Jan. 8 vs. Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Radio: Capitals Radio 24/7, 106.7 FAN
Washington Capitals 30-9-5
Philadelphia Flyers 22-15-6
The Caps head to Philadelphia where they'll face the Flyers on Wednesday in the second game in as many nights for both teams. This is the second of Washington's two visits to Philly this season, and the second game between the two Metro Division rivals in 2019-20. The Caps prevailed 2-1 in a shootout decision here on Nov. 13.
The Capitals carry a three-game winning streak with them to the City of Brotherly Love; Washington earned a 6-1 win over the visiting Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena, scoring six unanswered goals - all at even strength - after the Sens forged an early 1-0 lead. T.J. Oshie and Alex Ovechkin scored twice each to support Ilya Samsonov's 26-save night in the Washington nets as the Russian rookie improved to 12-2-1 on the season, winning his seventh straight start.
Perhaps most importantly, the Caps weren't overly taxed in the course of nailing down Tuesday's win over the Senators. Washington was tasked with only one penalty-killing mission in the victory over Ottawa, and it had no power plays of its own. Caps coach Todd Reirden was able to roll four lines and three pairs, and didn't need to concern himself with any of his players logging a lot of hard minutes.
Dmitry Orlov led all Caps defensemen with 21:24 in ice time, the lowest team-leading total from any of Washington's 44 games thus far this season. Ovechkin's 17:15 led the Caps forward corps, also a team low figure for a single game this season.
Video: Reirden Postgame | January 7
"Two things happened when we were going into the third [period]," says Reirden. "I didn't like the last time we were ahead by two goals in Carolina [last Friday]. We ended up winning, but it wasn't the way we wanted to play. So we talked about that going into the third, playing more to our identity throughout the game. And then we score a few quick goals.
"And we talked about setting ourselves up for that game [Wednesday in Philly] against a divisional opponent, and saving energy and doing things properly. Let's get good habits here, let's do things properly and again we get some offense right away from it, and Samsonov was excellent again. So things worked out, and now we're set to go to Philly and we're going to be taking the train here. We'll head there tonight, and be ready for [Wednesday] at 7:30."
Wednesday's game kicks off a stretch of five straight Metropolitan Division games for the Caps leading up to their bye week and the NHL's All-Star break. After taking on the Flyers, Washington will open up a three-game homestand that includes two games against New Jersey and one against Carolina. The Caps will then travel to Long Island for their final game before the break, a Jan. 18 Saturday matinee match against the Islanders.
The Flyers spent Tuesday night in Carolina, where they absorbed a 5-4 overtime loss at the hands of the Hurricanes. The Flyers took an early 1-0 lead on a Travis Konecny goal in the game's first minute, and they doubled that lead before the first period was halfway over. But Carolina scored the next four goals, and the Flyers needed a Travis Sanheim marker with 4:11 remaining in regulation to force overtime.
In the extra session, Carolina's Dougie Hamilton scored at the 1:56 mark, forcing the Flyers to settle for a single point. Veteran netminder Brian Elliott had the net for the Flyers on Tuesday in Raleigh, so the Capitals can expect to see Carter Hart between the pipes for Philly on Wednesday.
When Washington won here in Philly on Nov. 13, it ended a four-game Philadelphia winning streak. This time around, the Flyers will be dragging a four-game losing streak (0-3-1) into the game against the Caps.
Philadelphia ended a season-long six-game road trip on Tuesday in Raleigh, bringing home a 1-4-1 mark for the 12-day journey that took the Flyers through California, Arizona and Vegas before finally concluding in Carolina. The Flyers' lone win of the trip was a 2-1 overtime victory over the Ducks in Anaheim on Dec. 29.
Philly is still seeking its first victory of calendar 2020, and the Flyers were outscored by a combined 28-16 on their six-game journey. They're undoubtedly happy to be back home, where they own an impressive 13-2-4 record on the season. The Flyers have won four straight games on home ice, outscoring the opposition by a combined total of 19-6 in the process.