PHI: 42-19 (91 pts.), 1st in Atlantic (1st in East)
FLA: 28-32 (65 pts), 4th in Southeast (13th in East)
Where: BankAtlantic Center (Sunrise, FL)
Monday: Brian Boucher (16-8, 2.44 GAA) vs. Tomas Vokoun (21-24, 2.60 GAA)
Tuesday, 7:30, CSN
Radio: 610 WIP
Hot (last 5) – Claude Giroux: 1 Goal/5 Assists
Not (last 5) – Mike Richards: 4 Assists/-3
Player to Watch – Nick Boynton: With Chris Pronger being out for the next 3-4 weeks, defenseman Nick Boynton suddenly becomes a key player for the Flyers. Sure there is no way to replace Pronger with his overall skill and leadership. But Boynton played well against the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday night despite the Flyers’ defensive effort overall. He registered two hits and blocked four shots in 17:52 of total ice-time. Boynton had just 11:24 in total ice-time the game before against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He is a veteran that has plenty of experience and even won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks last season. I think Boynton on the back end of the defense could be a big key for the Flyers down the stretch. He doesn’t have a set defensive partner yet but has been working with all the defensemen to see who he’s the most comfortable with.
Series Overview: The Flyers currently lead the season series two games to one. The Flyers won the last meeting on the road 4-2. Danny Briere and Mike Richards each had a goal to pace the Flyers. Sergei Bobrovsky was strong in net making 33 saves in the win.
In the first meeting back on November 13th, the Flyers played a great game in which Richards and Giroux each scored two goals. Scott Hartnell also added a goal in the win. They outscored the Panthers 5-1 in the first two periods on the way to an easy 5-2 win. Bobrovsky had a great game between the pipes, making 30 saves.
The second meeting was one to forget for the orange and black. The Panthers dominated the Flyers from the jump, scoring two first period goals on their way to a 5-0 win at the Wells Fargo Center. Vokoun was tremendous in net, making 26 saves in the shutout. Bobrovsky wasn’t quite as fortunate as he gave up four goals on 22 shots in the loss.
Having surgery now is good for Pronger and the Flyers. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that defenseman Chris Pronger will have surgery on his right hand and miss three to four weeks. Pronger reportedly skated in practice today but did not participate in shooting drills. He had a CT scan on Sunday and a small fracture was discovered according to Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. The surgery will be performed on Tuesday morning by Dr. Tom Graham in Cleveland, Ohio. The injury occurred a few weeks ago when Pronger took a puck to the hand.
It’s good for Pronger to have the surgery now before the Flyers’ playoff run. The team’s last regular season game is April 9th against the New York Islanders. This gives Pronger about a month to recover from surgery. The Flyers need him healthy for the stretch run. The defense certainly hasn’t been playing well during this current slump and they need the leadership and talent of Pronger in the lineup if they are going to make a run at Lord Stanley’s Cup.
PHI: 41-19 (88 pts.), 1st in Atlantic (1st in East)
TOR: 29-28 (68 pts), 4th in Northeast (10th in East)
Where: Air Canada Centre (Toronto, ON)
Monday: Brian Boucher (15-8, 2.45 GAA) vs. James Reimer (12-5, 2.52 GAA)
Thursday, 7:00, CSN
Radio: 610 WIP
Hot (last 5) – Jeff Carter: 3 Goals/2 Assists
Not (last 5) – Chris Pronger: 1 Assist/-4
Player to Watch – Brian Boucher: Can Boucher put the horrific mess at Madison Square Garden behind him? It was the worst game of hockey that I’ve seen in quite some time. The Flyers were just outmuscled from the jump. I think Boucher will bounce back. He has proved it time and time against this season. Whenever he has a bad start, he seems to always respond with a very strong game in net. It’s still a question of which netminder will be the playoff starter. Signs may point towards Sergei Bobrovsky at the moment but a strong rebound start by Boucher tonight would strengthen his chances to get the nod. Boucher has started all three games against the Maple Leafs and had tremendous success in the first two meetings.
Series Overview: The Flyers currently lead the season series two games to one. The Maple Leafs won last Thursday in Philadelphia despite two goals from former Maple Leaf Kris Versteeg. The Flyers blew a 2-1 lead and just couldn’t solve Reimer down the stretch.
In the first meeting back on October 23rd, the Flyers played with an offensive fury and scored five goals on Jean-Sebastien Giguere on their way to a 5-1 win. They got goals from Mike Richards, Ville Leino, Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell, and Blair Betts. Tgey peppered Giguere with 40 shots and seemed to play a flawless game. Boucher had 12 saves on 14 shots for the Flyers in the win.
