Bryzgalov, Flyers Lose Another Home Shootout, 2-1 to Jets

Winnipeg Jets' Bryan Little (18) watches his game-winning goal in the net behind Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov (30), of Russia, during the shootout period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday,  Jan. 31, 2012, in Philadelphia.  The Jets won 2-1. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

It was a very different kind of a shootout than the 9-8 horror show between the Philadelphia Flyers and Winnipeg Jets combined for in late-October, but when all was said and done it was yet another loss for the orange-and-black.

While it strayed from the formula of earlier in the year, it’s a finish the Flyers should be accustomed to against the former-Atlanta Thrashers, a team they struggled with down the stretch last year. Tonight’s 2-1 loss in the dreaded shootout followed a fairly similar pattern from last season of the Flyers grabbing a lead, only to cough it up and lose after regulation and overtime couldn’t produce a victor.

After beating Atlanta handily in their first meeting of the 2010-11 campaign, Philly blew two late leads to lose in shootouts (EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks to ‘everybodyhitswoohoo’ for refreshing my memory as to one of the late-season games actually being won by Atlanta in overtime and NOT the shootout. I have appropriately crossed out the ‘s’ in ‘shootouts’), then were shutout, 1-0, by Chris Mason. The Thrashers were a big reason why the Flyers lost their grip on the Eastern Conference lead to the Washington Capitals at season’s end.

The Flyers have a woeful 0-3-3 record against the franchise in their last six meetings.

And now Philadelphia has played three consecutive shootout contests, dropping two and pulling one out. They are now 1-4 in the skills competition this season.

Tonight’s game had its moments, but for the most part was one of those boring January games against a probable non-playoff, non-rival club.

The Positives

It was a much better performance — no, a MUCH BETTER performance — by Ilya Bryzgalov over the now infamous ‘lost in the woods’ game. It appears the All-Star break has done the inconsistent goaltender a world of good, as he stopped 23 of 24 Winnipeg shots. The only shot that beat him (and went into the net) was an improbable perfect shot by Chris Thorburn, who hadn’t scored a goal in an NHL game since March of 2011. There were a couple others that did get past the netminder but hit the goal post, including a Bryan Little shot high to the glove side that caught iron with just over a minute left in the third period. Bryzgalov was far better in the shootout against the Jets, stopping two of the three shooters after going 0-3 against the Boston Bruins on the Sunday before the break.

Jaromir Jagr returned after a two game absence with a nagging groin injury, and he was the Flyers’ best skater. He made some incredible plays in the offensive zone, setting up early-game linemates Brayden Schenn and Matt Read with several incredible passes. While he earned a secondary assist on Schenn’s first period power play goal, Jagr was a force at even strength. His one-timer off a beautiful Read feed beat Ondrej Pavelec, but rang off the post. The sheer magnitude of the shot rocked the Jets’ cage almost off it’s moorings.

A fitness freak within two weeks of his 40th birthday, Jagr actually got stronger as the game progressed. “I feel good,” he said following the loss. “I was a little bit tired during the third period. I was playing a lot for a guy who didn’t play for a long time. Every other shift I was on the ice for the last ten minutes.”

Schenn scored a goal for a second consecutive game, as his play continues to develop.

While they were totally outplayed in giving up third period leads last season, but they carried play tonight in the third. They outshot the Jets by a 13-4 count, even though they didn’t net a go-ahead goal. “We got going in the third period,” said Laviolette of the third period. “Gave ourselves a chance to win the game, but we couldn’t get it done.”

Tough guy Tom Sestito played another effective night on the fourth line, recording five hits in just under eight minutes of play, and doing well in a fight with Thorburn. He appears to offer far more than Jody Shelley at this point, and should supplant him by remaining in the lineup when Danny Briere, James van Riemsdyk, and Zac Rinaldo return.

The special teams were really good tonight — the power play clicked at 100% (1-1), and the penalty killers were a perfect 3-3.

