You're Not Alone: Peter Laviolette Can't Believe They Got Swept by the Rangers Either

You're Not Alone: Peter Laviolette Can't Believe They Got Swept by the Rangers Either

Rivalries ebb and flow, peak and valley over time. Sometimes one team falls off for a long enough period that the general dislike is still there, but there's just something less vitriolic about each meeting.

In the the late 90s and early 2000s, it was the Devils as the Flyers' chief antagonist. Since the '04-'05 lockout, it's been the Penguins. And, really, after Eric Lindros flattened Mark Messier and company in '97 Eastern Finals, the Flyers' rivalry with the Rangers had trended more towards one of those valleys. Don't get me wrong, no one started liking the Rangers all of a sudden, but the passion for the rivalry had waned for some, if not many.

That said, it doesn't take much for one of these long-standing feuds to get reignited. In fact, getting waxed 0-6 in a regular season and losing a Winter Classic at home just might do the trick. It seems to have for coach Peter Laviolette.

Lavy, like you, can't believe the Flyers were unable to take even one game off the Rangers this season. In part one of his offseason mailbag, he answers a fan question "the biggest surprise on the season" for him:

PL: “I hope this doesn't come off sounding bad, but honestly, the biggest surprise of the season was not beating the Rangers in a single game. I think of our team as a strong competitive team and I view the Rangers as the same. If someone would have asked before the year if it would surprise me if we didn't take one game from the Rangers I would have scoffed at them and told them they were crazy. So the fact that the season took place and we were unable win one game in the series...well...I'm surprised.”

It's worth noting that outside of two to three occasions in which the Flyers clearly couldn't hang, including those back-to-back weekend afternooners on Feb. 5 and Feb. 11, they skated with the Rangers and could have, perhaps should have, split that season series if a few extra bounces gone their way. Without dispute, they could have at least taken a game (see: Winter Classic).

The histrionics of this year's first round series against the Penguins aside, if you can manage to put them aside, doesn't it feel good to really passionately dislike the Rangers? If only it didn't have to take a season sweep to get the fire burning once again.

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Unrelated Note: The Flyers' stylize Lavy's nickname as "Lavi." Your thoughts.

Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Reds 3

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USA Today Images

Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Reds 3

BOX SCORE

The Phillies rallied for a 4-3 walk-off win over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.

Tommy Joseph won it with a single up the middle with no outs in the bottom of the ninth. The hit scored Aaron Altherr, who had singled and moved to second on a wild pitch.

The Phils have won just six of their last 27 games. Joseph has had a walk-off, game-winning hit in the last two wins.

In addition to Joseph, who also homered, the star of the game was the Phillies' bullpen. Four Phils' relievers combined on 3 2/3 scoreless innings after starter Jerad Eickhoff exited. The Phillies' bullpen is riding a 19 2/3-innings scoreless streak.

Starting pitching report
Eickhoff allowed eight hits and three runs over 5 1/3 innings. He gave up a bunt hit and a two-run homer to the first two batters of the game but took a 3-2 lead into the sixth inning. He allowed a leadoff single and a one-out RBI double in that inning as the Reds tied the game at 3-3.

Veteran Bronson Arroyo, back in action at age 40 after recovering from surgery the last two seasons, gave up three runs — all on solo homers — over five innings.

Bullpen report
Good work by Edubray Ramos to get two outs in the sixth to strand a runner in scoring position and preserve a 3-3 tie. Pat Neshek, Joaquin Benoit and Hector Neris each followed with a scoreless inning. Neris struck out dangerous Joey Votto on a splitter with a man on base to end the top of the ninth. He got the win.

Austin Brice pitched two scoreless innings for the Reds. Michael Lorenzen took the loss. He gave up two hits in the ninth. Joseph's game-winning hit came on a 97 mph heater.

At the plate
Cesar Hernandez, Michael Saunders and Joseph all clouted solo homers for the Phillies. Joseph has six homers in his last 21 games.

Zack Cozart smacked a two-run homer against Eickhoff in the first inning. The Reds tied the game on a one-out double by Scooter Gennett in the sixth.

Remembering Bunning
Jim Bunning died Friday night. Larry Bowa recalled the impact that the Hall of Famer had on his career (see story).

Up next
The series concludes Sunday afternoon. Zach Eflin (0-2, 5.36) and Scott Feldman (3-4, 3.99) are the pitchers.

Soul hold off Valor in 48-47 win, remain unbeaten on the season

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Soul hold off Valor in 48-47 win, remain unbeaten on the season

The Soul on Saturday survived a late scare and moved to 7-0 on the season with a 48-47 win over the Washington Valor at Verizon Center.

With 41 seconds left, the Valor scored a touchdown and appeared poised to tie up the game. However, a fumbled snap led to a failed extra-point attempt and the Soul promptly recovered the ensuing onside kick.

"It’s hard to win a game in arena football, but we'll take them any way we can," Soul head coach Clint Dolezel told the team's official website. "We are definitely happy with 7-0 and looking forward to this bye week to get healed up and ready to finish the second half of the season." 

Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh led the way with 148 passing yards and five touchdowns. Wide receiver Ryan McDaniel led the team with four receptions, racking up 49 yards, while Darius Reynolds had 54 yards on three receptions. Each receiver reeled in two touchdown catches while Shaun Kauleinamoku accounted for the fifth score.

Running back Mykel Benson ran in a one-yard touchdown while Chirs Duvalt returned a kickoff 58 yards for a touchdown before halftime.

The Soul have a bye week before returning to the Wells Fargo Center on June 10 to face the Cleveland Gladiators.