To Beat the Predators: Flyers Invite Nashville in for a Little Visit

To Beat the Predators: Flyers Invite Nashville in for a Little Visit

After a week off for the All-Star Game and a mind-numbing shutout in Tampa, the Flyers have returned home for a four-game stand hosting the Predators, Stars, Hurricanes, and Kings. All are pretty solid teams, with the Preds and Stars occupying the fourth and third seeds in the Western Conference and the Hurricanes and Kings knocking on the eighth-seed door. 

Nashville is coming off of three straight losses spanning over the break. Two of those came against the Flames, with the second being a 3-2 shootout L. In those three losses, they've scored only four total goals, which is in keeping with their overall low output for the season (2.5 GPG, 25th in the NHL). But Pekka Rinne has been a stingy bugger in net for them, second to only Tim Thomas in both GAA (2.10) and save percentage (.929). 

Just what the Flyers needed coming off a shutout to Dwayne Roloson, right? A date with Pekka Rinne? Wrong! Rinne will sit tonight... Goaltending matchup and more, including a video on Bobby Clarke's banner night, below.

Anders Lindback will start in net for the Predators, and perhaps coming as a surprise to many Flyers fans, Sergei Bobrovsky will get a chance to wipe away a forgettable three-goal first period against the Lightning. The only thing we've come to expect from Peter Laviolette's goalie carousel is that he'll usually start the guy who's "hottest." After a below-average if also somewhat unlucky 20 minutes for Bob, the Flyers got some solid play from Brian Boucher. 

Maybe Lavvy wants to see how the kid responds to getting the hook. Maybe he wants to see if one of these guys will take over the job now that the second (less than) half has started. Who knows. 

More important than who is in net is whether the Flyers will be able to generate more pressure around Lindback, something they failed to do to Roloson. They are usually very good at camping out, crossing with timely screens, and especially bearing down on the net two at a time, with a pass finding a forward's tape within a foot or two of the crease. Looking through Roloson's big saves in the video console, most weren't really anything too special, with little in the way of chaos around his crease. 

Lindback is a 6'6 rookie out of Sweden, but he's currently 10-4-2 with two shutouts, handling his workload fairly well. Like Bob, he'll also be looking to put his last start behind him, having been shelled for six goals in Chicago two weeks ago. 

Before the game, the Flyers will give Bobby Clarke his banner from the Spectrum, which is quite literally in ruins now. If ever anyone deserved the honor of a number hanging in the rafters, it's Clarkie.


Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

Best of NBA: Dwyane Wade hits dagger 3-pointer in Bulls debut

CHICAGO -- Dwyane Wade scored 22 points in a triumphant Chicago debut, Jimmy Butler had 24 and the Bulls won their season opener, beating the Boston Celtics 105-99 on Thursday night.

Wade nailed a 3 from the corner in the final minute to make it a five-point game. Taj Gibson added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the new-look Bulls got off to a winning start after missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 25 points. Avery Bradley had 16, and Jae Crowder 14 points, but the Celtics came up short after opening with a win over Brooklyn the previous night.

The Bulls remade their roster in the offseason, jettisoning one hometown superstar and welcoming another when they traded Derrick Rose to New York and signed Wade to a two-year deal worth about $47 million in a move that stunned Miami.

The three-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star is off to a good start with the Bulls after 13 seasons with the Heat.

Wade hit 4 of 6 3-pointers in this game after making just seven all of last season (see full recap).

New-look Hawks roll past Wizards
ATLANTA -- Dwight Howard dominated the boards in his Atlanta debut, Paul Millsap scored 28 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. ignited the new-look Hawks to a 114-99 victory over the Washington Wizards in their season opener Thursday night.

Howard grabbed 19 rebounds to go along with 11 points, just what the Hawks expected from their new center, and it certainly wasn't unusual for three-time All-Star Millsap to lead the way in scoring.

But Hardaway's performance was totally unexpected given the way he struggled in his first season with the Hawks, when he was largely confined to the bench and even forced to spend time in the D-League.

He scored 21 points, matching his high in an Atlanta uniform, and broke open a close game with back-to-back 3-pointers in the fourth. The Hawks, who led only 81-80 heading to the final period, outscored the Wizards 33-19 over the final 12 minutes (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Canadiens rally past Lightning for 6th straight win

Best of NHL: Canadiens rally past Lightning for 6th straight win

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty scored the tiebreaking goal in Montreal's three-goal third period as the Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 Thursday night for their sixth straight win.

Alex Galchenyuk and Torrey Mitchell also scored to help Montreal improve to 7-0-1. Carey Price made 29 saves to win for the fourth time in four starts this season.

Alex Killorn scored the lone goal for the Lightning, who lost against an Eastern-Conference opponent for the first time this season. Ben Bishop stopped 23 shots.

With the scored tied 1-1, Pacioretty got the go-ahead goal at 10:23 by beating Bishop glove-side. Blown coverage by the Lightning left the Canadiens' captain all alone on the edge of the face-off circle, and Bishop couldn't see the shot with Andrew Shaw posted firmly in front of goal.

Montreal remains the only NHL team still undefeated in regulation (see full recap).

Crosby's late goal gives Penguins win over Islanders
PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

Patric Hornqvist, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel also scored -- each getting his third of the season -- to help the Penguins win for the third time in four games and improve to 5-0-1 at home.

Crosby, playing for the second straight game after missing the first six with a concussion, scored with 2:25 left as he caught a pass from Scott Wilson at the top of the crease and quickly turned to his forehand to put the puck behind Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak.

Kessel added a power-play goal to cap the scoring 32 seconds later.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 35 shots while starting for the eighth straight game.

Travis Hamonic and Shane Prince scored for the Islanders, and Halak finished with 31 saves (see full recap).

Streaking Red Wings win marathon shootout vs. Blues
ST. LOUIS -- Henrik Zetterberg scored in the eighth round of a shootout to give the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Zetterberg's goal gave the Red Wings a six-game winning streak.

In the shootout, St. Louis' first shooter, Alexander Steen, scored but then Vladimir Tarasenko, Kevin Shattenkirk, David Perron, Nail Yakupoc, Robby Fabbri, Patrick Burgland and Dmitrjij Jaskin all came up short.

Gustav Nyquist scored on Detroit's second attempt but Frans Nielsen, Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheehan and Darren Helm all missed.

St. Louis had the better chances in overtime. Center Jaden Schwartz missed a wide-open net early in the extra session. Jori Lehtera was stopped on a breakaway midway through the period by Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek (see full recap).