Philly didn’t allow a Winnipeg shot on goal until 10:36 of the first period had been played. That would have been great to jump out to a big lead, but…

The Negatives

The Flyers couldn’t muster a single shot of their own until the 13:35 mark of the opening period, and that one came while on a power play. They repeated the habit of shooting blanks in the second frame, finally registering their initial shot of the stanza when nearly six minutes had been played. The Jets were outshooting them by a 5-0 count by that point.

It was another game in which the Flyers scored first, yet managed to lose in the end.

Little was able to extract a measure of revenge for his earlier fortune, as his shootout goal through Bryzgalov’s five hole was the only goal in the skills competition. “Just a little bit late to close the five-hole,” Bryz said.

“Actually, I think there is an advantage to shooting third because you get to the replays and a chance to see how the goalie reacted,” said Little after the game. He’s right, and it seems Peter Laviolette gives an edge to the visitors by continually opting to shoot first. If you are getting goals to put the pressure on your opponents, that’s one thing. But Flyers skaters have not been too successful in their collective shootout percentage — they’re just 5-15 this season — and the pressure is squarely shifted to the Philly netminders to make a save and get the team to the next round. With the exception of Sergei Bobrovsky’s 3-3 gem against the Florida Panthers in the last game before the break, they have not been able to stand up to that additional pressure.

While Wayne Simmonds has been a good fit for the power play, being in Jagr’s place early on the right side of the Claude GirouxScott Hartnell line didn’t go too well tonight. The line seemed off, and it was no coincidence that the top trio took off as soon as Jagr was re-inserted. Even though they didn’t get a goal, there were moments of total territorial domination.

Rookie defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon had a few moments where the Winnipeg skaters used him as a turnstile on the way to the Flyers’ net. Luckily for him, Bryzgalov covered up the mistakes. It wasn’t all bad for Bourdon, as he did make a nice pass to set up Sean Couturier for a quality scoring chance in the second period and put a hard, low one-timer on Pavelec in the third.

The 20-year-old Schenn was right on target with his assessment of his team’s inability to get it going in the first 40 minutes. “Well, I think for us we were way too cute the first two periods, he said of the Flyers’ over-passing and looking for the perfect set up for an open net. “We didn’t have many shots or many chances and I feel like we didn’t start playing until the third the way we can.” Very smart for a youngster to pick up on that.

The too-many-men on the ice bench minor with just 4:18 remaining in regulation was absolutely unforgivable. The Flyers thankfully were able to kill off the resulting Winnipeg man advantage, but that is something that just cannot happen.

The team gets back at it on Thursday night, at home against the Nashville Predators. Yes, the same club that has Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, the two defensemen every hockey fan in Philly wants Holmgren to somehow wrangle away from Music City.

_________________________________________________

My sincerest of apologies for no POTN and not answering the questions, but Comcast internet in press box is not allowing me to access the actual Broad Street Hockey page all night. That’s why I waited so long to post this, in hopes that I could get that info and post it. Next time, I promise!





THIRD PERIOD THREAD – Jets at Flyers … STAY ON TARGET … STAY ON TARGET

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THIRD PERIOD THREAD – Jets at Flyers … STAY ON TARGET … STAY ON TARGET





Jagr Back as Flyers Host Jets. Pray for Defense.

The Philadelphia Flyers host the Winnipeg Jets, who’ve given them a surprising amount of trouble. Will tonight be any different?



