Game Day: Flyers / Capitals
For the Flyers this is the second game of a back to back. They play three sets of back to backs in the month of November and 16 sets this season.
The Flyers won their sixth in a row last night by beating the New York Islanders 2-1 in a game the Flyers did not take the final lead until Andreas Nodl scored with 5:25 left in the third period. If it were not for Sergei Bobrovsky's spectacular play last night the outcome almost certainly would have been different.
With that win last night the Flyers moved ahead of the Caps by one point to take over first place in the Eastern Conference.
When the Washington Capitals take on the Flyers tonight it will be the last game of their current three game homestand. The Caps are currently on a three game winning streak and look to make it four against the Flyers tonight.
The Flyers have an overall record of 95-69-19 and are just shy of a five hundred record in Washington, they are 38-39-13.
The last time these two teams met was in Washington on Jan. 17,2010 where the Caps beat the Flyers 5-3.The last time the Flyers beat the Caps was in Philly on Oct.6,2009 6-5 in an OT shootout.
Both these teams are atop of their respective divisions and are only separated by one point in the Eastern Conference. Washington has not been good in the first period this season and have been outscored 13-5 so far, but they have been better from the second period on outscoring its opponents 38-19 in those periods.
Heading into last night's game the Flyers ranked 11th in the power play with a 19% success rate. On the flip side they are seventh in the league in penalty killing at 87.7%. They also rank 20th in the NHL in face-off winning percentage at 49.5.
The Capitals rank 13th in the league on the power play at 18.4%. They are 10th in the NHL in penalty killing at 86.2% and are 21st in the league in face-offs at 49%. Looks like these two teams matchup pretty close on special teams and the team that is better in that area tonight will probably win this game.
These two teams have been involved in twelve trades together and the one trade that will have an impact on tonight's game took place on June 20,2008.
That trade saw the Flyers send the Capitals a first round pick (John Carlson) in the 2008 draft for Steve Eminger and a 2008 third rounder (Jacob Deserres).We saw Steve Eminger on the Rangers the other night as he didn't last long in Philly and was dealt to Tampa for Matt Carle.
The book is still out on Deserres as he is a young goalie in the Flyers system. John Carlson will be on your tv screen tonight as he is a defensemen on the Caps and has two goals and eight points this season.
On The Lookout
Not knowing what roster moves Laviolette will make for this game as Briere is back from his three game suspension tonight is something that will be intriguing.
Does he send JVR down or just keep scratching him ? Does he send Wellwood down because he is a rookie and would be the easy choice ? Maybe he scratches one of Carcillo or Shelley and sends JVR down .
There are some options here for the coach and it will be interesting to see what direction he takes. That being said Claude Giroux is still making plays when he is on the ice. Leino looked good at times last night controlling the puck.
Richards has been steadily picking up points on this six game winning streak.Look for Briere to pick up where he left off before his suspension as he was on fire. The defense has been real steady and been doing their share in the shot blocking area.
For the Caps you always have to be aware of Alex Ovechkin whenever he is on the ice as he leads the team in scoring with 17 points. Alexander Semin has 14 points and Niklas Backstrom has 12 points.
Also keep an eye on the Caps defense as they have been scoring lately as they combined for three goals and five points against the Bruins on Friday. Mike Green and John Carlson lead the way both with eight points.
Well the Flyers will have to play a better game than they did last night against the Isles if they want to extend this winning streak to seven. The Flyers can't disappear for two periods against the Caps or they will be in for a long evening.
Special teams will be a key in this game, so playing disciplined is a must. Someone will have to shadow Ovie when he is on the ice and not leave him open for a second or he will make them pay.
The Flyers Defense will have to continue their strong play and continue to play stingy hockey. There is no reason to believe Bobrovsky won't get the start tonight. He has already started back to back games this season so that should not be a factor in Lavy's decision.
The Flyers have to do a better job when they get the man advantage tonight as the power play can be a momentum changer in a game.
#31 Pelle Linbergh
I will never forget where I was when I heard the tragic news of Pelle Linberg's Death. The promising young Swedish goaltender was killed in a car accident in which he was driving under the influence.
With the Flyers goalie situation over the years I often wondered what it would have been like for Pelle and the Flyers if that night never happened.Here is a great article with player interviews and their memories of Pelle and the night of the accident. Remembering Pelle.
Step Up Players
Briere, Coburn, Carter