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Flyers vs. Capitals preview: Old MacDonald had a blue line ...

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The Flyers will play their first game post-trade-deadline with a slightly new look on their blue line, and they'll do it against a division opponent with whom things have been getting pretty nasty.

Rob Carr

Well that was fun. Not really. It wasn't fun. It stunk. But yes. The trade deadline has come and gone, and all we've got to show for it is a new defenseman and the departure of an old one. Got it? Good.

Washington Capitals (29-23-10, 68 pts) at Philadelphia Flyers (32-24-6, 70 pts)
8 p.m. | Wells Fargo Center | South Philadelphia
TV: NBCSN, TSN2 | Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Get the Washington perspective at Japers' Rink

In all seriousness, the big story for the Flyers tonight will be the debut of former Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who as you assuredly know by now was acquired yesterday for two draft picks. Based on reports from practice this morning, MacDonald will be playing with Luke Schenn (presumably on the team's third pairing) and will get some time on the second power play unit. We've made our reservations about MacDonald's acquisition pretty clear, and man, pairing him with Schenn seems like it could be a bit of a disaster. But he's here, and he's playing, so let's see what the guy can do. Meanwhile, Andrej Meszaros -- who may or may not have been in the lineup to start with -- will not be in the lineup tonight, or ever again.

But now we turn our attentions back to the ice, where there's a mildly important game going on tonight and a chance for the Flyers to pick up even more standings points on one of their immediate divisional competitors.

As you assuredly know, these two teams played just three days ago, with the Flyers erasing a two-goal deficit in the third period (with much thanks given to one Dmitri Orlov, who will not play today thanks to a suspension as a result of a brutal hit on Brayden Schenn) in order to pick up an overtime win. A lot of things happened en route to that 5-4 final score in overtime, and man, the four games that these two teams have played this year have all been pretty nasty in their own little ways, haven't they?

How do they follow it up? Chances are some stupid stuff will happen. But put that all aside for a second: the Flyers will have a chance to pick up two more points on a divisional rival that's just right behind them in the standings (and would draw even with them with a regulation win). So let's hope they see the opportunity in front of them, as they can either kick some more dirt on top of a division team or can get said dirt kicked right back into their faces.

The Capitals had a pretty interesting couple of days themselves. They sent out colossal trade bust Martin Erat yesterday evening, swapped backup goalie Michal Neuvirth to Buffalo for the guy who single-handedly destroyed them in the playoffs four years ago in Jaroslav Halak, and brought in Dustin Penner for a mere fourth-round pick yesterday. Penner will be making his season debut for the Capitals tonight.

From the Flyers' side of things, the lineup will probably look the same as before, with the aforementioned exception of MacDonald in Meszaros' place on the third pairing. Steve Mason is your starter in net.

National TV game tonight on NBC Sports Network. Go Flyers.