Game 19: Flyers at Winnipeg Jets Another Run and Gun Game?

Game 19: Flyers at Winnipeg Jets Another Run and Gun Game?

Last time the Flyers met the Winnipeg Jets (which, incidentally, was the first time since the mid '90s), the teams put on an offensive display for the ages, totaling 17 goals in a game the Jets won by a single goal with just over a minute to play.

While that game was exciting for its goal scoring and a dramatic come-from-behind performance by the Flyers, it was frustrating and more than a little alarming for a team that had lost its defensive and goaltending identities. Fortunately, the lapse seems to have been only transient, with Ilya Bryzgalov recovering somewhat quickly and the defense returning to form, aided by Chris Pronger rejoining the lineup. And, their luck seems to have improved. The stretch of bad bounces and deflections victimizing their best efforts seems to have waned for the time being.

So what will we get from these two clubs today, when the Flyers play in snowy Winnipeg for the first time since Eric Lindros was captain and Ron Hextall was in net?

First, I gotta just say, I absolutely love the fact that there is once again a hockey team in Winnipeg, and that they didn't change the name from the Jets. It's like we got a piece of the hockey of our youths back, with the added benefit of erasing the Atlanta Thrashers from the NHL map.

Since Their Last Meeting…
The Flyers' 9-8 loss to the Jets on October 27th may have been the low point of their season to date. Fortunately, it seems to have kickstarted an upswing that has them currently sitting at first place in the Eastern Conference standings. Since that loss, the Flyers have collected points in eight straight games, with their only two losses coming after the regulation horn blew.

They've won three straight heading into Saturday afternoon's matinee showdown with the Jets.

Winnipeg is coming off a pair of very impressive home wins, topping the Tampa Lightning by a 5-2 count on Monday and clipping the Washington Capitals, 4-1, on Thursday. However, the Jets had lost five straight (three in regulation) before that, displaying an inconsistency that makes them hard to quantify. We don't have to look beyond their win over the Flyers and their brace of W's this past week to see that they can skate with anyone, but their overall record (7-9-3) shows that they can and should be outclassed by more consistent teams. Still, their confidence has to be on the rise after taking out Tampa and the Caps.

Player Notes
Jaromir Jagr will miss the game for the Flyers after coming up lame in the win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday. The Flyers obviously have the firepower to survive that loss, but it sucks to see one of hockey's most dangerous duos tampered with for any reason. Of course, I might score if put alongside Claude Giroux. NHL.com's Adam Kimelman lists a slew of injured defensemen for the Jets, including Ron Hainsey, Derek (Mike) Meech, Tobias "Funke" Enstrom, and Randy Jones, plus a questionable Brett Festerling.

No official announcement yet on goalies, but Ondrej Pavelec is on a roll for the Jets, and Bryz has his mojo going for the Flyers. Neither team played Friday, so both should be available unless their coaches want to get the backups some work.

Update: Peter Laviolette says Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start in net. Redemption Song, Bobby.

Guess how Dave Spadaro felt about Zach Ertz not blocking for Carson Wentz

Guess how Dave Spadaro felt about Zach Ertz not blocking for Carson Wentz

Eagles fans were pretty livid earlier in the week when they saw Zach Ertz do what he could to avoid making a block for Carson Wentz.

Ertz, for his part, defended himself.

“I understand all the criticism and stuff,” Ertz said on Wednesday. “I’m not going to get into the details of every thought I had on that play. I’m focused on giving this city everything I have on each and every play. I promise going forward, I will do that. I think I have done that in the past. 

"I understand how it looks on the film, but I’m not going to get into the minute details of what I saw on the play and what I didn’t see on the play and how it impacted the play and vice versa. I’m focused on getting better. I know I’m far from a finished product as a tight end. I’m looking forward to this week against the Redskins.”

Dave Spadaro was a guest on Philly Sports Talk this week and was also asked about the play. Guess what he had to say? You can watch the video above.

 

Joel Embiid 'shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry'

Joel Embiid 'shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry'

NEW ORLEANS -- Of all the players Joel Embiid could be compared to, a similarity between a 7-foot-2, 270-something-pound center and a 6-foot-3, 190-pound point guard wouldn’t seem like a match.

That’s exactly what Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry sees, however, when looking at Embiid and reigning MVP Steph Curry.

“He’s different than anybody that’s been in this league in a long, long time,” Gentry said Thursday before the Sixers win over the Pelicans. “He’s a tremendous talent, he really is. I’ve never seen a guy that size, and with that kind of strength, that’s got such a soft touch. He shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry. It’s so soft when it leaves his hand.”

Curry is shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from three. Embiid is 45.8 percent from the floor is 44.2 percent from long range.

Embiid flashed a big smile and paused to react when hearing of Gentry’s praise. He had been feeling hard on himself after going 0 for 5 beyond the arc against the Pelicans (see story).

“Steph is probably one of the best shooters in the league right now," Embiid said. "So that compliment means a lot."