For whatever reason, the Capitals have given the Flyers perhaps the most trouble this season. We all remember the 7-0 slugfest that happened the last time these teams were in Philadelphia, and let's face it: Sunday afternoon was just awful. While the Caps aren't the toughest team the Flyers have faced, those two losses stand out as ugly blemishes on the season.
Washington Capitals (18-12-3, 39 pts) at Philadelphia Flyers (14-15-4, 32 pts)
7:30 p.m. | Wells Fargo Center | South Philadelphia
TV: CSN Philly, CSN DC, NBCSN, TSN | Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Get the Washington perspective at Japers' Rink
The Flyers, of course, enter the game tonight after a debilitating loss in Washington on Sunday. That game was (I hate to say) the same old, same old -- very solid play for about 50 minutes, then a horrible collapse that erased the lead and sent them to a shootout. Where they lost.
Tonight, the only hope is for the Flyers to play their same game from Sunday, albeit for 10 minutes longer.
Good defensive coverage is going to be key tonight. The Caps have a lot of offensive firepower, and are absolutely deadly on the power play. I can't count the number of times I've seen Ovechkin shoot the puck right in the net after getting a clean draw. Limiting offensive zone draws (and winning them), staying out of the box, and clogging up passing lanes are all crucial to securing a win.
All eyes are going to be on Michael Raffl tonight. He's been nothing short of stellar after getting promoted to the first line, notching a goal and 3 assists in the last two games. He's adding some sorely needed vigor to that first line, and it's nice to see he's living up to expectations.
Steve Mason gets the start in net, hoping to snag a win after being dealt some unfortunate bounces on Sunday. No word of the Caps goaltending decision yet, and coach Adam Oates indicated that all three will be in Philadelphia tonight.
Mikhail Grabovski is still out with the flu, which is great for the Flyers because he's been quite solid this season. The Caps recalled center Casey Wellman to presumably fill the fourth line center role left vacant by the recently injured Michael Latta. Wellman's your typical call up player -- he only has 41 NHL games under his belt and has spent most of his career in the minors.
A win tonight would put the Flyers right back at .500 -- a position they've taken and lost about a thousand times this year. But hey, you have to get to .500 to break it.
Game starts at 7:30. Caps suck. Go Flyers.