Game 1: FLYERS at CAPITALS
Eastern Conference First Round
7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, CSN-DC, CSN-PH
WASHINGTON -- The Philadelphia Flyers may have snuck into the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference on the last weekend of the regular season, but don't call them underdogs against the Washington Capitals.
"We're no different than any other team," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said Thursday at the morning skate prior to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Verizon Center. "We earned our way into this tournament over the last 82 games, and we didn't come here just to get here. We're not going to rest on just getting in. We're going to carry on what we've done over the entire 82 games but certainly our focus is continuing to elevate our game as we have the last 30 or 40 games."
Thursday is Hakstol's first NHL playoff game. He coached the University of North Dakota men's ice hockey team for 11 seasons before he was hired as coach of the Flyers in 2015.
"I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't excited about the opportunity, but that being said, I'm pretty relaxed going into Game 1 here," Hakstol said. "That adrenaline and that energy, those levels are going to be a little bit higher. I think you have to embrace that as you go into a playoff series, into any big game."
Video: SAP Round 1 Infographics Series Preview PHI WSH
Rookie Shayne Gostisbehere also will make his postseason debut after a regular season that included a 15-game scoring streak, which set a record for the longest scoring streak by a first-year defenseman in Flyers and NHL history.
"You'll have those little pregame nerves, but when the puck drops we'll be ready to go," Gostisbehere said. "Realizing you're in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time, it's a pretty cool feeling."
Washington held an optional morning skate Thursday and forward T.J. Oshie exercised his option. He was hit by a puck Wednesday and did not return to practice. Coach Barry Trotz would not comment on Oshie's status for Game 1.
"I'm not going to talk lineup during the playoffs," Trotz said. "I won't do that."
Goalie Steve Mason will start for the Flyers. Braden Holtby will start for the Capitals.
"It's going to be a war out there," Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky said. "I think even in the regular season, it's always a war against the Flyers. I can just imagine what it's going to be here. [The] Flyers are a heavy team that comes real hard. I think our whole team can stand up to them and give them a really good fight here."
Here are the projected lineups:
Jakub Voracek - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl - Sean Couturier - Brayden Schenn
Matt Read - Nick Cousins - Sam Gagner
Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Ryan White
Nick Schultz - Mark Streit
Andrew MacDonald - Shayne Gostisbehere
Brandon Manning - Radko Gudas
Injured: Michael Del Zotto (wrist)
Scratches: R.J. Umberger, Scott Laughton, Jordan Weal, Evgeny Medvedev
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams
Jason Chimera - Mike Richards - Marcus Johansson
Daniel Winnik - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - John Carlson
Nate Schmidt - Dmitry Orlov
Scratched: Mike Weber, Stanislav Galiev, Michael Latta, Taylor Chorney
Status update: The Capitals reassigned forward Zach Sill to Hershey of the American Hockey League on Monday.
Who's hot: Ovechkin has 70 points in 72 playoff games … Giroux led the Flyers in regular-season scoring with 67 points.