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What's on your mind? What's Happening in the Fastpitch Softball World?
What's on your mind? What's Happening in the Fastpitch Softball World?
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) Wayne Simmonds and the Flyers are playing every game as if it’s the postseason. It paid off this weekend.Simmonds scored two goals to lift the Flyers past the Washington Capitals 6-3 on Sunday night New Jersey Devils Hoodies Authentic , capping a four-point weekend and helping Philadelphia solidify its playoff position.”We desperately needed the two points and we played like we needed it,” Simmonds said.Oskar Lindblom, Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov and Jakub Voracek also had goals for Philadelphia (37-25-11, 85 points), which stayed in third place in the Metropolitan Division and moved within four points of the first-place Capitals (41-24-7, 89 points). The Flyers began play tied with Columbus, which was idle Sunday, but have a tiebreaker over the Blue Jackets.Philadelphia scored all four of its goals in the third period of Saturday’s 4-2 comeback win at Carolina.”It was critical,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said of the weekend wins. ”These are basically all playoff games right now. Real gutsy effort.”Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 43rd goal of the season, and Chandler Stephenson and John Carlson had goals for the Capitals, whose four-game winning streak was snapped.Washington rested Saturday and coach Barry Trotz expected his players to come out aggressively against the Flyers New Jersey Devils Hats Authentic , who were playing their second game in less than 24 hours. He was disappointed that didn’t happen.”You know they’re going to be in desperate mode,” Trotz said. ”You know they’re going to give a good effort, but at the same time, we had all the advantage. We were in our beds last night watching the (Carolina) game.”We talked about taking control of the game early, make it real hard. I don’t think we did that. We didn’t make it hard enough on them. We just played. We were chasing the game the whole night.”The Flyers took the lead for good on Lindblom’s first career goal with 1:41 left in the second period. Voracek passed to the rookie in the slot, and Lindblom’s wrist shot went off goalie Philipp Grubauer’s blocker, off the pipe and then into the goal. The rookie went 12 straight games without a point before picking up an assist in Saturday’s 4-2 win over Carolina.Philadelphia extended its lead to 3-1 with 18.3 seconds left in the period when Provorov’s wrist shot from the side boards got through traffic, deflected off defenseman Christian Djoos‘ leg and past Grubauer.Simmonds’ deflection of Robert Hagg’s slap shot made it 4-1 1:37 into the third period.After Stephenson finished a 2-on-1 to pull the Capitals within 4-2 with 9:29 left, Simmonds scored his second of the night on a wrist shot from the slot that zoomed past Grubauer’s glove into the top-right corner.Carlson’s backhander from a sharp angle with 3:53 left made it 5-3, and Voracek finished the scoring with an empty-netter with 37.1 seconds to play.Hakstol felt Saturday’s win helped relax the Flyers, who had lost seven of eight entering Saturday.”Took a little weight off,” he said. ”Tonight Custom New Jersey Devils Jerseys , the focus was good and clear.”Gostisbehere opened the scoring 2:15 into the second period on a one-timer after Claude Giroux’s clean win on the faceoff.Washington tied it at 1 with 4:52 left in the second on Ovechkin’s goal. Travis Boyd set up the goal with a pretty pass from the slot, spinning to backhand to Ovechkin, who tipped it over Mrazek.Mrazek, playing in his 11th game for Philadelphia after being acquired from Detroit, had a strong game until giving up Carlson’s tally. He stopped Nicklas Backstrom on a 2-on-1 in the first period and later made a good glove same on Dmitry Orlov’s slap shot to keep the Capitals scoreless in the first. Mrazek’s most important save may have been with 8:10 left after Washington pulled within two goals when he used his pad to deny Lars Eller from close range. He finished with 25 saves.Grubauer returned to the net for Washington after struggling Braden Holtby made 22 saves in Friday’s 6-3 win over the Islanders. Holtby, the 2016 Vezina Trophy winner, had lost seven of eight and hadn’t played in four consecutive games entering Friday.Grubauer made 29 saves.NOTES: Washington C Evgeny Kuznetsov (upper body) didn’t play after being slashed in the left wrist/arm area in Friday’s 6-3 win over the Islanders. He is day-to-day. Stephenson replaced Kuznetsov. … Simmonds upped his season goals total to 23. … Philadelphia finished 