Philadelphia Flyers play first of two with Washington Capitals

Flyers (Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
Flyers (Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) /

After seeing a four-game winning streak snapped, the Flyers ripped off a dominant win against the Buffalo Sabres. Now the Washington Capitals are here. This is the first of two games the two Metropolitan Division rivals will have this week with the rematch on Saturday. The Flyers are 0-1-1 against the Caps this season, so if they want to exact some revenge, this is the night to do it.

Philadelphia Flyers

Record: 17-18-7 (39 points, 7th in Metro)

In their first matchup, the Flyers blew a lead in the third period only to watch Flyers killer Alex Ovechkin take it in OT. In the second game, Ovi scored two goals to sink the Flyers 4-1, with Kevin Hayes scoring the lone goal.

But that was also when the Flyers lost 12 of 13 games. Right now, the Flyers have won six of their last nine games and have scored four or more goals in seven of those nine games. They have found their scoring touch again. And their goalie situation with Samuel Ersson and Carter Hart in net is greatly improved, with Ersson getting his first career shutout against the Sabres; one of the highest-scoring teams in the league.

In those last nine games, Travis Konecny has led this team with nine goals and eight assists. Following behind him are Morgan Frost (3G, 5A), Joel Farabee (4G, 4A), Noah Cates (2G, 5A), Tony DeAngelo (3G, 6A), and Kevin Hayes (1G, 6A).

While the Flyers are pretty much out of contention, they are in an interesting position right now. They are seventh in the Metro Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference. However, a pair of wins against the Caps could put them in 10th in the conference, leapfrogging over a few sagging teams and knocking on the door of the Islanders and Penguins to move up. Granted, other teams have to start losing too, but it is not farfetched.

Flyers Projected Lineup

James van Riemsdyk — Morgan Frost — Owen Tippett

Joel Farabee — Noah Cates — Travis Konecny

Kevin Hayes — Scott Laughton — Wade Allison

Nicolas Deslauriers — Patrick Brown — Zack MacEwen

Cam York — Ivan Provorov

Travis Sanheim — Tony DeAngelo

Nick Seeler — Rasmus Ristolainen

Carter Hart

Washington Capitals

Record: 23-14-6 (52 points, 4th in Metropolitan Division)

Much like the Flyers, it’s been an up-and-down season for the Caps. They’ve been banged up and had a lot of players on IR. The difference is, they managed to hold the ship together through the storm while Philly floundered a bit.

Washington is 4-3 since Christmas. What’s interesting about this is that they are losing every other game. Fun fact: they defeated the Blue Jackets on Sunday in a 1-0 win. So, if history repeats itself, the Flyers should win tonight.

All the focus should be on Ovechkin as he continues to make history. I know it seems like he has scored 700 goals against Philly, but it only has been 46…roughly 6% of his total of 809. Let’s hope he doesn’t add to it tonight. He’s been scoreless in the last two games, so you know he’s hungry.

The Caps come into the Wells Fargo Center as the ninth-best scoring team in the league. Well, Buffalo was the second highest, and they got shut out. The Flyers need to play the same way again; albeit without some of the dramatic saves that Ersson had to make to keep them in it.

The other big difference between the Caps and Buffalo is Washington has much better goaltending. This could easily turn into a grindout, goalie-battle game. If that is the case, the Flyers cannot afford to make mistakes. That cost them dearly in the Toronto game on Sunday. Washington is a veteran team that will capitalize on those kinds of mistakes and makes you pay for it.

Capitals Projected Lineup

Alex Ovechkin — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Sonny Milano

Lars Eller — Nicklas Backstrom — T.J. Oshie

Conor Sheary — Dylan Strome — Tom Wilson

Marcus Johansson — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

Erik Gustafsson — Trevor van Riemsdyk

Dmitry Orlov — Nick Jensen

Alexander Alexeyev — Martin Fehervary

Darcy Kuemper

Where, When, and How to Watch/Listen

Time: 7:00 PM

Where: Wells Fargo Center

Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, ESPN+

Radio: 97.5 FM

Live Stream: FuboTV

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