. Though his 2011-2012 struggles continue, it's worth noting that Ovechkin is quickly becoming one the great modern Flyer killers. In 24 games against Philadelphia, Ovechkin has a filthy 37 points on 22 goals and 15 assists. For reference, those numbers are more than just slightly ahead of the pace set by Claude Giroux's league-leading 39 points in 28 games this season.

--Jaromir Jagr was treated to litany of boos from the crowd at the Verizon Center nearly every time he touched the puck. Though his time in Washington was somewhat unremarkable despite better than a point-per-game average, the backlash was actually a little surprising and funny.

Upcoming Schedule:
The Flyers will be back at in Montreal on Thursday night. After their meeting with the Habs, they will host the Bruins on Saturday before playing their next five straight on the road. They will return home for, you guessed it, the Winter Classic on January 2nd. Speaking of which, don't forget that HBO's 24/7 Flyers-Rangers series premieres tomorrow night at 10 p.m.

Full Highlights:

Phillies' clubhouse reflects on life of Marlins' Jose Fernandez

ap-jose-fernandez-phillies.jpg
The Associated Press

Phillies' clubhouse reflects on life of Marlins' Jose Fernandez

NEW YORK — The clubhouse mood following the Phillies17-0 loss to the Mets Sunday was somber, in part because of the disastrous game that had just wrapped up, but also because of the tragic news of Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez’s death in a boating accident early Sunday morning.

“It was rough. People are devastated. I didn’t even know him and I was crushed,” Phillies starter Jake Thompson said. “I can only imagine how that clubhouse feels. That’s something that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy, to deal with something of that magnitude.”

Both teams paused for a moment of silence before Sunday’s game and the Mets taped a jersey bearing Fernandez’s name and number onto their dugout wall.

“This morning, that was quite a surprise,” manager Pete Mackanin said of the atmosphere of the day. “I don’t think it affected the players once the game started. It was such bad news this morning that everybody was kind of melancholy.”

Fernandez had built a strong track record against the Phillies in his young career, amassing a 2.88 ERA in six starts.

“It’s kind of cliché to say but you look at the start of his career and he could have been a Hall of Famer,” Thompson said.

Asked how he would remember facing Fernandez, Mackanin was succinct.

“He was a helluva pitcher,” he said.

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Phillies suffer worse shutout loss in modern era to Mets

Phillies suffer worse shutout loss in modern era to Mets

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- Jake Thompson faced the issues that a 22-year old starter in his 10th career appearance usually does Sunday against the Mets.
 
Thompson struggled with his command at times, walking the bases loaded in the fourth inning before escaping his self-induced jam with a flyout. He hit a batter and surrendered a home run to Curtis Granderson on a pitch that caught too much of the plate.
 
The righty departed after four innings in what manager Pete Mackanin declared postgame to be Thompson’s last start of the season.
 
But perhaps neither he nor the rest of the Phillies expected the extent to which his struggles would ripple through the bullpen. The Phillies’ relievers surrendered 14 runs, hit three batters and gave up a grand slam in a 17-0 loss, the franchise's worst shutout defeat in the modern era (see Instant Replay).
 
“Obviously the bullpen has scuffled for a while now,” Mackanin said. “That shows you how much the game is about pitching. It keeps you in games, gives you an opportunity to win like it did the first couple of months of the season for us. Now, the last month, it’s not keeping us in games or it’s losing games.”
 
The Phillies’ relievers were charged with 28 runs over the course of their four-game swing in New York. Their collective 4.69 ERA is the fourth-worst in the National League.
 
Sunday, Phil Klein — who hadn’t pitched since he was recalled from Lehigh Valley on Sept. 10 — and little-used Colton Murray and Patrick Schuster — who had combined for three appearances in the past two weeks — took the brunt of the damage.
 
Klein walked two batters, surrendered two singles and hit Mets catcher Rene Rivera in the left hand to force in a run. He left the bases loaded for Murray, who allowed an inherited runner to score on a wild pitch. Murray was pulled in the seventh having gotten into a bases-loaded jam of his own. His replacement, Frank Herrmann, allowed all three runs to score on a walk and a grand slam by Asdrubal Cabrera.
 
Schuster was assigned five runs in the eighth after he was tagged for three hits, walked a batter and hit Gavin Cecchini.
 
Which pitchers — if any — out of the Phillies’ cadre of middle relivers will return next year is an open question and Mackanin made it clear that he will use the remaining six games in the season to evaluate his team’s arms.
 
“It’s another audition.” Mackanin said. “We want to see who might fit in.”
 
Thompson can clearly stake a claim to his role in the Phillies’ rebuilding effort. Despite the hiccup in his final outing, he has come a long way in just two months from being the pitcher that surrendered six runs to the light-hitting Padres in his Aug. 6 debut.

His changeup — a pitch that hitters had connected on for six home runs this year, according to data from Fangraphs — was particularly lively Sunday. Cabrera chased it out of the zone in the first inning for Thompson’s only strikeout.
 
“I think the changeup’s probably been my best pitch up here,” Thompson said. “I’ve given up a lot of homers on it, too. That just shows whenever you don’t execute it, it’s a tough pitch to throw in the zone. As far as the swing-and-misses that I was getting with it, it’s kind of night and day.
 
“At this point last year I pretty much had no changeup, so that’s a big thing for me.”
 
Only 23 on Opening Day next year, Thompson has plenty of room to improve.
 
The Phillies’ bullpen does, too.

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