3-1 in the regular-season series. … Hagg returned after missing the last four contests with a lower-body injury. … Washington D Brooks Orpik (lower body) didn’t play. He is day-to-day. … Flyers LW Michael Raffl (upper body) left in the second period and didn’t return.UP NEXTCapitals: Host Dallas on Tuesday night.Flyers: At Detroit on Tuesday night. PHILADELPHIA (AP) The kitschy light-up bracelets flickered in the darkened arena and another packed house roared ”Crosby sucks! Crosby sucks!” Here’s the thing Philly fans haven’t yet accepted about Sidney Crosby over the last 13 years, he really doesn’t – and especially not against the Flyers.Crosby matched a postseason-best with four points on a goal and three assists to help the Pittsburgh Penguins silence the raucous crowd and beat Philadelphia 5-1 on Sunday for a 2-1 lead in the first-round series.”When we needed to, we made some good plays, we got some big saves and that’s what you need this time of year,” Crosby said.It’s the path Pittsburgh took the last two seasons all the way to parade routes in June.Crosby, who has 93 points in 63 career regular-season games against Philly www.officialislanders.com , shut up the orange-and-black die-hards with a wraparound goal off a turnover midway through the first.Crosby had a hat trick in Game 1 and the three-time Stanley Cup champion showed no sign of easing up against his nemesis.The Flyers haven’t won a playoff series since 2012 and pulled out all the theatrical stops in their return to the postseason after a one-year absence.Flyers fans even stuck photos of the hated Crosby inside the urinals throughout the arena that had to guarantee they were more on target with their shots than anyone on the home team’s roster.”It’s not the first building that’s happened in,” Crosby said, smiling. ”I don’t know if they stole that idea from someone else.”Two of the so-called fiercest rivals in the NHL have provided three lopsided games: Pittsburgh’s 7-0 win in Game 1 and Philadelphia’s 5-1 victory in Game 2 could about qualify as nail-biters in this series.Game 4 is Wednesday night in Philadelphia.Crosby scored his fourth goal of the series in the first period, and Derick Brassard, Evgeni Malkin and Brian Dumoulin scored in the second to make it 4-0. Malkin and Dumoulin scored 5 seconds apart.”After the third goal, I should’ve taken a timeout,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. ”That would’ve been one thing to stop that momentum.”Justin Schultz made it 5-1 in the third on Pittsburgh’s third power-play goal of the game.Matt Murray stopped 26 shots to make it stick.Brian Elliott, yanked in Game 1, had another rough outing and might need to borrow fellow Wells Fargo Center tenant Joel Embiid’s black mask to have a better look at the puck.Elliott, who had 21 saves, was stunned at how easily the Penguins scored twice in 5 seconds.”Guy walking down main street,” he said.The Flyers ran a video package full of bloody fights New York Islanders T-Shirts Authentic , big goals and memorable moments between the teams through the years with a ”Bitter Rivals” caption. The Penguins could have just looked in their reflection from the 2016 and 2017 Cups and shrugged off the idea the Flyers are in their league.Brassard scored on the power play just 2:48 into the second. The Pens hit with back-to-back stunning goals that put the icing on the urinal cake: Malkin scored on a one-timer and Dumoulin off the faceoff beat Elliott through the five-hole for a 4-0 lead.Crosby won the faceoff to set up the goal and had both assists, naturally, on the goals that matched the NHL playoff record for fastest two scores by one team.”He thrives in that environment,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. ”He has a comfort level in that environment. When stakes are high, in an away building, he tends to play his best. He has an ability to stay in the moment. He doesn’t get rattled. He doesn’t get fazed by adversity. That’s why he’s an elite player and he’s so accomplished.”At that point, each team had 12 shots.The Flyers, who played more like the team that lost 10 straight games over November-December, had no shot at pulling off the comeback. Travis Sanheim scored late in the third for the Flyers’ lone goal.”It’s not time to panic here,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said.Notes: Flyers great Bobby Clarke was at the game. So was former Flyers captain Peter Forsberg. … Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons was in the house. The Sixers have won 17 straight games. Fans started chanting ”Trust the Process!” as the game turned into a rout. … Philadelphia’s 22 wins at home during the regular season were the fewest of any team in the NHL playoffs.—