Guess what … the Flyers got a point and they're lucky to have one

Guess what … the Flyers got a point and they're lucky to have one


TAMPA, Fla. — The Flyers put up six goals on 43 shots and had two two-goal leads, including a 5-3 lead in the third period, Saturday afternoon.

But all they could manage was one point in a wild 7-6 loss to the Lightning at Amalie Arena (see observations)

For the time being, that point will put the Flyers in a tie with the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Lightning scored three consecutive goals in the third to take a 6-5 lead, but Claude Giroux had the equalizer with 2 minutes and 53 seconds remaining in regulation that sent the game to overtime and guaranteed the point.

"It's tough to be satisfied when you lose," Giroux said. "But they played a good game on the other side. Their goalie is pretty good, if he's not the best in the league, he's one of them. He made a lot of key saves.

"It's definitely frustrating not to get the win, but we have to move on."

Giroux had a goal and an assist in a whopping 25:57 of ice time as plenty of Flyers got on the score sheet. Ivan Provorov (goal, two assists), Nolan Patrick (goal, assist), Jakub Voracek (goal, assist), Robert Hagg (goal), Jori Lehtera (goal) and Valtteri Filppula (two assists) joined in on the scoring frenzy.

"We know we didn't play well a couple of nights ago," coach Dave Hakstol said. "It's not just about losses, it's about the overall performance. That wasn't us the other night and we knew we had to raise our level from where it was the other night. I thought our guys did that."

In the shootout, Sean Couturier and Patrick came up empty while Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos scored for the Lightning to end the game.

The Flyers jumped on the Lightning early with three goals in the first period, as Patrick continued to raise his game at the right time, scoring on a power play and forcing a turnover to set up Voracek's goal.

After the Lightning tied it 3-3 in the second period, Lehtera scored on a turnaround shot from the left circle and Provorov added a goal on the Flyers' first shot in the third to take another two-goal lead.

In overtime, the Flyers had a 4-on-3 power play when Nikita Kucherov was called for hooking but Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy came up with some big saves, including a robbery on Shayne Gostisbehere.

"I had an empty net there and he made an unbelievable save," Gostisbehere said. "That's why they are where they are. They have some great goaltending and great players. Obviously, we wanted the two points but not bad to get one."

Goalie Petr Mrazek fell to 1-8-2 against the Lightning, but he’s 3-1-1 since being traded to the Flyers. Hakstol said he hasn’t made a decision on whether Mrazek or Alex Lyon will start Sunday against the Florida Panthers.

Flyers struck by Lightning in wild game

Flyers struck by Lightning in wild game


TAMPA, Fla. — Claude Giroux came up with the equalizer with 2:53 remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime, but the Flyers came up empty in the shootout in a wild 7-6 loss Saturday afternoon to the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena.

The Flyers, however, guaranteed themselves a point and put themselves in a tie with the Washington Capitals for the lead in the Metropolitan Division for at least a couple of hours.

Ivan Provorov (goal, two assists), Nolan Patrick (goal, assist), Jakub Voracek (goal, assist), Robert Hagg (goal), Jori Lethera (goal) and Valtteri Filppula (two assists) were the main producers on offense.

Petr Mrazek fell to 1-8-2 in regular-season games against the Lightning. Steven Stamkos had a career-high five points (two goals, three assists) as the Lightning scored three consecutive goals in the third period to erase a two-goal deficit and take a 6-5 lead before Giroux tied things up.

And now for some observations:

• Patrick is picking up his game at the right time and he had a dominating first period, scoring on a power-play goal to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead and forcing a turnover on Voracek's goal to make the score 2-1. Patrick had a chance at a second goal midway through the third period but was robbed by Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

• The Flyers' ninth-ranked power play did its job with the first-period goal but could not capitalize in the overtime when Nikita Kucherov was sent to the box for hooking. Shayne Gostisbehere had a great look but Vasilevskiy made the save.

• Meanwhile, the Flyers' bottom-feeding penalty kill lasted all of seven seconds before giving up Stamkos' first goal. Luckily, it was the only time the Flyers were shorthanded all game.

• Mrazek fell to 3-1-1 in his fifth start with the Flyers and will certainly reflect on a couple of stops he'd like to have back, including a shot from Victor Hedman (two goals, two assists) at the goal line that he mishandled.

• The Flyers will finish their final regular-season swing through the Sunshine State with a Sunday afternoon game against the Florida Panthers (3 p.m./NBCSP) before returning home Wednesday to host the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Phillies working hard with Andrew Knapp at first base

Phillies working hard with Andrew Knapp at first base

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Every day is a new learning experience for Andrew Knapp as a first baseman.

Knapp, who is trying to make the Phillies as a backup catcher and first baseman, has had his moments, both good and bad, in the field this spring.

He made a start at first base last Thursday with mixed results. He failed to come down with a pop-up foul ball in a swirling wind and later in the game didn't close his glove on a throw from Freddy Galvis after the shortstop made a dynamic play to get a ball deep in the hole.

However, he was back at catcher last Saturday and threw out Kevin Pillar by a couple of steps when the Blue Jays outfielder tried to steal second base.

It's all part of the learning process.

"I think first base is definitely a work in progress," Knapp said recently. "I think I needed more experience over there and just continue to work and take ground balls before the game.

"I feel really good behind the plate. My catching feels good."

Knapp is spending extra time with bench coach Larry Bowa at first base. And with each day, he said he's finding more familiarity with what he needs to do there.

"I think I'm pretty confident in the positioning," Knapp said. "It's just the in-game stuff, like where there's a runner on base and how far I am getting off the bag. Proper double-play depth, stuff like that. And getting reads off the bat. I mean, taking ground balls is fine, but nothing can simulate a live at-bat."

Manager Pete Mackanin believes that in time Knapp could be a reliable option at first.

"He's athletic, he needs work and we're going to continue to work on his play over there," Mackanin said. "He's going to continue to get the work and get better. Larry Bowa won't allow [mistakes]."

Another reason the Phillies want the Knapp experiment to work is because of his history as a solid hitter. Knapp hit .360 with 11 home runs and 56 RBIs in 2015 with Double-A Reading and posted a slash line of .266/.330/.390 in Triple-A Lehigh Valley last season.

With Knapp focusing so much time on his defensive development, the numbers at the plate this spring haven't been what he's used to. He struck out in his only at-bat Monday against the Orioles and is batting .056 (1 for 18). 

However, he's been happy with the contact he's made at the plate and believes his offense will come around.

"I'm hitting the ball real hard, but just hitting it right at people," Knapp said. "But they know what I can do offensively, it's just getting the reps over at first."

Although first base isn't a new position to Knapp (he played there some at the University of California), it's still raw to the longtime catcher. However, he's beginning to figure out how to mend the positions and use his knowledge as a catcher to speed up his development as a first baseman.

"When you are catching, you can get a feel for the game and what guys are trying to do, so I think I can take that experience to first," Knapp said. "When holding a runner on at first base, a lot of guys are trying hitting in that four hole, so I am ready for that. Each and every day I'm starting to figure it out more and feel more comfortable."