While America seemed to either going to or monitoring the polls in what is probably one of the messiest, least understood process in American politics (the system of primaries and caucuses), the home teams were busy winning their respective games.
The Flyers, behind a late goal by Steve Downie, beat Atlanta by a score of 3 -2. This game had some interesting moments when action was back and forth, but Atlanta mostly played a patient game of laying back and waiting for Flyer mistakes. As a result, the Flyers had to do the same; it was very similar to last Tuesday's game against the Kings in both tempo and score.
One thing from yesterday's previews of this game in the media bothered me.
Alot was made in previews of yesterday's game and in today's reports in the papers about how well Antero Niitymaki plays against the Atlanta Thrashers, and specifically, his countryman Kari Lehtonen (check here, here, and here). I guess there was some sort of rivalry with Lehtonen when these two were younger back in Finland, but who cares? Unless they've changed the game such that the two goalies now can simply shoot on each other, air hockey-style, I don't understand the relevance of matching goalies up against one another. That's as dumb as swapping out your starting QB for your backup simply because your backup beat the other team's starting QB back in college.
As for Niitymaki's playing well against Atlanta, well, what are the odds of that? They made the playoffs last year for the first time in their short 7 year history! That means there are plenty of goalies with good records against the Thrashers. This was simply another excuse for Stevens to get his boy Niitymaki some extra playing time. At least Biron will be going tomorrow night against the Caps on Ron Hextall Night.
The Sixers Comeback
The Sixers, who choked up a 20-point lead to lose on Monday, came back at home last night against the Washington Wizards and won by a score of 101 - 96. The guy quickly becoming one of my favorite Sixers, Thaddeus Young, had another good night, scoring 17 points and grabbing 9 boards.
Cheeks went with a younger lineup and it paid dividends. They pressed defensively and guys were generating easy offense off of it. It sounds simple, but with the young legs Cheeks had on the court often come the mistakes typical of inexperience. The risk worked out last night. Specifically benefitting was Rodney Carney, who had a couple of sweet open court dunks. I don't know about Carney's future as a player on the Sixers, but he does look so smooth when he runs the floor.
Other heroes in the Sixers win were Andre Iguodala with 20 points and Andre Miller with 11 points and 14 assists. Miller has had double-digit assists in two of the last three games, but before that, it had been more than a month (12/30 vs. Portland) since he had a double-digit assist night.