Game 49, Discussion Thread: Winnipeg Jets at Philadelphia Flyers

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Jets_medium Flyers_orange_medium

Winnipeg Jets (22-22-6, 50 pts) at Philadelphia Flyers at (29-14-5, 63 pts)

7 p.m. tonight at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia

Catch the action on CSN Philly, TSN Jets and 94 WIP

[Game Preview] – [Winnipeg Perspective]

Tonight’s goaltenders:


GP MIN W L OTL GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
Ilya Bryzgalov 33 1884 18 10 5 94 2.99 891 797 .895 1


GP MIN W L OTL GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
Ondrej Pavelec 41 2328 16 17 8 110 2.84 1215 1105 .909 3


Flyers Line Combinations

Hartnell – Orange Jesus – Jagr
Wayne Train – Juicy – Read
Schenn/Sestito – Talbot – Voracek
Shelley – Holmstrom/Schenn- Sestito/Holmstrom

Timonen – Coburn
Carle – Bourdon
Gustafsson – Meszaros

Winnipeg Line Combinations

Ladd – Little – Wheeler
Fehr – Antropov – Wellwood
Glass – Slater – Thorburn
Miettinen – Gagnon – Machacek

Enstrom – Hainsey
Oduya – Bogosian
Stuart – Jones

Questions to Answer

  1. Defense? Anybody?
  2. Jagr returns. How’s he look, and how’s the top line perform?
  3. Lots of weight in there with Sestito and Shelley. How’s that go?
  4. Schenn looked great on the top line. Will earn a demotion tonight. How’s that affect his game?

Go Flyers.





Flyers tell Zac Rinaldo to hit less: Is that happening, and is it a good thing?

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Get ready to take every preconceived idea you’ve ever had about the way the Philadelphia Flyers operate and throw it out the door. These are the new Flyers. The tame Flyers. The Brendan Shanahan-is-watching-you Flyers. Via Puck Daddy, emphasis ours:

“Philadelphia told me about Zac Rinaldo,” said Shanahan. “He’s a really big hitter. Hits hard. But they said to him that if you see 20 hits a game in your head, pick the best three. That’s enough to be a physical, intimidating player in this League. When I hear coaching like that, that’s when I’m thinking there’s full buy-in there.”

You’re not going to get an argument out of me that this isn’t the way things should be. Physical play is good, but only when it’s smart. That’s from a discipline perspective (not taking so many damned penalties) and a safety perspective — we don’t want every player in the league to go down with injury thanks to dirty hits.

The conventional wisdom when it comes to the Flyers says that they’re never going to adhere to a tamer style. They are stuck in the past, and they’re never going to comprise a physical presence for anything — whether the NHL says they should or not. That’s what we’ve believed since the 70s, right?

I’ve gotta say, this makes me a little proud of the organization I’ve spent my entire life rooting for. But is it necessarily smart from a hockey perspective?

There’s no doubt that taking less hits will result in fewer penalties minutes, and fewer penalty minutes is obviously a very good thing. A more disciplined, smarter Zac Rinaldo is certainly a good thing. But the truth is that this season, Rinaldo has taken 124 penalty minutes in 36 games. That’s 3.4 minutes per game he’s spending in the penalty box, and he’s only averaging 6:14 in total ice time per game this season.

(That’s obviously not the rate at which he’s giving the opposition a power play, thanks to fights and misconducts and concurrent minors, but the point is that he’s in the box more than any NHLer not named Zenon Konopka. That’s not a disciplined player.)

Rinaldo takes a lot of penalties regardless of whether or not the Flyers are telling him to take it easy. And looking at the number of hits he’s taken per game over the course of the season thus far, I’m not so sure he’s been letting up — at least not lately. Click the chart below to enlarge.

Screen_shot_2012-01-31_at_1

He’s stayed relatively steady in terms of his average hits per game this season, but over the last 10 games, he’s registered five hits once and six hits on two separate occasions. It seemed like he tamed a little bit in between Games 7 and 25 of his season, taking that “no more than three” message as completely literal. Lately, though, he’s throwing the body a bit more. Maybe he’s getting off message.

Either way, that’s not my concern. If you’re going to have a guy like Zac Rinaldo in the lineup, you need to have him in there hitting. We’ve already discovered that the Flyers are losing the play, generally speaking, when he’s on the ice, so if he’s not having a physical impact on the game, he’s basically worthless.

