It was all but over.
After two listless performances on home ice, the Flyers limped into Pittsburgh facing a 3-1 series deficit against a Penguins team looking to hoist the Stanley Cup for the third straight season.
The patient clung to life – barely. All that remained was for Sidney Crosby to administer last rites, Evgeni Malkin to drive the final nail into the coffin, and the local beat writers to shovel dirt on the grave that would serve as the final resting place of the 2017-18 campaign.
And then something unexpected happened. The Flyers showed a pulse.
They didn’t deserve to win. The Penguins dominated large stretches of the 2nd and 3rd periods while the Flyers took bad penalties and relied on Michal Neuvirth to cover for poor play in the defensive zone. Pittsburgh claimed a big advantage in the faceoff circle, possessed the puck for much of the contest, and consequently had the Flyers chasing the game instead of dictating it.
Neuvirth was spectacular, except when he wasn’t. The two goals he conceded were incredibly soft. The first came after Neuvirth carelessly turned over the puck, leading to extended offensive zone time and a wraparound goal delivered by Penguins forward Bryan Rust. Neuvirth was able to get to the post to stop the shot, but somehow the puck squeaked through his pads.
The second goal was equally inexcusable given the situation. Jake Guentzel took a pass from Crosby, depositing the puck through the five-hole and into the back of the net. Neuvirth’s second period nadir put the orange and black in a 2-1 deficit. If they had put forth the effort they exhibited in Games 3 and 4, the series would have ended.
Instead, the Flyers battled back. A short-handed tally from Valtteri Filppula tied the game late in the second, while a Sean Couturier blast from the blue line late in the third pulled the Flyers ahead. Matt Read sealed the victory with an empty net goal, and the Flyers lived to play another day.
Given the evidence of the past week, the result seemed improbable, but in the context of the longer arc of the Flyers’ season, the Game 5 triumph was not unusual.
I don’t know about you, but I still can’t figure out the Flyers.
How do you get embarrassed in two home playoff games (and three of the first four) and then go on the road, into the home arena of the two-time defending champions, in an elimination game, and win?
And not only that, they did it with a lopsided special teams disparity against them, and came out on the plus side of that ledger. They did it with a new starting goalie, who gave up two bad goals, but also made several big saves – including one in the final minute – to protect the win. They did it with a much-maligned depth forward being thrust into a position where he was destined to fail – and he played the game of his career. They did it with their most important player in this series, somehow playing with an injury he shouldn’t be playing with, one that noticeably limits his skating and is definitely limiting his minutes, scoring the game-winning goal.
In other words, they did it against all odds. Continue Reading
Phil and Russ discuss:
- Champions League semifinal draw (1:00)
- Did Real benefit from drawing Bayern? (3:30)
- Could Liverpool shock the world? (8:00)
- Serie A: Juve v. Napoli (20:00)
- EPL: City clinches the league (22:30)
- Mourinho goes on another rant (25:30)
- Is United an attractive destination? (30:00)
- Harry Kane’s odd declaration (34:30)
- La Liga: Atletico and Real jockeying for 2nd (37:00)
- Bundesliga: Bayern make a surprising hire (41:00)
- Ligue 1: Runaways (46:00)
- CONCACAF Champions League: Toronto’s chances v. Chivas (46:30)
- International Champions Cup matchups (50:30)
- Zlatan and the Swedish National Team (53:00)
- ESPN FC update (55:30)
- iTunes Review (1:00:00)
- Champions League predictions (1:02:00)
Audio after the jump: Continue Reading
They basically gave him a bonus for winning the Super Bowl.
Per Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport:
Foles' deal was about hooking him up after his performance in the postseason. It is not a reflection of the team's feeling on Wentz's recovery. They remain confident he's working his way back.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) April 20, 2018
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 20, 2018
Foles was originally set to earn $7 million this season, the second year of a two-year contract.
