Game 16 Preview: Flyers get test as Capitals come to town


After another embarrassing loss, a team meeting and a physically demanding practice, the Flyers return to the ice for the real thing. And they get a very challenging opponent.

The Washington Capitals come to town with a 10-4-0 record and 20 points in the standings. They are also 7-3-0 in their last 10 games, a far cry from the Flyers 3-5-2 record in the previous 10 games.

The opening face-off is set for 7 p.m.

The Flyers practice on Wednesday was about as demanding as it gets. Head coach Dave Hakstol set the tone with a "if you don't want to work in the game, you're going to pay for it at practice," mentality.

The Flyers may be saying all the right things, but they are only kidding themselves with the way things look on the ice.

They have lost seven of their last eight games since starting the season 4-2-1. Their most lifeless and listless game came on Tuesday in a 4-0 shellacking to the Avalanche.

Jake Voracek is still looking for his first goal. Claude Giroux has just nine points to lead the team and is a minus-5. Voracek is a minus-6. Wayne Simmonds is a minus-10.

Steve Mason will make his return to the net. Mason is 2-4-2 with a 3.34 GAA and .902 save percentage.

The Capitals are, as always, led by Alex Ovechkin, who is just one goal away from setting the all-time record for a Russian-born player. Ovechkin has eight goals and eight assists for 16 points in 13 games this season. 

Washington comes loaded with offensive threats. Evgeny Kuznetsov has 15 points, including a team-leading 10 assists. John Carlson leads the defensemen with 12 points. Justin Williams, T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom all have at least seven points on the season. The top eight Capitals in points — rounded out by Marcus Johansson and Matt Niskanen — all have positive plus-minus ratings.

In goal, expect Braden Holtby between the pipes. Holtby has an 8-4-0 record in 12 starts for the Capitals, posting a 2.01 GAA and .920 save percentage.

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (27th, 27th at home), Capitals (11th, 25th on road) 
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (18th, 17th at home), Capitals (7th, 5th on road)
  • The Flyers were 3-1-0 against the Capitals in the 2014-15 season. The Flyers suffered a 1-0 loss in Washington on Jan. 14, but took home a 3-2 overtime win in Philadelphia on Jan. 8, a 3-1 win in Washington on Feb. 8 and a 3-2 win at home on Feb. 22.
  • Flyers leaders vs. Capitals
    • Claude Giroux – 25 games, 14 goals, 13 assists, 27 points
    • Vincent Lecavalier – 83 games, 35 goals, 36 assists, 71 points
    • Jake Voracek – 21 games, 9 goals, 7 assists, 16 points
    • Steve Mason – 13 games, 7-3-2, 2.65 GAA
  • Milestone Watch: Wayne Simmonds needs two points to reach 200 as a Flyer.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Line 1: Michael Raffl-Claude Giroux-Jake Voracek
Line 2: Matt Read-Sean Couturier-Wayne Simmonds
Line 3: Sam Gagner-Brayden Schenn-Vincent Lecavalier
Line 4: Ryan White-Scott Laughton-Chris VandeVelde

D-Pair 1: Evgeny Medvedev-Mark Streit
D-Pair 2: Radko Gudas-Michael Del Zotto
D-Pair 3: Nick Schultz-Luke Schenn
Goalie: Steve Mason

Scratches: Brandon Manning, R.J. Umberger, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Where to Watch
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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