Jesus that took forever. Just before midnight, the San Diego Padres'
went ahead in the 13th inning of the NL Wild Card play-in game, with
Scott Hairston taking one out against Colorado's 9th pitcher of the
game. Most Phillies fans have been hoping the Padres would be the team
they'd face in the first round, as Colorado has been on fire lately
(including against the Phillies), and San Diego had to use Cy Young
shoe-in Jake Peavy tonight, taking him out of the rotation until
probably game 3.
Then Colorado came back, with MVP candidate Matt Holliday taking the RBI lead from Ryan Howard (needing an extra game to do it), and scoring the winning run—or did he? On the replay, Michael Barrett looked to block the plate, with Holliday missing the plate and doing a full-on face plant. (note: Sager is a loser) Holliday went 2-6 in the game, putting up 3 huge Ks before coming through with a huge liner that would have left CBP in a hurry.
The Rockies have won 14 of their last 15, including slaughtering the
Phightens at home in September. Both teams win by slugging, and both
play in run-friendly stadiums, so we're probably in store for some
football scores this week (we need them from one of our teams).
I hate to say it, but the Rockies are for real. Troy Tulowitsky may
be the Rookie of the Year, Holliday is admittedly one of the best in
the game, Garrett Atkins snapped a first-half slump to finish over
.300, and they've gotten solid pitching from the top half of their
rotation. Sure we would have preferred the Padres, but that's why they
just choked got eliminated. We jokingly hoped this
game would go to extra extra innings, and it did, causing the Rockies
to go deep down their bench and wear out some relievers, which could
really play a factor in the series vs. the Phillies.
It looks like it's going to be a helluva series any way you slice it, with both teams on fire heading into the postseason.
You know it’s a good night when seven players are plus-2.
When your rookies have strong bounce-back games.
When Jakub Voracek scores his first two goals of the season.
And when Matt Read, ladies and gentleman, climbs atop the NHL leader board with five goals.
All of which unfolded Saturday night as the Flyers snapped a three-game losing skid and earned their first home victory, 6-3, over the Carolina Hurricanes at the Wells Fargo Center (see Instant Replay).
“It was pretty solid and the goals we let in there were our own mistakes,” said Steve Mason, who picked up his first win in four games with 27 saves.
“We need to clean that up but when it came down to third period we needed to lock it up, it was a pretty good test, there.”
There’s still work to be done. Things like bearing down on the faceoff and open men in the high slot where Mason again twice faced tee shots without support.
Yet the good outweighs all that. The Flyers again rallied, this time from a two-goal deficit, to score four times in the second period to take over the game.
Few players could be happier than 19-year-old rookie Ivan Provorov.
The Russian defenseman has had a tough week on both sides of the puck. He set up two goals and almost three with a flip pass to Read for a breakaway chance that led to a Flyers power play that ended with Wayne Simmonds’ tipping one home to put the game out of reach late at 5-3
“I felt comfortable from the first shift and built on that,” Provorov said. “It helps when the whole team plays a great game.”
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol changed his partner to Brandon Manning but didn’t think that impacted much on the kid’s offensive performance.
“He played a good hockey game,” Hakstol said. “There were a lot of questions coming in how he handled things. We all felt inside our locker room that he has handled things well through some ups and downs.
“He was a solid player tonight. Sometimes, a little change for the sake of change is a good thing.”
Although they weren’t setting the net afire, the Flyers did have a better start to the game. Carolina is a speed team which forces you to match their pace and the Flyers responded in kind.
Carolina scored twice off coverage gaffes in the opening three minutes of the second period before Brandon Manning, surprisingly the club’s best defenseman thus far, went forehand/backhand on Eddie Lack for a clutch goal that gave the Flyers life.
Couple minutes later, Provorov set up Voracek, then Read with excellent point drives to turn the deficit into a 3-2 lead.
“It happens in games – you fall behind,” Provorov said. “All you have to do is stick with it. That’s what we did.”
Voracek now has seven points which leads the Flyers in scoring. He promised a bounce-back season after last year’s disappointment.
“He’s been pretty consistent right from camp all the way through,” Hakstol said. “Tonight was one of his better 60-minute performances. He played at a high level, start to finish.”
Meanwhile, Read was impressed with how Provorov responded after consecutive minus efforts. You can’t underestimate the importance of getting point shots through to generate goal scoring.
“He’s such a smart, heads-up player out there,” Read said. “He had a minus in Chicago, a couple bad bounces, things happened and he had a tough game.
“I still think every game, for a 19-year-old defenseman, making plays the way he is playing, it’s fun to watch out there. He keeps playing like this, he is gonna be a good D in this league for a long time.”
A four-goal outburst in the second period enabled the Flyers to overcome a two-goal deficit en route to a 6-3 victory Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The win – first at home this season -- snapped a three-game losing skid.
Matt Read scored his fifth goal in as many games which ties him for the NHL goal lead while four other players had two points.
Defensemen Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere both had strong rebound games after struggling earlier this week.
Wayne Simmonds gave goalie Steve Mason some breathing room late in the third period with a power play goal to make it 5-3.
Jakub Voracek’s first goal of the season: a redirect in the paint off Provorov’s point drive to make it 2-2 in the second period. He had a goal late, as well.
Mason needs to get some help in front. It’s not all on the defense, either. The forwards are being slack in coming back up ice. Too much room in the slot for guys to tee it up on Mason.
More entry problems and not enough quality shots on Eddie Lack at the outset. Read’s goal late in the second period off a Provorov drive came one second after a power play ended and it gave the Flyers their first lead at 3-2. Provorov had a very strong game, springing Read for a breakaway in the third period that resulted in a power play (tripping) leading to Simmonds' goal. The Flyers were 1 of 4 on the man advantage overall.
Despite traffic in front, Carolina’s Justin Faulk found all net with a point shot on the Canes' carryover power play in the second period.
I can’t remember ever seeing a charging call at center ice. Almost always happens along the boards. Yet Konecny was given one on Joakim Nordstrom, who’s four inches taller. That aside, it was a clean shoulder hit. Konecny never made contact with the head.
Flyers again having trouble, losing 60 percent of them in the first period.
Radko Gudas (suspended) and Dale Weise (suspended); Scott Laughton (knee), Michael Del Zotto (knee), and Michael Raffl (abdominal pull).
The Flyers will practice Sunday at Skate Zone, then travel immediately to Montreal for Monday’s game against the Canadiens.