Flyers-Capitals: Game 66 Preview

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By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

A few weeks ago, the thought that this game would hold the magnitude it does was really unthinkable. The Flyers were more on the playoff bubble than they were holding a secure spot and the Capitals were running away with the division title.

When the Flyers faced the Capitals last on Feb. 8 in Washington, and rolled to a 7-2 victory, it was more of a shock. Now, the two teams enter their final meeting of the regular season on a much more level playing field in the standings.

The Flyers have closed the gap in the Metropolitan Division to three points and are challenging the Capitals for the division lead. They get a chance to close the gap further with one final matchup in the 2019-20 regular season.

Game time is 7 p.m.

Team Leaders

Philadelphia Flyers GP G A P Washington Capitals GP G A P
Travis Konecny 62 23 37 60 John Carlson 65 15 58 73
Sean Couturier 65 21 37 58 Alex Ovechkin 64 45 18 63
Jake Voracek 65 12 40 52 Jakub Vrana 65 25 26 51
Claude Giroux 65 19 30 49 Evgeny Kuznetsov 59 19 32 51
James van Riemsdyk  65 19 21 40 Nicklas Backstrom 57 11 40 51
 
Player to Watch
14 Sean Couturier 8 Alex Ovechkin
Last 5 Games: 3 G, 2 A, 5 P, E Last 5 Games: 4 G, 1 A, 5 P, +2
 
Since the Flyers six-game winning streak began, Sean Couturier has six points including four goals. Couturier had an especially strong game against Washington on Feb. 8, scoring two goals and adding an assist.
 
When the Flyers last faced the Capitals, all eyes were on Alex Ovechkin and his pursuit of 700 career goals. Ovechkin didn't reach the milestone until Feb. 22, two weeks later, but has picked up his scoring touch since then with four goals in the last five games. 
 
Projected Goalie Matchup
37 Brian Elliott 70 Braden Holtby
30 GP, 15-7-4, 2.90 GAA, .899 SV% 45 GP, 24-13-5, 3.12 GAA, .898 SV%

Brian Elliott gets his first start since Feb. 20, when he made 28 saves in a 4-3 overtime win in Columbus. Elliott was in goal for the Flyers 7-2 win over the Capitals on Feb. 8 and made 25 saves in the win.  

The loss to the Flyers on Feb. 8 started a stretch of four losses in five starts for Braden Holtby. Since then, he has won his last three starts, including Sunday's game against the Wild where he made 37 saves on 40 shots. Holtby has been in goal for all three games against the Flyers this season.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Injuries: 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 38 Derek Grant 18 Tyler Pitlick
12 Michael Raffl 44 Nate Thompson 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 79 Carter Hart  

Lineup Notes

No changes are expected to the Flyers lineup after Sunday's win in New York.

Capitals Projected Lineup

Scratches: Michal Kempny, Brendan Leipsic, Travis Boyd

Left Wing Center Right Wing
8 Alex Ovechkin 92 Evgeny Kuznetsov 43 Tom Wilson
13 Jakub Vrana 19 Nicklas Backstrom 77 T.J. Oshie
62 Carl Hagelin 20 Lars Eller 17 Ilya Kovalchuk
14 Richard Panik 26 Nic Dowd 21 Garnet Hathaway
Defense    
4 Brendan Dillon 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 (11th), Capitals (T-15th)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (12th), Capitals (4th)
  • Recent History vs. Capitals
    • Nov. 13, 2019 – Capitals 2, Flyers 1 (F/SO) (at PHI)
    • Jan. 8, 2020 – Flyers 3, Capitals 2 (at PHI)
    • Feb. 8, 2020 – Flyers 7, Capitals 2 (at WSH)
  • Flyers Leaders vs. Capitals
    • Claude Giroux – 44 GP, 22 G, 22 A, 44 P
    • Jake Voracek – 38 GP, 15 G, 18 A, 33 P
    • Sean Couturier – 32 GP, 8 G, 15 A, 23 P
    • Brian Elliott – 18 GP, 9-7-0, 3.16 GAA, .893 SV%

Where to Watch
TV: NBCSN
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic/97.3 ESPN

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