Flyers-Capitals: Game 55 Preview

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By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

An opportunity to get two more points in the standing slipped away as the Flyers struggled in a poor effort in a 5-0 to the New Jersey Devils, the last place team in the Metropolitan Division. With a missed opportunity behind them, the Flyers go back to playing a demanding schedule against the top teams in the league.

It all starts on Saturday night when the Flyers face the top team in the Metro, the Washington Capitals. The Flyers have played two very competitive games against the Capitals this season, but also face a critical situation where they need to continue gaining points to keep pace in the division and playoff race.

Game time is 7 p.m.

Team Leaders

Philadelphia Flyers GP G A P Washington Capitals GP G A P
Sean Couturier 54 13 33 46 John Carlson 54 14 51 65
Travis Konecny 51 17 27 44 Alex Ovechkin 53 40 17 57
Jake Voracek 54 11 29 40 Jakub Vrana 54 23 22 45
Claude Giroux 54 13 22 35 Evgeny Kuznetsov 51 18 27 45
Kevin Hayes  54 17 15 32 Nicklas Backstrom 46 10 31 41
 
Player to Watch
28 Claude Giroux 8 Alex Ovechkin
Last 5 Games: 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, -2 Last 5 Games: 9 G, 1 A, 10 P, +5
 
There was really no Flyer that had a good game on Thursday, but Claude Giroux's line was particularly poor. Giroux was on the ice for three goals against in the loss to the Devils, including the deciding goal just 13 seconds into the game. Giroux's offensive decline has as much to do with a changing role as it does performance, but the Flyers could use a big effort from the captain, who has gone 13 games without a goal and has just five assists in that time.
 
History is on the line on Saturday night for Alex Ovechkin. After posting a hat trick in his last game, Ovechkin sits just two goals away from 700 for his career. He sits at an even 40 goals on the season after scoring 14 goals in the last seven games. 
 
Projected Goalie Matchup
37 Brian Elliott 70 Braden Holtby
27 GP, 13-6-4, 2.89 GAA, .900 SV% 36 GP, 20-10-4, 3.08 GAA, .897 SV%

Off a shutout win on Monday that moved him to 4-0-1 in his last five starts, Brian Elliott turned in a poor performance, allowing four goals on 17 shots to the Devils before being pulled. Carter Hart is still not quite ready to return, so Elliott remains the go-to guy in goal for at least one more game.

Braden Holtby is coming off a strong start, making 29 saves on 31 shots in a win against the Kings. Holtby has faced the Flyers twice this season, getting a shootout win on Nov. 13 and taking the loss on Jan. 8.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Injuries: Joel Farabee (illness, day-to-day), Carter Hart (lower right abdominal, day-to-day), Nolan Patrick (migrane disorder, out indefinitely), Oskar Lindblom (Ewing's sarcoma, out for season)

Scratches: Shayne Gostisbehere

Left Wing Center Right Wing
28 Claude Giroux 14 Sean Couturier 93 Jake Voracek
21 Scott Laughton 13 Kevin Hayes 11 Travis Konecny
25 James van Riemsdyk 48 Morgan Frost 18 Tyler Pitlick
12 Michael Raffl 82 Connor Bunnaman 62 Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Defense    
9 Ivan Provorov 15 Matt Niskanen  
6 Travis Sanheim 5 Phil Myers  
8 Robert Hagg 61 Justin Braun  
Goalie    
37 Brian Elliott 34 Alex Lyon  

Lineup Notes

Shayne Gostisbehere comes back out of the lineup and Robert Hagg returns. The Flyers also called up Morgan Frost on Friday to fill in as third-line center, moving Claude Giroux back to the wing and shuffling the lines.

Capitals Projected Lineup

Scratches: Travis Boyd

Left Wing Center Right Wing
8 Alex Ovechkin 19 Nicklas Backstrom 77 T.J. Oshie
13 Jakub Vrana 92 Evgeny Kuznetsov 43 Tom Wilson
62 Carl Hagelin 20 Lars Eller 14 Richard Panik
28 Brendan Leipsic 26 Nic Dowd 21 Garnet Hathaway
Defense    
6 Michal Kempny 74 John Carlson  
9 Dmitry Orlov 3 Nick Jensen  
34 Jonas Siegenthaler 33 Radko Gudas  
Goalie    
70 Braden Holtby 30 Ilya Samsonov  

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (T-18th), Capitals (12th)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (T-13th), Capitals (2nd)
  • Recent History vs. Capitals
    • Nov. 13, 2019 – Capitals 2, Flyers 1 (F/SO) (at PHI)
    • Jan. 8, 2020 – Flyers 3, Capitals 2 (at PHI)
  • Flyers Leaders vs. Capitals
    • Claude Giroux – 43 GP, 21 G, 20 A, 41 P
    • Jake Voracek – 37 GP, 15 G, 16 A, 31 P
    • Sean Couturier – 31 GP, 6 G, 14 A, 20 P
    • Brian Elliott – 17 GP, 8-7-0, 3.24 GAA, .891 SV%
  • Milestone Watch
    • Claude Giroux needs three points to reach 800 for his career.

Where to Watch
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic/97.3 ESPN

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