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Flyers vs. Capitals: Preview, lineups, stats, game time, TV info and discussion thread

The Flyers begin a big pair of intra-division home-and-home series this afternoon in the nation's capital.

Sure why not.
Sure why not.
Bruce Bennett

2013-14 NHL Season :: Game 33 of 82
5th in Metropolitan
2nd in Metropolitan
Sunday, December 15th, 2013 :: 3 p.m. ET
Verizon Center :: Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Get the Washington perspective at Japers' Rink
Starting Goaltenders
Steve Mason (PHI) 24 1363 11 9 52 2.29 708 656 .927 1
Phillipp Grubauer (WAS) 4 197 2 0 5 1.52 115 110 .957 0
Projected Lineups
Raffl - Giroux - Voracek 1st Line Johansson - Ovechkin - Backstrom
Hartnell - Schenn - Simmonds 2nd Line Fehr - Grabovski - Brouwer
Read - Couturier - Downie 3rd Line Chimera - Ward - Erat
Rinaldo - Hall - VandeVelde 4th Line Volpatti - Beagle - Wilson
Timonen - Coburn 1st D Pair Alzner - Green
Grossmann - Streit 2nd D Pair Orlov - Carlson
Schenn - Meszaros 3rd D Pair Erskine - Oleksy
Team Stats
2.22 (26th) GF/G 2.91 (7th)
2.62 (14th) GA/G 2.81 (20th)
17.6% (17th) PP% 24.6% (2nd)
83.5 (12th) PK% 82.9 (13th)
48.9% (20th) Faceoff % 48.8% (21st)
48.2% (22nd) Fenwick %* 46.7% (27th)
7.5% (15th) Shot %* 7.7% (14th)
94.0% (5th) Save %* 91.8% (20th)
101.6 (7th) PDO* 99.5 (19th)
*stats counted at 5v5 while score is close (why?)
need a primer on advanced hockey stats?

Quick preview to go along with our gamethread today because Sunday afternoon starts screw up the timing of things. But basically the Flyers have a really important week ahead of them, with a pair of home-and-home stretches against two division rivals ahead of them in the standings in Washington and Columbus. That really important week starts today.

You all remember what happened the last time these two teams played just over a month ago in Philadelphia. The Flyers embarrassed themselves with a ton of really stupid crap, and that's before we even get to the fact that the final score was 7-0 Capitals. That was pretty easily the low point of this season, and I feel fairly confident in saying that it won't be quite that bad again today. (Don't make me look stupid for saying this, the Flyers. Please?)

Hopefully, we won't have any chance to see much retribution for the guy behind most of the controversy from that day -- Ray Emery, of course -- since Steve Mason is your starter, per the Flyers. The Capitals will also have a different look in net -- Phillipp Grubauer, who played well in relief of Braden Holtby in a shootout loss to the Panthers on Friday, will be your starter for the Capitals.

Lineups as given above are a guess. Chris VandeVelde played in his first game with the Flyers on Thursday, and we'll see if he's in the lineup (in Jay Rosehill's stead) once again today. Meanwhile, for our opponents, John Erskine will play today in place of one of Nate Schmidt, Steven Oleksy, or Dmitri Orlov (autoplay warning on that link), though we're not sure which one yet. (Update: Schmidt has been sent to the AHL, so he will be the odd man out.)

(Update: Mikhail Grabovski is sick with flu-like symptoms and will miss today's game, per Mike Vogel of Caps365. Not sure what the lines will look like in light of that)

Questions to Answer:

1. The Flyers were really really stupid and bad the last time they played the Capitals. They manage to find a way to not be really really stupid and bad today, right? Nothing stupid happens, right?

2. Alex Ovechkin has been really really good lately even by his high standards. Are the Flyers able to contain him today?

3. The Flyers controlled play pretty well on Thursday and the Caps aren't a particularly good possession team. Can they control the puck again today?

4. Phillipp Grubauer's played in just six NHL games in his career, but he's been very good in them. Can the Flyers crack him?

Go Flyers.