Is telling him to tone it down (and provided he takes the advice) a bit going to minimize his impact? You hope he can still be a threatening force when he’s out there, like Shanahan says, even if he’s hitting less and doing it smarter, but I just don’t know. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that’s all that quantifiable.





Fake Mike Vick Publicist Worse Than Fake Vince Young?



You Could Tweet About Sports for a Living

As we understand it, this “dream job” type of contest could help you win a year’s salary to travel to every major sporting event this year and tweet about the experience for Xfinity Sports. We’d suggest heading over to Facebook to see the exact rules, but from what we’ve read it looks like a pretty sweet gig.



Allen Iverson Gets Own Rap Song by Don Trip

One could probably say that aside from Michael Jordan, no basketball player has been more connected to the hip-hop genre than Allen Iverson. So it’s no surprise to see that an up-and-coming rapper from East Memphis, Tennessee wrote an entire song about the once beloved and currently struggling Philadelphia 76ers legend. listen to the mp3 below



Flyers vs. Jets preview: Please, let’s keep this low scoring

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7 p.m. tonight
Wells Fargo Center

TV: CSN Philly, TSN Jets
RADIO: 94 WIP
TICKETS: Starting at $26

The Winnipeg Jets have scored 15 goals in two games against the Philadelphia Flyers this season. Ilya Bryzgalov got lost in the woods after the first game, a 9-8 loss to the Jets at the WFC in October, and Sergei Bobrovsky looked a whole lot less than good in a 6-4 decision at MTS Centre in mid-November.

Antero Niittymaki and his undefeated career record against the Atlantapeg ThrashJets was on waivers last week. What the hell, Homer?

No, in all seriousness, the Jets aren’t a good hockey team. They’ve been hanging around the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but that’s just because the East is so bad. They’re five points out of the playoffs entering tonight’s game, and they’re also five points out of the top spot in the Southeast Division. So, you know.

It’s hard, then, to ascribe much logic to a game against the Jets. Like the Thrashers before them, they just seem to have the Flyers number of late, and that’s a weird thing to combat. These two games against Winnipeg so far this season have featured virtually no defense, and you’ll have to imagine the Flyers will try like hell to clamp down in their own end tonight. When teams have combined for 27 goals in two meetings, it’s easy for head games to creep their way in, and the Flyers defensemen — and Bryzgalov, who’s starting — will have to avoid falling into them.

Good news: Jaromir Jagr will play tonight. Danny Briere, James van Riemsdyk and Zac Rinaldo are still out, and Harry Zolnierczyk will be a healthy scratch, according to the beat writers at the morning skate today. That means both Tom Sestito and Jody Shelley will be in the lineup, and it’s possible they could find themselves on the same fourth line, centered by Ben Holmstrom.

The lines are sort of up in the air. We’ll assume that Jagr will be back on the top line with Orange Jesus and Scott Hartnell pushing Brayden Schenn back down somewhere. Where? Guessing here:

Hartnell – Orange Jesus – Jagr
Wayne Train – Juicy – Read
Schenn/Sestito – Talbot – Voracek
Shelley – Holmstrom/Schenn- Sestito/Holmstrom

Timonen – Coburn
Carle – Bourdon
Gustafsson – Meszaros

For the Jets? Honestly, I have no idea. Try Arctic Ice Hockey. Game thread at 5 p.m.





Flyers vs. Jets preview: Please, let’s keep this low scoring

Photo

7 p.m. tonight
Wells Fargo Center

TV: CSN Philly, TSN Jets
RADIO: 94 WIP
TICKETS: Starting at $26

The Winnipeg Jets have scored 15 goals in two games against the Philadelphia Flyers this season. Ilya Bryzgalov got lost in the woods after the first game, a 9-8 loss to the Jets at the WFC in October, and Sergei Bobrovsky looked a whole lot less than good in a 6-4 decision at MTS Centre in mid-November.

Antero Niittymaki and his undefeated career record against the Atlantapeg ThrashJets was on waivers last week. What the hell, Homer?

