Nov. 13 vs. Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Radio: Capitals Radio 24/7, 106.7 FAN
Washington Capitals 13-2-4
Philadelphia Flyers 10-5-2
The Caps take some time out from their home-heavy November slate and their Western Conference- and Atlantic Division-laden early season schedule for a trip up I-95 to renew acquaintance with the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night. The game is just the fourth Metro Division match for the Caps in 20 games this season, and it breaks a run of 10 straight games against Western or Atlantic foes.
Washington comes into Wednesday's game on the heels of a 4-3 shootout loss at the hands of the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night in the District. The Caps were down 3-0 early in the second period of that game, but they rallied to force overtime and claim a point. Nine of the 30 standings points Washington has garnered to date have come in games in which they trailed by two or more goals at one point.
The Caps have amassed those 30 points in just 19 games, despite the fact that they have yet to face any of the league's seven worst teams thus far this season. The combined record of Washington's opponents to date is 150-91-42, which would translate to a 99-point season if one single club were to play at that pace over a full 82-game schedule.
Video: Caps 365 | November 12
"Obviously our record speaks for itself with what we've done to start the year," says Caps coach Todd Reirden. "I'm really proud of the guys; they've never quit in any game, and we've had a lot of really competitive games that have gone back and forth. We play right to the very end.
"We're just really a good team when we manage the puck and we force the other team to make mistakes. When we play a quick game, and we're going north with it, then we're difficult to defend against. There just wasn't enough of that in the first two periods [on Monday], and we gave [the Coyotes] some offense."
In scraping a point from Monday's game, the Caps extended their point streak to 12 straight games (10-0-2). The Arizona game was the second of those dozen games in which Washington never led at any point of the contest.
"But like I said," reiterates Reirden, "major credit to our team and to our leaders and [goaltender Ilya] Samsonov as well for sticking in there, and giving ourselves a chance to get points out of the game, and we were able to."
In each of their last two comebacks to claim points - on Monday against Arizona and on Oct. 25 against the Canucks in Vancouver - the Caps rallied from more than two goals down. They trailed Monday's game 3-0 early in the second, and they were down 5-1 late in the second period before overcoming the Canucks by a 6-5 count in a shootout.
"We have the confidence in the room, and the ability to play a variety of different games," says Caps right wing Tom Wilson. "And when we're down, we believe in the skill and the offensive ability to get back in games.
Video: Locker Room | November 12
"It's a cool feeling to never be out of a game, but it's also one you don't want to play. It's kind of like playing with fire; you want to make sure that you're playing the right way throughout the whole game, and as the year goes on, it gets harder and harder to come back. Teams get better at closing out games, and you don't want to make it a habit."
Despite the Caps' torrid stretch of nearly a month in duration, they haven't put a lot of distance between themselves and the teams immediately behind them in the Metropolitan Division standings, including the Flyers. Along with the Pacific Division, the Metro is one of two of the league's four divisions to boast five teams with 21 or more points going into Tuesday night's busy slate of NHL activity.
Washington has played more games (19) than any other club in the division, so the other seven Metro occupants all have a game or more in hand on the Caps. The New York Islanders have been as hot as Washington, and if the Isles were to win their three games in hand on Washington, they would actually move into first place in the Metro, one point ahead of the Capitals.
The Flyers enter Wednesday's game with a four-game winning streak, and an impressive 7-2-1 mark in their last 10 games. Philadelphia has also been strong on the Wells Fargo Center surface, winning six of eight home games (6-1-1) and collecting points in seven of eight. Three of the Flyers' 10 wins this season have come in the shootout; they lead the league in shootout victories.
Philly started the season in Prague with a win over Chicago, and it won its home opener over New Jersey upon returning. A four-game losing streak (0-3-1) followed, but the Flyers have righted the ship since. Philadelphia is 8-2-1 in its last 11 games, and it has a six-game point streak (5-0-1) in which five of the six games have required more than 60 minutes to determine a winner. All three of its shootout wins, an overtime win and a shootout loss have come in those last six contests.