Weekly Flyers Preview: Mar. 3-9
After a successful start to March, the Flyers have a light week this week.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 vs. Washington Capitals (29-23-10, 68 points, 4th Metropolitan) 8:00, NBCSN
No need for reintroductions as the Flyers won the opener of the home-and-home between these two teams.
NHL leading scorer Alex Ovechkin was held off the scoresheet Sunday, but had three goals in two games last week, bringing his total to 43. He leads the eighth ranked offense, one that averages 2.84 goals per game.
In additiom to Ovechkin, the Flyers were able to keep Joel Ward (18 goals), Troy Brouwer (16) silent, as well of the trio of Nicklas Backstrom, Jason Chimera and Mikhail Grabovski, all of which have twelve goals.
In the loss to the Flyers, the Capitals got offense from unlikely sources, with Dmitry Orlov (three goals this season) scoring twice. Jay Beagle (three goals) and Marcus Johansson (eight) also scored in the game.
Braden Holtby (19-13-3, 2.94, .911) was in net Sunday, making 31 saves in the loss. However, the Capitals may opt to switch things up and put Michal Neuvirth (4-6-2, 2.82, .914) between the pipes.
Saturday, March 8, 2014 @ Toronto Maple Leafs (32-12-8, 72 points, 4th Atlantic) 7:00, CSN
As familiar as the Flyers are with Washington, they face an unfamiliar on Saturday. The Flyers have not faced Toronto since the opening night when they lost 3-1 to the Leafs.
Toronto has the tenth ranked offense (averaging 2.81 goals per game), led by American Olympians Phil Kessel (33 goals, 69 points) and James vanRiemsdyk (26 goals, 52 points). The center of that line, Tyler Bozak, has 12 goals and 35 points in 39 games.
Nazem Kadri (15 goals, 42 points) and Joffrey Lupul (18 goals, 36 points) have been a potent tag team this season and while Mason Raymond has scored 17 goals and 36 points. Big money free agent David Clarkson has been a huge disappointment, only scoring four goals in 42 games, but has done a good job defending his goaltender's water bottle.
The Leafs have had trouble keeping pucks out of their own net, as they allow three goals per game. That has not been Jonathan Bernier's fault, however. Bernier has been solid this season, winning 22 games this season. His goals against average of 2.62 is solid and has saved 92.4% of shots.
Toronto has the fifth best power play, scoring on 21.2% of man advantages. Kessel and vanRiemsdyk have combined for 17 of the team's 42 power play goals. On the flip side, the Leafs have the third worst penalty killing at 77.6%.
Weekly Expectation: 2 points
Since November 18, Dan has predicted Flyers points.
Realdeal: 54 points
Flyers: 53 points