Red light special! (Courtesy: Peter Facey)

Will Flyers-Caps Be a Goalie Duel Or Barnburner?

On one hand, we have the top two prized goaltenders from this past offseason. On the other hand we’ve got two lineups chalk full of offensive stars. So, what kind of game can we look forward to between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals tonight?

The Case For A Goalie Duel

Ilya Bryzgalov is undefeated so far this season. Tomas Vokoun is undefeated so far this season. Each of them has one shutout. Both have a GAA under 2.  Each of their SV%’s is over .925. Stats aside, each is considered a top notch goalie in the league. Both played the last few seasons on teams that didn’t exactly have a ton of talent, yet still put up a ton of wins. Both of their names are well regarded across the league because they have proven themselves, in the regular seasons. Now, each of them is expected to be the final piece that helps push their team over the top. So tonight, each gets another chance to prove that they are the x-factor when it comes to tough opposition.

The Case For A Barnburner

Both of these clubs can light it up. The Flyers are tops in goals/game, and Washington is tied for second. In their first 5 games, each team has only scored less than 3 goal one time. It may be a small sample size, but we’re still looking at recent trends to see how the teams are doing. And early in this season, neither club is having trouble scoring. And unlike some other teams with hot starts, this isn’t exactly a fluke. Both clubs have a few guys with some offensive pedigree. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Semin, Claude Giroux, Jaromir Jagr, Danny Briere and a host of secondary players all know how to put the puck in the net. Last year, these teams average a combined 7 goals per game when they played. While the Flyers had a large overhaul, they have proven capable of scoring in bunches.

Verdict

Who the hell knows? It could be either of these scenarios, or it could be a blowout by one team or the other.  Most likely, the score should be pretty close. I think something in the 3-2 or 4-3 range is most likely. But more importantly, this should be a really, really fun game.  While the Flyers can preach defense all they want, they don’t exactly slow the game down. And the Caps aren’t ones to do a bunch of trapping either. With two clubs loaded with talent, I expect a lot of back and forth action. Even if it is 0-0 late into the game, I still don’t think that will indicate how fun this game is. Each team might just get 20 scoring chances, and be turned aside by stellar goaltending. I wouldn’t mind that. In fact, I’d be a bit more worried if this game gets really out of hand. Regardless, I can’t wait until puck drop. Let’s Go Flyers!

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Tags: 2011-12 Season Alex Ovechkin Alexander Semin Claude Giroux Danny Briere Ice Hockey Ilya Bryzgalov Jaromir Jagr NHL Nicklas Backstrom Philadelphia Flyers Tomas Vokoun Washington Capitals

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