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.
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
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.
Where to WatchTV: NBCSNRadio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.