Last Dance - The Caps and Flyers meet up on Friday night in the District for one last preseason tilt before the real deal rolls around next week. The two teams met last Saturday in Philadelphia with the Flyers prevailing by a 3-1 count.
Washington opens its regular season at home on Wednesday against the New York Rangers while the Flyers open up at home with a four-game homestand, beginning with a visit from Vancouver a week from tonight.
Show Biz Kids - Rookie centers Connor McMichael and Hendrix Lapierre have both turned in excellent training camp and exhibition showings this fall, which is fortunate for the Caps given that veteran pivot Nicklas Backstrom has missed all of camp.
With most of the team's regular lineup assembled for the last two preseason games, McMichael got a look in the middle of a line with Conor Sheary and T.J. Oshie on Wednesday in Boston, and Lapierre will get that same opportunity with those same two veteran wingers tonight against the Flyers.
It's within the realm of possibility that both players forge berths for themselves when Washington's opening night roster is submitted to NHL offices ahead of the 5 p.m. Monday night deadline, a scenario that could unfold if the Caps opt to place Backstrom on long term injured reserve.
Either way, it's been exciting to see Washington's two most recent first-rounders showing well this fall, and it's been good to see the team's veteran core helping them along as training camp has worn on.
"I think when you're a young kid at 18 or 19 years old, you want to come in and make an impact," says Caps right wing Tom Wilson. "I had some advice from some old school guys back then, who told me, 'Come in, have three fights and three goals and you'll make the team.'
"I had played in [Stanley Cup] playoff games, but I still needed to come in the next year and make the team. I was close to that [three fights and three goals] and you just try to do whatever you can to get noticed with so many good players on the ice. It's fun to look back on that a little bit and see what the young guys are going through now and showing off their skills and their game.
"And for the veteran guys, you want to get your legs under you, you want to start feeling good come game five or six of the preseason, so that you're feeling your best for game one [of the regular season]."
Video: Two-Man Advantage | October 8
In The Nets - Ilya Samsonov makes his second start of the preseason tonight against the Flyers, and his first start since last Saturday in Philly against them. Samsonov suffered a lower body injury in that game, an ailment that kept him off the ice for a couple of days early this week.
Washington's plan to split the last four preseason starts between Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek worked out in the end, with Vanecek manning the crease for the middle two contests of the four, at New Jersey and Boston on Monday and Wednesday of this past week, respectively. Zach Fucale will back up Samsonov tonight.
For the Flyers, Martin Jones gets the net tonight. He faced the Caps last week in Philly, picking up the 3-1 victory with a 21-save effort.
All Lined Up - Here's how we believe the Caps and Flyers might line up for Friday's preseason finale:
8-Ovechkin, 92-Kuznetsov, 43-Wilson
39-Mantha, 20-Eller, 10-Sprong
73-Sheary, 29-Lapierre, 77-Oshie
47-Malenstyn, 26-Dowd, 21-Hathaway
28-Giroux, 14-Couturier, 11-Konecny
86-Farabee, 19-Brassard, 89-Atkinson
23-Lindblom, 21-Laughton, 25-J. van Riemsdyk
47-Wilson, 44-Thompson, 62-Aube-Kubel