Flyers-Capitals: Game 46 Preview

12-21-2016_FlyersvsCaps_1st_credKateFrese-17

(Kate Frese/Sports Talk Philly)

By Bill Minchin, Sports Talk Philly writer

The Philadelphia Flyers (22-17-6) are right back at this afternoon as they travel to the red hot Washington Capitals (28-9-5). This is the Flyers last game before their league mandated bye week. Opening faceoff is set for 1:00.

The game is the second of four and first of two games in Washington against their Metropolitan Division rivals. 

Philadelphia is coming off a lackluster 6-3 loss in Boston yesterday. Washington on the other hand last played Friday when they won their eigth straight game with a 6-0 defeat of Chicago.

Flyers Leaders GP G A P Capitals Leaders GP G A P
Jake Voracek 45 13 28 41 Nicklas Backstrom 42 12 28 40
Claude Giroux 45 10 28 38 Alex Ovechkin 42 21 15 36
Wayne Simmonds 45 18 16 34 Marcus Johansson 42 14 15 29
Brayden Schenn 42 15 15 30 Evgeny Kuznetsov 42 5 23 28
Travis Konecny 44 7 14 21 T. J. Oshie 34 14 11 25
 
 
Player to Watch
14 Sean Couturier 74 John Carlson
Last 5 Games: 2 G, 1 A, 3 P, Even Last 5 Games: 1 G, 4 A, 5 P, +9
 
 

Sean Couturier will most likely get a heavy dose of Alex Ovechkin this afternoon. This is not unusal for Couturier. The young center typically draws the toughest defensive assignments each and every game. Playing with Jakub Voracek, the goal will not be to just shut down the Capitals top line but to generate scoring themselves.

 
You did not read that wrong. John Carlson is +9 in his last five games. It's not just because he was on the ice when someone else scored either. The Capitals defenseman has five points in thos five games as well. He has recently been a Flyers killer from the back end. The wingers will have their hands full keeping him in check.
 
Goalie Matchup
35 Steve Mason

70 Braden Holtby

14-14-6, 2.87 GAA, .901 SV% 21-8-4, 1.85 GAA, .933 SV%

After getting yesterday off, Steve Mason will be back between the pipes for Philadelphia this afternoon. Mason made 36 saves in his last outing against Washington picking up a 3-2 shoot out victory back in December 

Braden Holtby firmly entrenched himself in the list of elite goal tenders in the NHL. Last year's Vezina Trophy winner is playing like he wants a repeat this season. If Holtby brings his usual game to the rink today, the Flyers will have a tough time picking up a win.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Scratches: Matt Read, Shayne Gostisbehere, Nick Schultz

Left Wing Center Right Wing
12 Michael Raffl 28 Claude Giroux 11 Travis Konecny
25 Nick Cousins 14 Sean Couturier 93 Jake Voracek
22 Dale Weise 10 Brayden Schenn 17 Wayne Simmonds
76 Chris VandeVelde 78 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare 13 Roman Lyubimov
Defense    
23 Brandon Manning 15 Michael Del Zotto  
47 Andrew MacDonald 9 Ivan Provorov  
32 Mark Streit 3 Radko Gudas  
Goalie    
35 Steve Mason    

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (4th, 6th on the road), Capitals (16th, 16th at home)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (19th, 24th on the road), Capitals (3rd, 6th at home) 
  • Recent History vs. Washington
    • 12/21/16: Philadelphia fell behind 1-0 and 2-1 but battled back with goals by Michael Raffl and Claude Giroux to to force overtime and eventually a shoot out. Wayne Simmonds scored in the top of the fourth round and Mason denied Justin Williams in the bottom of that same round to pick up a 3-2 victory in Philadelphia. Mason had 36 saves through overtime and stopped 3 of 4 shooters in the shoot out.
  • Brayden Schenn scored yesterday giving him 99 career goals. It was also his fourth straight game with a goal. 

Where to Watch
TV: CSN
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic