Flyers Look to Carry Momentum Against Caps
Philadelphia Flyers (14-17-1) vs Washington Capitals (16-17-1)
Wells Fargo Center — Philadelphia, PA
6:00 p.m. on CSN and 97.5 FM The Fanatic
Setting the Stage
This is the third and final meeting between these two teams. They split the season series so far, with the Caps winning in Washington, 3-2, back on February 1 and the Flyers taking the second game in their arena, 4-1 on February 27.
Both teams played yesterday. The Flyers won 3-1 over Boston and the Capitals came from behind to beat the Sabres 4-3 in a shoot-out.
Believe it or not, the Flyers are only four points behind the Rangers for 8th place in the Conference despite still resting in 14th place. Washington is only a point behind the Rangers. New York does not play today.
What to Expect
The Flyers were a different hockey team yesterday. They were desperate for a win, especially with the adversity they faced with injuries and their place in the standings. They came out firing against the Bruins and took two important wins from Boston.
Washington has won four of their last five games and are getting hot at the right time. Alex Ovechkin has turned it on, and now has 17 goals and 16 assists for 33 points, second only to Mike Ribeiro's 35 points (11 goas, 24 assists).
The Masked Men
Ilya Bryzgalov has made 17 straight starts and could make his 18th straight today. He's started 32 games this season, the most in hockey. He stopped 32 shots yesterday to beat Boston, lowering his GAA to 2.77 and raising his save percentage to a .902.
Braden Holtby will get the start for the Capitals this evening. Holtby is having a strong season, posting a 2.67 GAA and .927 save percentage. When he's hot, he has the ability to steal games.
Keys to the Game
1. Rinaldo. The last time these two teams met up, Zac Rinaldo was all over Alex Ovechkin like acne on a teen. If Rinaldo can play the pest role well (had 12 hits against Boston yesterday) it could knock the offensive-minded Caps off their game plan.
2. Pressure. The Flyers put a lot of pressure on Tuukka Rask, forcing the Bruins netminder to stand on his head a few times and keep his team in the game. Holtby is no Rask. Get pressure on the kid and the bounces could go their way.
3. Special Teams. The Flyers (24.8%) and Capitals (24.1%) boast the top two power play units. The Flyers have converted their last five power play chances. The team that stays out of the box the most will have the advantage.
“No, this is our team. We win together. We lose together. We fight for each other, like we did tonight. It was a good job. Everyone stepping in for [Claude Giroux] there, and that’s what got me going. Especially with everyone backing each other up, we need more of that." -- Zac Rinaldo on not giving up.