FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13
Philadelphia at Toronto, 7 p.m.
New Jersey at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Giroux, Mason lead Flyers over Canadiens
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Michael Raffl and Claude Giroux scored goals, Steve Mason made 20 saves, and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on Thursday night.
Jakub Voracek had two assists, and Giroux also had an assist to help the Flyers snap a three-game losing streak and extend their home winning streak to six games. They were coming off a 2-3-1 trip in which they finished up 0-2-1.
Mason shut the Canadiens out for 59 minutes before Alex Galchenyuk scored with 55.1 seconds left to cut it to 2-1.
The Canadiens have lost two in a row after going 9-0-1. They followed a 6-0 loss at home to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday with another offensive clunker.
The Flyers didn't show any ill effects from a 13-day trip. Despite a 7-2 loss at Chicago on Wednesday, they looked fresh from the start.
Steelers defense again plagued by big plays
PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves dealing with a familiar problem heading into the final three weeks of the regular season.
The defense that appeared to figure it out after an 0-4 start is back to giving up big plays and time is running out. The Steelers (5-8) surrendered 34 points and 360 yards in a loss to Miami last week that effectively knocked Pittsburgh out of the playoff race.
Pittsburgh gave up three plays of 40 yards or more to Miami and have allowed 11 plays over 50 yards this season, that's the most in the NFL.
Cornerback Ike Taylor says he can't quite put a finger on why it is happening though coach Mike Tomlin says poor tackling is part of the problem.
LB Harrison ill heading into Pittsburgh homecoming
CINCINNATI (AP) - Linebacker James Harrison is the latest Bengals trying to get healthy in time for the next game. And this one means a little more to the former Pittsburgh Steelers star.
Harrison was one of three Bengals who missed practice on Thursday because of an illness spreading through the team. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis missed a second day of practice, and linebacker Vontaze Burfict also was out.
It'll be a homecoming for Harrison when the Bengals (9-4) play in Pittsburgh (5-8) on Sunday night. He left Pittsburgh after he and the Steelers failed to get an agreement over a restructured contract. His role in Cincinnati has been expanding late in the season.
Harrison has two sacks and one interception.
CHUCK BEDNARIK AWARD
Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald wins Bednarik Award
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) - Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald has won the Chuck Bednarik Award as the defensive player of the year in college football.
He also won the Outland Trophy, given to the nation's top interior lineman, earlier Thursday evening during the 23rd College Football Awards Show at Disney. It capped a big week for Donald, who took home the Bronko Nagurski award this week as the best defensive player in the country, and the Lombardi Award given annually to the nation's top college lineman.
Donald becomes the first Atlantic Coast Conference player to win the Bednarik Award since Maryland linebacker EJ Henderson in 2002. The senior finished the season with 54 tackles, 10 sacks, 26 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles.
Donald was selected over fellow finalists Anthony Barr from UCLA and C.J. Mosley of Alabama.
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