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Game 10, Preview and Open Thread: Head Into The Red, Philadelphia Flyers at Washington Capitals

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Philadelphia Flyers (5-3-1, 11 pts) at Washington Capitals (6-2-2, 14 pts)
Verizon Center - 7:00 PM EST - Washington DC
TV: Versus HD, TSN HD
Radio: 610 WIP (internet stream), XM 204
This is the open game thread.
Behind Enemy Lines: Japers' Rink

The Flyers head south on the Acela to the nation's capital for the second of four meetings this season with the Washington Capitals. Since the Capitals improved in the 07-08 season, the Flyers have toughed out a 9-5-2 record overall against their nearest neighbors to the south.

The Flyers and Caps are two of the three teams widely considered to have a shot of winning the East, so even though it's still October the stakes are pretty serious for bragging rights and momentum.

It's easy to get bogged down into discussions of brutality vs. finesse when discussing Flyers vs. Caps match-ups, but the Flyers don't necessarily have a history of sending Caps players out on stretchers the way they did to Florida two games ago.  But all the same, J.P. over at Japers' Rink thinks standing up to the Flyers' bullying ways will be key for the enforcer-less Caps.

Watch tonight's game against the big bad Flyers. Pay attention to the level of respect with which the Orange and Black treat the Caps' skill players. And take note of how the host Capitals, as a team, react. You can bet George McPhee will be.

The first game between the two was an entertaining 6-5 offensive eruption that saw five game tying goals before Daniel Briere buried the game winner in OT.  While it was a lot of fun, it was also an absolute mess defensively by both teams.  Semyon Varlamov was yanked after the second period for letting in four goals in that frame, including a hat trick by Mike RichardsRay Emery and the Flyers' defensive corps weren't much better, allowing two goals each by Alex Semin and Alex Ovechkin.

I'll be at the game and in this thread throughout the night, so feel free to shoot me any questions I can answer or ask for you.

After the jump, some questions to be answered in tonight's game.

Questions to Answer:

  1. How much is Simon Gagne's absence felt by the team's offense?
  2. How convincingly will Washington dominate in the faceoff circle, and how big an impact will it have?
  3. Can Ovechkin and Semin be held to less than four goals tonight? Setting the bar low, I know...
  4. The Flyers are impressively third best in shots for and fifth best in shots against, but can they outshoot the always offensive-minded Caps?
  5. Which of the visiting Flyers' dads gets to leave the game the proudest of his boy?

Puck drops at 7.  Go Flyers.