Flyers-Pens Game 4: It's the 33 Year Storm, Johnny

Flyers-Pens Game 4: It's the 33 Year Storm, Johnny

Good news from the Winnipeg Sun greets us this evening:

Do hockey miracles occur every 33 years?

The Philadelphia Flyers certainly hope so.

Down 3-0 in their Eastern Conference final against the Pittsburgh
Penguins and heading into Game 4 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia
tonight, the Flyers will attempt to become just the third team in NHL
history to come back from such a post-season deficit to win a playoff
series.

In 1942, the Maple Leafs became the first
team to accomplish the feat, clawing their way back from three games
down to dispose of the Detroit Red Wings.

In 1975, some 33 years later, the New York Islanders did it, overcoming the steep odds against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

And 33 plus 1975 is... 2008. So there you have it. Math has proven that not only will the Flyers win tonight, but also the next three games. I also like that only two teams ever choking away a 3-0 conference finals lead, and the Penguins are one of them. I don't know what all the doom and gloom and talk of 100 consecutive seasons without a championship is about. I say the stars are aligned (no Dallas-related pun intended.; those guys are done).

In all seriousness, we know it's do or die time, game 4 is game 7, the separator of men, boys, and assorted other win or go home clichés.

John Stevens has shaken up the top three lines and made a scratch/substitution on the fourth in the hopes of sparking an offense that has been muted so far this series. Kimmo remains sidelined for the foreseeable future, and Braydon Coburn will be trying to make out the shapes on the ice from the owner's suite. But despite the new faces lining up alongside each other and the seemingly mistake-free hockey Pens have been playing for much of the first three games, something tells me the Flyers win this one. All season long, the they've surged, then slumped, only to win again when they're counted out. Everyone is officially calling their season over at this point, so they're due for that unexpected W.

No matter what happens though, I know the crowd will support them tonight, and there will be a standing O when there's no time left on the clock.

We'll see you in traffic. Should be glorious with the Flyers and the Hamels Gang both at home tonight. Until then, and hopefully not for the last time this season, Stormy.

Temple cracks Top 25 in final CFP rankings, will play in Military Bowl

ap-temple.jpg
The Associated Press

Temple cracks Top 25 in final CFP rankings, will play in Military Bowl

After winning its first American Athletic Conference championship Saturday, Temple learned its postseason fate Sunday and it does not involve a New Year's Six bowl game.

The Owls will play Wake Forest in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Annapolis, Maryland. Temple also finished No. 24 in the final College Football Playoff rankings and No. 23 in the AP poll.

At 10-3, Temple has its first back-to-back 10-win season in program history. It's also the first time the Owls have been ranked in consecutive seasons. Head coach Matt Rhule now has 28 wins as Temple's head coach, tying him with Bruce Arians' for the sixth-most in school history.

Wake Forest finished the season 6-6 and on a three-game losing streak, but two of those three loses came to No. 2 Clemson and No. 13 Louisville. The Deamon Deacons have lost five of their last six games.

Flyers-Predators 5 things: Going for longest win streak since 2014

Flyers-Predators 5 things: Going for longest win streak since 2014

Flyers (13-10-3) at Predators (11-8-4)
6 p.m. on CSN and CSNPhilly.com

The Flyers have won a season-high four games in a row. They'll try to make it five Sunday night when they visit the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena for the second game of a back-to-back set.

Let's take a look at five things you need to know.

1. Streaking like 2014?
Not only do the Flyers have a chance to extend their season-best winning streak, but they're also looking to win their most consecutive games since March 15-22, 2014, when they also won five straight.

The Flyers have put up strong showings in the back ends of back-to-backs, going 4-1-1 thus far.

“You just have to have the work ethic night in and night out," Steve Mason said Saturday after the Flyers' 3-1 win over the Blackhawks. "And, I think we were struggling to find that. There are games when we were swarming and giving teams no other option, and other nights we were chasing the puck.

"We have another tough test going to Nashville to play. So, we’re going to have to follow up with another great effort.” 

2. A Provorov encore?
Ivan Provorov's confidence has to be at his highest of the season.

In Saturday's win, the 19-year-old blueliner scored two goals in a 31-second span to double his goal total through the first 25 games.

Provorov said he thinks defense first, but the offensive production is a good sign.

“Score one goal in a game, it’s a good feeling. Score two in one shift, it’s unbelievable,” Provorov said.

“Every time you score, it’s like a confidence booster."

3. Predators finding stride
After losing eight of their first 11 games, Peter Laviolette's Predators have gotten on track, going 8-3-1 since.

Nashville ranks in the top half of the league in goals per game (3.00 — tied for fifth), goals against per game (2.61 — 15th), power-play percentage (22.6 — sixth) and penalty-kill percentage (84.5 — 10th).

Last time out, the Predators blew a 4-1 lead in the third period for a 5-4 overtime loss to the Devils on Saturday, so they should be extra focused.

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: On Saturday, Brayden Schenn scored just his second goal in his past 18 games. Schenn can be streaky so maybe he feeds off that goal. He's also a career plus-4 against the Predators, with two goals and three assists in eight games.

Predators: Let's go P.K. Subban, who isn't exactly a favorite among Flyers fans. He's off to a nice start in his first season in Nashville with six goals and 10 assists, and eight points (three goals, five assists) in his last eight games.

5. This and that
• Flyers goalie Steve Mason is 7-7-5 with a 2.42 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in 20 career games against the Predators.

• Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne is 3-2-2 with a 2.91 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in seven career games against the Flyers.

• Claude Giroux is four assists away from passing Rick MacLeish (369) and Eric Lindros (369) for fifth on the Flyers’ all-time list.