Coming off of a big win against the New York Rangers, the Philadelphia Flyers will travel to the nation’s capital this afternoon to take on the Washington Capitals. The game is at 12:30pm and will be televised on NBC. This game is the first of a home and home series. The second game of the series will be played on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers are 1-1-1 in three meetings with the Capitals this season. In their first meeting on November 1st, the Flyers were thoroughly embarrassed. The Capitals dominated the final two periods, culminating in Ray Emery’s beatdown of Braden Holtby. In the second game, the Flyers blew a 4-1 lead in the final 10 minutes of the game and eventually lost in a shootout. In the third meeting, only two days after the second, the Flyers won 5-2 in convincing fashion.
Right now, only one point separates the Flyers and Capitals. The Flyers are third in the division, only one point behind the Rangers. The Capitals are fourth, one point behind the Flyers. Therefore this home and home series will have serious post season repercussions.
One question that Craig Berube will have to answer today is which goalie to start. Ray Emery did not make the trip to Washington, therefore the two goalies with the team are Steve Mason and Cal Heeter. As I previously mentioned, this game is very important, so it stands to reason that Mason will get the start. However, this would be Mason’s third start in less than 70 hours. On the other hand, Heeter is fresh and the Capitals do not ‘have a book’ on him. Heeter has never started an NHL game, but Berube indicated that he would be confident in Heeter if called upon.
Either way, the Flyers will need a repeat performance from Wayne Simmonds and impact performances from the likes of Giroux, Voracek, B. Schenn, and Couturier. With a playoff spot on the line, expect the game to be a battle from start to finish.