Flyers vs. Capitals Preview: Stop the bleeding (again)
The Flyers are on another losing streak. They’ll try and cut that off tonight.
The Philadelphia Flyers begin an eight-game home stand against the Washington Capitals, who come into town for the second of four total meetings. It’s time for the Flyers to get back in the win column after a not-so-great last three games.
The Capitals are an offensive juggernaut even when they’re missing some of their key weapons. T.J Oshie is on injured reserve, and not having him in the lineup has been detrimental to their success. They’re 5-5-0 in their last 10 games, and not having him in the lineup has hurt, as they were once at the top of the division. Of course, with a power play that ranks 27th in the entire NHL, it’s hard to win games, but the Capitals' power cannot be understated.
Alex Ovechkin looks like an MVP candidate slightly over halfway into the season, notching his 30th and 31st goals in a game against the Nashville Predators. He is tied for fifth in the league in points (62) with Nazem Kadri of the Colorado Avalanche.
Evgeny Kuznetsov is also having a strong season. He has scored at a point per game level with 48 points in 48 games, and he has been able to take control of the pace of play with his linemates. After a relatively down season in 2020-21, he’s finally returning to form.
The Capitals have a total record of 27-15-9, and the Flyers are going to have to play way above the level they have been playing at to come out of the game with a win and please the fans (that are still showing up).
Claude Giroux held a press conference to talk about his status as the trade deadline approaches. He said that he hasn’t spoken to general manager Chuck Fletcher yet and that he is dedicated to the Flyers. That was good for a tiny sliver of happiness until the realization kicks in that he’s probably going to be moved after he plays his 1,000th career NHL game and game as a Flyer. He is tied for the team lead in points with Cam Atkinson. They each have 37 points, but Giroux has reached that mark in three fewer games.
The Flyers are still missing players to injury. Kevin Hayes is out even though he was seen getting some on-ice reps. Joel Farabee remains out as well with Ryan Ellis and Sean Couturier, who has been injured for the majority of the season.
One player making his mark on the scoresheet and in the hearts of fans is Scott Laughton. There has been plenty of talk about whether or not he should get the captain’s ‘C’ if and when Giroux gets moved to another team. In the last five games, he leads the Flyers with seven points and four goals, while Atkinson leads in assists with three. One thing that Laughton does very well is forecheck hard and throw his body around. He has the grit that every team wants, and he leads not only on special teams but also at even strength. He’s a hard worker, and the talk surrounding him as a potential Giroux replacement is warranted.
Carter Hart continues his heroic ways despite not getting rewarded in the win column. The amount of miraculous saves he has to make on a nightly basis is more than enough for one goalie in an entire month. It’s almost unfathomable how bad the defense has been in front of him, and in turn, how good he has had to be to maintain a .910 save percentage and above. When talking about team MVP’s, Hart’s name should be brought up instantly.
The Flyers have a tough task on their hands, as they come into the evening with a 15-24-9 record overall and a 2-6-2 record in their last 10 games. They’ve been one of the worst teams in the NHL as we all know, and even though there have been some bright spots, I think everyone knows that this isn’t the season, and there are things to look forward to (ex. the draft lottery). It will be a good test for the team to see if they can shut down arguably the greatest goal scorer of all time and his counterparts tonight at home in the Wells Fargo Center.
That’s all from me, everyone! Enjoy the game (I guess) and go Flyers!