The Flyers held their own… for about five periods… before everything came crashing down in game six.
Let’s start with Friday. With Michal Neuvirth in goal and Sean Couturier back after a one-game absence, the Flyers squeaked past the Penguins 4-2 thanks to a game-winning goal by Coots.
Game 6 was expected to be a treat for fans and it gave them some hope that the Flyers could force a Game 7, even though it was expected the Pens would win.
At first, the Flyers came out strong, as they have in nearly every other playoff game. But this time, they actually scored from their early pressures, thanks in part to Couturier. But Michal Neuvirth couldn’t find his Game 5 form and gave up seven goals on 28 shots as the Penguins took the series with an 8-5 win.
Pittsburgh got themselves two goals in under a minute in the first to take a 2-1 lead before Andrew MacDonald (!) tied the game late in the first. As he did in the opening period, Coots scored early to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead and more momentum on a spectacular goal:
Sean Couturier, likely playing hurt, with a filthy move to give the Flyers the lead pic.twitter.com/pO13Nwcz0S
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) April 22, 2018
Scott Laughton extended the lead to 4-2. For some time, there was the thought that maybe the Flyers would force a Game 7.
But that’s where Jake Guentzel enters the picture. Just over a minute later, he assisted on Patric Hornqvist’s goal to cut the lead to one before scoring the first of four straight goals with 54 seconds left in the second. Pittsburgh took the lead again thanks to Guentzel 30 seconds into the final frame before he scored goals at 12:48 and 12:58 into the third. His hat-trick goal may have killed any chance for a Flyers comeback, especially since the refs missed an obvious trip on Coots by Kris Letang:
Letang trips Couturier, no call, and Guentzel scores. pic.twitter.com/RYodiRG5aT
— Sons of Penn (@SonsofPenn) April 22, 2018
There’s no reason why that shouldn’t have been called. It pretty much signaled the end for this team, even though Coots did get a hat-trick late in the game.
Five of the six games in the series were won by the away team, with Game 1 being the only game won by the home team. Five of the six were blowouts, with Game 5 being the only outlier.
After the game, Couturier revealed he played with a torn MCL, which takes about four weeks to recover from. After fighting back tears at the end of the game, Ivan Provorov told reporters “As long as my arm was attached, I was playing.”
The season is over, and I think the loss showed what the face of the Flyers looks like – a 25-year-old center who had a breakout season and is a Selke Trophy finalist and a 21-year-old defenseman who should be a Norris Trophy nominee in the very near future.
The pressure is on for Dave Hakstol to use his rookies in a much larger role. The same for Ron Hextall to make this team better via trades, the NHL Draft, and free agency. There’s a lot of people, myself included, that have been very frustrated with the direction, or lack thereof, that the organization has taken. This team has been very inconsistent, and almost didn’t make the playoffs with a very hot Florida team right behind them. Let’s hope some moves excite this fanbase going into next September’s training camp.
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After The Worst of Philadelphia went well, we now have The Not Worst of Philadelphia!
Moving on to a team that’s actually doing well in the playoffs, the Sixers! After a Game 3 win against a chippy Heat team that got their payback for late layups, the Sixers were sloppy in Game 4 with 26 turnovers, 25 of them in the first three quarters.
But they won. This team is now winning games they shouldn’t be, and that’s a huge step in the right direction. JJ Redick had 24 points, but Ben Simmons recorded the team’s first postseason triple-double since Charles Barkley in 1991 with 17 points, 10 assists, and 13 rebounds. He also became the first rookie since Magic to record a triple-double in the playoffs. And some people think he’s not the Rookie of the Year. Lol.
Game 5 is Tuesday night at 8 PM. There’s gonna be excitement in the Wells Fargo Center once again for a winning team.
The Phillies are…good? Not like lucky good, like actually good?