In the second meeting on December 9th, the team got out to a hot start with first period goals from Leino and Pronger. Briere also had two goals in a 4-1 Flyers win. Boucher started once again against the Maple Leafs and had 27 saves. Mikhail Grabovski had the lone Tornonto goal in the loss.
Cole Hamels didn’t get off to the best start in Tuesday’s game. However he did manage to regain his composure to retire 11 consecutive batters in a 4-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
Hamels walked Randy Winn and Brendan Harris to lead off the game. That was followed by an RBI double by Jake Fox that gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead.
Josh Bell followed that with a sacrifice fly. It wasn’t quite the start that the Phillies’ left-hander was looking for.
Then Hamels sat down 11 consecutive batters. Overall he gave up two runs on one hit with two strikeouts and two walks bringing his spring ERA to 1.80.
Ryan Howard hit a solo home run in the fourth inning for the Phillies while Shane Victorino was two-for-three with an RBI in the win.
The Phillies were down 3-2 heading into the ninth inning. They loaded up the bases with nobody out to start the inning.
Carlos Rivero turned out to be the hero as he connected on a two-run walk-off single that scored Wilson Valdez and Josh Barfield to give the Phillies the win.
Next the Phillies will face the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday at 1:05 PM.
2B: Mayberry (2), Victorino (3) HR: Howard (3).
WP: Carpenter (1-0). LP: Rosario (0-1).
Howards trots around the bases after hitting a solo home run in today's game against the Priates. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Joe Blanton took to the mound today trying to prove that he has a place in this rotation. Blanton was solid in today’s 6-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in Grapefruit League play.
Blanton gave up two runs on four hits with two strikeouts and a walk in 3.2 innings of work on Friday. He has been good in his first two spring training starts with an ERA of 2.70.
The Phillies got the scoring started in the first inning with back-to-back RBI singles by Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard. Howard had a huge day at the plate, hitting a home run and knocking in two runs in three at-bats.
Another encouraging sign was an RBI double by highly touted first baseman Matt Rizzotti. Wilson Valdez was three-for-four today and is looking strong playing in the outfield, which gives the Phillies some flexibility if the injury bug bites them this season.
An interesting moment took place in today’s game when the Pirates brought in pitcher Michael Dubee. Dubee is the son of Phillies’ pitching coach Rich Dubee and is in his third season in the Pirates organization.
Dubee threw allowed one hit and no runs in two-thirds of an inning.
The Phillies face the Pirates again tomorrow at 1:05 PM.
2B: Rollins (1), Rizzotti (1), Valdez (1)
WP: Meyer (1-0). LP: Nieve (0-1). S: Bastardo (1).
Collins has been a nice change of pace from the Eddie Jordan debacle of last season. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doug Collins was named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for February. Collins guided the Sixers to a 9-3 record and their best month in eight years. It was their best month since going 8-2 in February of 2003. Collins has done an outstanding job in his season as head coach. Last season was very depressing for Sixers fans as they watched Eddie Jordan in the direction of the lottery. It wasn’t a total loss as they were able to draft Evan Turner with the #2 overall pick.
Collins has the Sixers playing well and playing above .500 basketball. The Sixers haven’t had a winning season since going 43-39 during the 2004-2005 season under Jim O’Brien. Collins preaches hard work and determination to his players. He has been around the game of basketball his whole life and it clearly shows. He was a four-time NBA All Star during his playing days. He is just a refreshing basketball mind in this city and has coached the Sixers to a winning record. He is showing that Ed Stefanski made the right hire this time around.
Lee only gave up one hit in his first Grapefruit League start. (Photo by: Getty Images)
Another day another ace. Tuesday marked the spring debut of free agent acquisition Cliff Lee as the Phillies fell to the Detroit Tigers 6-2.
Lee went two innings, allowing two runs on one hit while striking out three and walking a batter. Brian Schneider and Josh Barfield had good days at the plate, both going two-for-three.
Jimmy Rollins had his first RBI of the spring on an RBI single that scored Barfield. Ben Francisco also knocked in a run on an RBI groundout to first base.
Francisco did not register a hit, going zero-for-three today but knocked in his fifth run of the spring. He has is .400 so far this spring, going 4-for-10 with a home run and five RBIs.
The Tigers jumped out early on Lee with Ryan Rayburn hitting an RBI triple. First baseman Dom Kelly then plated Rayburn on a sacrifice fly.
Rayburn had a huge day for the Tigers. He went two-for-three with two home runs and three RBIs.
Phillies fans continue to wait for Domonic Brown to register a hit this spring. He is 0-for-12 so far this spring. It’s too early to panic about the young leftfielder. But he does need to improve his play soon since Francisco already has a leg up on him.
2B: Barfield (1)
WP: Oliver (1-0). LP: Lee (0-1).