Philadelphia Flyers vs. Capitals preview: Hakstol’d edition


After a rollercoaster ride of a road trip that saw the Philadelphia Flyers come away with a respectable 2-2 record, they open up The Farg to faceoff against the Metro leading Washington Capitals.

Alex Ovechkin is off to a blazing start, tallying nine goals in just five games. That’s more than seven NHL teams have scored in total. Someone should probably read that stat off to Mike Milbury.

Not to be outdone though, teammates Nicklas Backstrom and fellow Russian Evgeny Kuznetsov both have totaled 10 points, helping to pace the Capitals to their current 3-1-1 record.

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In net for the Capitals will be Philipp Grubauer. He’s quietly made a name for himself as a backup to Braden Holtby, averaging a .922 SV% and a 2.28 GAA.

And last but not least, we couldn’t finish talking about the Capitals without mentioning human garbage person Tom Wilson. He’s returning from his 4-game suspension for boarding, and apparently, his presence has prompted Dave Hakstol to swap out the promising Travis Sanheim for apparent hockey player Brandon Manning– a move that has confused and angered some Flyers’ fans on Twitter.

Three things for the Philadelphia Flyers you need to know:

  • Travis Sanheim takes a back seat to….Brandon Manning?

Yes, you did read that right. Manning appears to be in tonight at the expense of playing the young and promising Travis Sanheim. What makes this even better (read: worse) is that apparently mom and dad are going to be in the building to watch their son spectate from the press box! Some people on Twitter have speculated that Hakstol made this move because of Tom Wilson and the physical nature of the Capitals team. I don’t know about you folks, but personally, I love sitting better players for worse ones because the other side has players who check more.

  • Brian Elliott gets the start.

Elliott looked okay in his first two starts of the season, combining for an unspectacular .914 SV%. However, his third start unraveled quickly. He ended up surrendering six goals on 31 shots in a 6-5 loss to the PRedators. Why Michal Neuvirth isn’t between the pipes is both confusing and frustrating. Neuvirth has only started one game and played very well. If the plan was to platoon these two then having Elliot in tonight doesn’t make any sense.

  • Flyers are decent in home openers.

The Philadelphia Flyers are 22-19-8 in all-time in their home openers. They’ll be hard-pressed to get the W tonight against a Capitals team tied for second with a goal differential of +6. That’s not surprising given their stellar top 6. However, their defensive depth isn’t great and got worse with an injury to Matt Niskanen. Their top 2 pairings combined are a -32 in Corsi +/-, so it’s not a surprise to see them place 6th in xGA (expected goals against).

Next: Flyers to honor Ed Snider with statue outside Wells Fargo Center


28 Giroux -14 Couturier – 93 Voracek

40 Weal – 51 Filppula – 17 Simmonds

22 Weise – 19 Patrick – 11 Konecny

20 Leier – 21 Laughton – 12 Raffl

9 Provorov – 47 MacDonald

53 Gostisbehere – 8 Hagg

23 Manning – 3 Gudas

37 Elliott

Go Flyers! Boo Capitals