After Jake Arrieta took the first game of a four-game series against the Pirates Thursday night, the Phils took a 2-1 win Friday night thanks to an Odubel Herrera triple in the eighth. They followed that up with a 6-2 win Saturday thanks to another outstanding performance by Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins hitting a three-run homer.
Then on Sunday, Aaron Altherr, who’s hitting .157, came up clutch. Entering the game in the seventh, he got three hits, including the game-winning RBI in the 11th for a 3-2 win:
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) April 22, 2018
A four-game sweep. Good pitching from players other than Aaron Nola, especially from Nick Pivetta. A 9-1 record at home, the best since the 1964 season at Connie Mack Stadium. A 14-7 overall record, which is…A HALF GAME OUT OF FIRST IN THE NL EAST! Is Gabe Kapler good at this?!?
Probably a little early to think that they could make the playoffs, but there’s definitely some hope.
“We’re having a lot of fun. Keeping it light, we laugh in the dugout. I hope you guys are seeing that. A lot of smiles and a lot of laughter, and after the games, we’re having a great time in [the clubhouse]. We take it seriously and we prepare like animals, but we also enjoy each others’ company and we’re laughing a lot.”
The team is off today. They’ll start a three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks tomorrow night.
Nick Foles got a reworked contract Friday afternoon. It’s pretty much him getting a bonus for winning the Super Bowl, as he should get. There’s also an option for 2019 and other playing incentive bonuses, if Carson Wentz isn’t ready to play or gets hurt again.
Another player got a restructured contract. Right guard Brandon Brooks:
Source: the Eagles created $6.37M in cap space by reworking the deal of Pro Bowl G Brandon Brooks. He converted base salary into bonuses, dropping his cap number to $4.768M for this year.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 23, 2018
Brooks pretty much confirmed the restructured deal. Because he wanted to give more money to Foles for winning the Super Bowl:
If your wondering about the restructure I get 4 mill now 4mill by sept 1 with a couple hundred thousand over the season. The reason I did it was bc the FUCKIN SB MVP DESERVED MORE MONEY @NickFoles . Love you bro #WhateverItTakes
— Brandon Brooks (@bbrooks_79) April 23, 2018
God I love this team.
As for the NFL Draft on Thursday, the team could be trading down.
32. PHILADELPHIA—CONNOR WILLIAMS, G-T, TEXAS
But I think the Eagles are much more likely to deal this pick; I just don’t know to whom. They’re seeking a trade—that I can tell you. Philadelphia has no pick in round two or three, and the Eagles don’t pick till the end of round four. So as of now, they go from 33 to 129 without a pick. That’s why they’ll be trying to deal all night Thursday. If they stick … The Eagles have a 35-year-old left tackle, Jason Peters, coming off major injury, and starting guards (Stefan Wisniewski and Brandon Brooks) who will be 29 this season. Connor’s the perfect pick for them, in the unlikely event they stick.
Before Thursday night, enjoy the team’s self-produced 2017 yearbook documentary.
Another match, another loss for the Union. They fell to FC Dallas 2-0 Saturday night to fall to 1-3-2 on the season. They’ll host D.C. United Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium.
In other sports news, let’s take a look at the NBA and NHL playoffs:
Game 4s for Houston-Minnesota and Oklahoma City-Utah are tonight on TNT.
The two remaining Eastern Conference Game sixes are tonight as well.
Oakland A’s pitcher Sean Manaea had the first no-hitter of the 2018 season.
Brandon Belt had a 21 pitch at-bat. It lasted 12 minutes and 45 seconds.
Brandon Belt set the MLB record with a 21-pitch at-bat that lasted nearly 13 minutes.
We got it down to 50 seconds for you. pic.twitter.com/hwfb6S1qzM
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 22, 2018
Look at Jay Feely as a nice dad celebrating her daughter going to prom with her boyfriend and he’s got a gun:
— Jay Feely (@jayfeely) April 22, 2018
Southwest Airlines is cancelling 40 flights a day after last week’s accident.