It’s another player-friendly move via Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas. Earlier this offseason they revised Stefen Wisniewski’s contract to reward him with $250k from a missed playing time incentive. Chris Long is also returning to the Birds, reportedly with a revised deal.
If you do one thing this weekend, carve out 45 minutes to watch this video, which is filled with exclusive locker room stuff that we hadn’t seen before.
It’s on Youtube:
Some schlub in the comments section didn’t like the “Worst of Philadelphia” bracket because he/she thought it was “a dumb series of posts that only enhance the negative views of the city.”
Congratulations to he/she for being the only person to take the bracket seriously, and for also lacking a sense of humor.
But I realize that a three-week competition to determine the worst things about Philly is intrinsically negative, and Crossing Broad is a website that was founded on fair and balanced journalism.
So in the interest of equilibrium, and also just to prove that I’m not a total asshole, I whipped this up:
Looks like a pretty good field to me.
I think I’d have to assign “Eagles Super Bowl champs” as the overall #1 seed. I could definitely see “it’s not New York” coming out of the bottom left region. Ron Brooks is a JUGGERNAUT on the other side of the bracket and I think “easy to walk and bike” would do some damage. Seriously, have you ever been to Atlanta or Los Angeles? You can’t walk or bike anywhere. Those cities are just big plastic suburbs.
Anyway, I think it’s important that we show positivity, objectivity, and fairness in our journalism, which I hope we’ve accomplished here.
It was 127 to 108 with four seconds remaining last night when Dario Saric drove to the rim for a layup attempt.
He was cut off and blocked by Kelly Olynyk, a hard downward slap but nothing truly malicious, as the Heat center/power foward looked to keep the homie from extending a 19-point lead with an easy garbage time bucket.
The play began with a defensive rebound and quick transition up the court. The Sixers could have easily just walked it up and run out the clock, but they did this instead:
Asshole play? Or totally fair?
You see a bit of a stare from Olynyk. He’s not giving that up at the end of the game, and I don’t blame him.
Not since Game 3 of the Flyers-Penguins 2012 series has an opponent stooped to this level of thuggery in an attempt to beat a Philly team. Granted, prior to last year, it had been since 2012 that a Philly team was relevant and warranted such tactics, but that’s beside the point. The Miami Heat are playing like asswipes, not talented enough to compete with the Sixers on merit and thus stooping to bully-ball tactics to throw the Sixers off their game.
It worked in Game 2. Last night, however, the Sixers imposed their will, stepped on the gas, and left the overmatched Heat in the dust.
The Heat are playing playground ball. A mix of also-rans and unheard-ofs, they clutch and grab and call their own fouls, clearly disregarding the spirit of the rules when they intentionally foul any player who gains a step toward the basket. Goran Dragic is the pain in the ass nerdy kid who shows up and punks his way to 20 and invites you to punch him in the face, even if you’re somewhat jealous of his abilities. Wade, who has settled on resting bitch face in old age, gets into the act by testing the restraint of younger players when he LITERALLY PULLS THEM OUT OF BOUNDS HOW IS IT THE NATIONAL CREW ON TNT FOUND NOTHING WRONG HERE:
Justin Anderson and Dwyane Wade going at it. pic.twitter.com/jD7qaOTyfB
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) April 19, 2018
I have never seen that before in basketball. Sure, you’ve seen players tangled up, occasionally yank each other. You’ve seen the post-whistle fracas. But you just don’t see a player get tugged out of bounds while play is going on. Wade wanted to get under Anderson’s skin. It worked, but it also fired a laser into Anderson’s vortex and put him in that Porsche defensive position.
But while Wade’s tactics may have seemed more calculated than emotional, this post-game quote would lead you to believe that Anderson has invaded at least a small portion of Wade’s innards:
Wade said Justin Anderson brought in by 76ers as "tough guy" and refs wouldn't do anything about it so he had to.
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) April 20, 2018
Anderson, who looked like he was ready for a fun a night at the hotel bar during a business retreat, wasn’t tripping: Continue Reading