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Flyers-Capitals: Game 60 Preview

12-21-2016_FlyersvsCaps_1st_credKateFrese-11

(Kate Frese/Sports Talk Philly)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

 

The Flyers keep their playoff hopes alive with a win on Sunday in Vancouver to close out a three-game road trip. Their return home comes against the hottest team in the NHL.

Much like last season, the Washington Capitals are taking a competitive Eastern Conference by storm, leading the way with 85 points in the standings. The Flyers have their work cut out for them heading into this matchup, as they look to keep fighting for a playoff spot as the season's final 20 games rapidly approach.

The opening face-off is set for 8 p.m.

Flyers Leaders GP G A P Capitals Leaders GP G A P
Jake Voracek 59 15 34 49 Nicklas Backstrom 58 17 44 61
Wayne Simmonds 59 25 17 42 Alex Ovechkin 58 27 25 52
Claude Giroux 59 12 30 42 Evgeny Kuznetsov 58 12 33 45
Brayden Schenn 56 18 20 38 T.J. Oshie 49 23 18 41
Shayne Gostisbehere 53 4 21 25 Marcus Johansson 58 19 21 40
 
Player to Watch
53 Shayne Gostisbehere 19 Nicklas Backstrom
Last 5 Games: 0 G, 4 A, 4 P, -3 Last 5 Games: 2 G, 6 A, 8 P, +1
 
Shayne Gostisbehere bounced back from his sophomore struggles, at least for one night, with a three-assist game in Vancouver, the first three-point game of his career. Now approaching three months since he last scored a goal, the Ghost is due for something to go in sooner or later.
 
Even with no points in his last game against the Rangers on Sunday, Nicklas Backstrom has been on a tear lately. The Capitals leader in points with 61 has eight in his last five games, including six assists, padding his season total of 44.
 
Goalie Matchup
30 Michal Neuvirth 70 Braden Holtby
10-7-1, 2.78 GAA, .890 SV% 29-8-5, 2.01 GAA, .926 SV%

Michal Neuvirth makes his fifth straight start on Wednesday night, opposing his former team. Neuvirth is 2-2-0 in his previous four starts, allowing 11 goals on 91 shots.

Braden Holtby gets the start for the Capitals. Holtby had a four-game winning streak snapped with a shootout loss to the Red Wings on Saturday. Prior to the team's bye week the week before, Holtby had won four games in a row, posting one shutout. Holtby may not be on pace to catch his career-high of 48 wins from a season ago, but he remains one of the NHL's most reliable goalies.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Scratches: Travis Konecny, Jordan Weal, Michael Del Zotto, Nick Schultz

Left Wing Center Right Wing
10 Brayden Schenn 28 Claude Giroux 17 Wayne Simmonds
22 Dale Weise 14 Sean Couturier 93 Jake Voracek
12 Michael Raffl 25 Nick Cousins 24 Matt Read
76 Chris VandeVelde 78 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare 13 Roman Lyubimov
Defense    
32 Mark Streit 53 Shayne Gostisbehere  
9 Ivan Provorov 47 Andrew MacDonald  
3 Radko Gudas 23 Brandon Manning  
Goalie    
30 Michal Neuvirth    

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (T-8th, 9th at home), Capitals (5th, T-6th on road)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (16th, T-12th at home), Capitals (T-6th, 7th on road) 
  • Recent History vs. Capitals
    • Dec. 21, 2016 - The Flyers claimed a 3-2 shootout win over the Capitals in Philadelphia. Andre Burakovsky opened the scoring late in the first period before Michael Raffl scored the tying goal just over four minutes into the second. The teams traded goals later in the second with Lars Eller scoring for Washington and Claude Giroux tying the game with 21 seconds left in the period. After a scoreless third and a hectic overtive, the Flyers got goals from Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds in the shootout to secure the win.
    • Jan. 15, 2017 - The Capitals routed the Flyers, 5-0, in Washington. Through two periods, Washington held a 1-0 lead on a goal by Andre Burakovsky. But in the third, a pair of goals by Matt Niskanen and Justin Williams started the rout and the Capitals rolled to a shutout win behind 24 saves from Phillip Grubauer.
  • Flyers leaders vs. Capitals
    • Claude Giroux - 31 games, 16 goals, 16 assists, 32 points
    • Jake Voracek - 27 games, 11 goals, 8 assists, 19 points
    • Mark Streit - 39 games, 8 goals, 18 assists, 26 points
    • Michal Neuvirth - 2 games, 1-0-0, 2.47 GAA, .914 Sv%
  • Milestone Watch
    • Claude Giroux plays in his 634th career game tonight, moving him into 12th place all-time in Flyers history.

Where to Watch
TV: NBCSN
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

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