No, in all seriousness, the Jets aren’t a good hockey team. They’ve been hanging around the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but that’s just because the East is so bad. They’re five points out of the playoffs entering tonight’s game, and they’re also five points out of the top spot in the Southeast Division. So, you know.

It’s hard, then, to ascribe much logic to a game against the Jets. Like the Thrashers before them, they just seem to have the Flyers number of late, and that’s a weird thing to combat. These two games against Winnipeg so far this season have featured virtually no defense, and you’ll have to imagine the Flyers will try like hell to clamp down in their own end tonight. When teams have combined for 27 goals in two meetings, it’s easy for head games to creep their way in, and the Flyers defensemen — and Bryzgalov, who’s starting — will have to avoid falling into them.

Good news: Jaromir Jagr will play tonight. Danny Briere, James van Riemsdyk and Zac Rinaldo are still out, and Harry Zolnierczyk will be a healthy scratch, according to the beat writers at the morning skate today. That means both Tom Sestito and Jody Shelley will be in the lineup, and it’s possible they could find themselves on the same fourth line, centered by Ben Holmstrom.

The lines are sort of up in the air. We’ll assume that Jagr will be back on the top line with Orange Jesus and Scott Hartnell pushing Brayden Schenn back down somewhere. Where? Guessing here:

Hartnell – Orange Jesus – Jagr
Wayne Train – Juicy – Read
Schenn/Sestito – Talbot – Voracek
Shelley – Holmstrom/Schenn- Sestito/Holmstrom

Timonen – Coburn
Carle – Bourdon
Gustafsson – Meszaros

For the Jets? Honestly, I have no idea. Try Arctic Ice Hockey. Game thread at 5 p.m.





Qualls Signing Will Stunt Growth of Young RPs

class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 298px"> href="http://nbchardballtalk.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/chad-qualls.jpg?w=320"> class=" " src="http://nbchardballtalk.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/chad-qualls.jpg?w=320" alt="" width="288" height="194" /> class="wp-caption-text">The Phillies' Tuesday signing of Chad Qualls shows that not every cheap deal is a good deal.

Ordinarily, complaints about a one-year, $1.15 million deal would be silly. But when you consider how href="http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/q/quallch01.shtml?utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker&utm_campaign=Linker" >Chad Qualls’ presence will affect the short-term growth of href="http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/sttuemi01.shtml?utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker&utm_campaign=Linker" >Michael Stutes, href="http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/schwimi01.shtml?utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker&utm_campaign=Linker" >Michael Schwimer, href="http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker&utm_campaign=Linker&id=aumont001phi" >Phillippe Aumont and href="http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/d/defraju01.shtml?utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker&utm_campaign=Linker" >Justin De Fratus, the Phillies’ Tuesday signing of the 33-year-old journeyman reliever carries with it as many negatives as positives.

At some point, you need to see what the young guys have.

The Phillies did that with Stutes in 2011 out of necessity, and only because he immediately succeeded did they continue to put him in high leverage situations. The (good) problem with having such lofty team expectations is that you cannot give young players on-the-job training. If the Phillies were the Pirates, or even a team like the Reds, href="http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/browndo01.shtml?utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker&utm_campaign=Linker" >Domonic Brown would probably be working through his troubles at the major-league level.

The same goes for the Phils’ young crop of relievers, which doesn’t have much left to prove at Triple-A.

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Stutes showed at age 24 that his fastball-slider combo is good enough to miss bats in The Show.

De Fratus stormed through the minors, dominating at every level and deserves a spot on the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Schwimer struggled in the majors, but he too sped through the minors with high-strikeout, low-walk rates and whatever assessment is made of his 2011 performance is incomplete based on the way he was used. At 25, href="javascript:void(window.open('http%3A//www.brotherlyglove.com/2011/07/25/roundtablin-with-michael-schwimer/'));">Schwimer already understands and talks about pitching at an advanced level.

Aumont struck out 78 batters in 53 innings last season for Reading and Lehigh Valley and he’s probably the furthest one away.

It’s not that bringing in Qualls is a bad move. He has a rubber arm and a sinker-slider combo that induces plenty of ground balls (57.5% career GB rate). But since entering the league, 13 percent of Qualls’ fly balls have been home runs, a number only one reliever – href="http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/l/leagubr01.shtml?utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker&utm_campaign=Linker" >Brandon League – has topped. And he’ll be pitching at Citizens Bank Park, a stadium which has only seen its home run percentage drop because of a rotation full of aces.

Unless the hops really go way Qualls’ way in 2012, he’ll again be a middling reliever worth 0.3 to 0.7 wins … which is fine for $1.15 million, and would be a welcome upgrade if he were stepping into the href="http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/baezda01.shtml?utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker&utm_campaign=Linker" >Danys Baez spot.

But Qualls won’t be used in that role. He’ll be used in one that takes opportunities away from the Phillies’ quartet of young, potential “stud” relievers.

The bullpen has been an organizational strength for the Phils in recent years and in order for the young righties to continue to progress they’ll need to pitch in high-pressure situations, not in the sixth or ninth innings of a blowout.

/> style="font-style: italic;">For more statistical musings from Corey Seidman, visit href="javascript:void(window.open('http%3A//www.brotherlyglove.com'));">Brotherly Glove and CSNPhilly.com’s href="http://www.csnphilly.com/blog/phillies-talk">Phillies Talk.



Philadelphia Flyers tickets: Games vs. Jets, Predators provide good deals this week

Flyersweekahead_medium

Those are average Philadelphia Flyers ticket prices, courtesy of our friends at TiqIQ, for the three home games this week at the Wells Fargo Center. You can get in for basically nothing, but if you want good seats, expect to pay around the average price listed above.

It’s no surprise that a divisional game on a Saturday is going to cost you more than a mid-week game against Winnipeg or Nashville, so maybe the graph is just telling us what we already know. But the news here is that if you want to go to a game this week, you should probably snap up some tickets tonight or Thursday. The Devils suck anyway.

Star_divide_medium

As a reminder, you can get great deals on Flyers tickets right here at Broad Street Hockey.

There’s a fancy Tickets button that always resides at the top of the page, and if you click it, you can find deals on every remaining home game. You can even make your own offer on select games, which works pretty darn well from personal experience. Just click the offer button on the BSH Tickets page for more info on how to do that.





Philadelphia Flyers tickets: Games vs. Jets, Predators provide good deals this week

Flyersweekahead_medium

Those are average Philadelphia Flyers ticket prices, courtesy of our friends at TiqIQ, for the three home games this week at the Wells Fargo Center. You can get in for basically nothing, but if you want good seats, expect to pay around the average price listed above.

It’s no surprise that a divisional game on a Saturday is going to cost you more than a mid-week game against Winnipeg or Nashville, so maybe the graph is just telling us what we already know. But the news here is that if you want to go to a game this week, you should probably snap up some tickets tonight or Thursday. The Devils suck anyway.

Star_divide_medium

As a reminder, you can get great deals on Flyers tickets right here at Broad Street Hockey.

There’s a fancy Tickets button that always resides at the top of the page, and if you click it, you can find deals on every remaining home game. You can even make your own offer on select games, which works pretty darn well from personal experience. Just click the offer button on the BSH Tickets page for more info on how to do that.





Allen Iverson Owes Big Money to Bling Dealer

Allen Iverson has been ordered to fork over boatloads of money that he owes to a jeweler. The Sporting News has the details, “A Georgia judge commandeered the bank account of former NBA star Allen Iverson in order to pay out a substantial debt for an unpaid jewelry bill in a summary judgement on Monday”



Qualls Final Piece of Phillies Puzzle?

After opting not to make a serious move to bring back Brad Lidge as a potential setup man, the Phillies went out and signed another veteran in 33-year-old Chad Qualls.