After three straight regulation losses, Flyers get test in NHL-leading Capitals
January opened with the Flyers roaring out of the gate. After a loss to the Kings on Jan. 2, the Flyers came home to start a stretch of 11 games, 10 of them against teams in the East, 10 against teams in playoff position.
The Flyers started that stretch with four straight wins, a hard-fought shootout loss to the Rangers and a rare shootout win against the Red Wings for a 5-0-1 in the first six games. Since then, a last-second loss to the Maple Leafs, a disappointing loss in Pittsburgh and another late loss to the Bruins have since halted the Flyers progress toward making up the ground to get back in playoff contention.
The Flyers final game of that stretch — and final game before the All-Star break — is to face the daunting Washington Capitals in the nation's capital on Wednesday night.
Mother Nature also stepped in for both teams. The Flyers had one of those games, Saturday night's meeting with the Islanders, postponed due to the blizzard. The Capitals have not played in eight days after having two games postponed.
The opening faceoff is set for 8 p.m.
|Flyers Leaders||GP||G||A||P||Capitals Leaders||GP||G||A||P|
|Claude Giroux||46||14||23||37||Evgeny Kuznetsov||46||15||33||48|
|Jake Voracek||46||6||28||34||Nicklas Backstrom||43||15||29||44|
|Wayne Simmonds||46||14||14||28||Alex Ovechkin||45||28||14||42|
|Brayden Schenn||44||11||14||25||Justin Williams||46||16||17||33|
|Sean Couturier||36||9||13||22||Marcus Johansson||43||13||17||30|
|Player to Watch|
|17 Wayne Simmonds||8 Alex Ovechkin|
|Last 5 Games: 3 G, 2 A, 5 P, +1||Last 5 Games: 4 G, 1 A, 5 P, E|
|30 Michal Neuvirth||70 Braden Holtby|
|10-6-2, 2.10 GAA, .934 SV%||30-5-2, 2.01 GAA, .930 SV%|
Michal Neuvirth goes back into the net, albeit potential not at full health. Neuvirth was hobbled after the Flyers loss to the Bruins on Monday, but with Steve Mason absent from two straight practices and out for Wednesday's game, figures to be in the net against Washington.
Braden Holtby has quite simply had the benefit of playing behind the best team in the NHL while putting together some excellent numbers of his own. His 30 wins lead the league, he is second with a 2.01 GAA and is fifth with a .930 save percentage — Neuvirth still holds the top spot in save percentage. Much like the Capitals as a team, facing Holtby is a daunting task for any team, especially one that has struggled to score consistently like the Flyers.
Flyers Projected Lineup
Scratches: Sean Couturier, Steve Mason, Evgeny Medvedev, Jordan Weal
|Left Wing||Center||Right Wing|
|93 Jake Voracek||28 Claude Giroux||17 Wayne Simmonds|
|24 Matt Read||12 Michael Raffl||10 Brayden Schenn|
|20 R.J. Umberger||21 Scott Laughton||89 Sam Gagner|
|76 Chris VandeVelde||78 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare||25 Ryan White|
|15 Michael Del Zotto||53 Shayne Gostisbehere|
|55 Nick Schultz||32 Mark Streit|
|23 Brandon Manning||3 Radko Gudas|
|30 Michal Neuvirth|
A couple of interesting changes for the Flyers. Jordan Weal comes back out of the lineup and Sam Gagner returns, playing the wing on the fourth line with R.J. Umberger and Scott Laughton. The Flyers have shuffled the defensive pairings with Shayne Gostisbehere skating with Michael Del Zotto and Radko Gudas playing with Brandon Manning. Jason LaBarbera was brought up from the Phantoms as an emergency call-up for Mason.
- Power Play: Flyers (T-21st, 13th on road), Capitals (1st, 2nd at home)
- Penalty Kill: Flyers (26th, T-24th on road), Capitals (4th, 8th at home)
- Recent History vs. Capitals
- Nov. 12, 2015 – The Flyers suffered a 5-2 defeat to the Capitals at home. Scott Laughton and Claude Giroux scored for the Flyers while Steve Mason made 27 saves in the loss. Jason Chimera scored two goals for the Capitals with T.J. Oshie, Justin Williams and Nicklas Backstrom also scoring for Washington.
- The Flyers posted a 3-1-0 record against the Capitals in the 2014-15 season.
- Jan. 8. 2015 – Jake Voracek scores the overtime winner in a 3-2 Flyers win at home.
- Jan. 14, 2015 – Jason Chimera's goal at 3:13 of the first is all the offense needed for Braden Holtby, who makes 21 saves in a 1-0 shutout win for the Capitals in Washington.
- Feb. 8, 2015 – Wayne Simmonds goal at 3:50 of the third proves to be the game-winner in a 3-1 win over the Capitals in Washington.
- Feb. 22, 2015 – After jumping ahead with two power play goals from Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds, Michael Del Zotto scores the game-winner at 15:47 of the third to give the Flyers a crucial 3-2 win at home.
- Flyers leaders vs. Capitals
- Claude Giroux - 26 games, 15 goals, 13 assists, 28 points
- Mark Streit - 35 games, 8 goals, 18 assists, 26 points
- Jake Voracek – 22 games, 9 goals, 7 assists, 16 points
- Michal Neuvirth - 1st career appearance against Washington
- Milestone Watch
- Mark Streit: 5 points to reach 400 for career
- Jake Voracek: 9 goals to reach 100 as a Flyer
Where to Watch
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.