Skip to main content


Caps on a roll as Flyers come to town

by John Kreiser /

FLYERS (23-20-3) at CAPITALS (29-12-6)

Last 10 -- Philadelphia 7-2-1; Washington 6-4-0

Season series -- This is the fourth and final meeting between the Eastern Conference rivals this season. The first three games have featured plenty of scoring -- Philadelphia won 6-5 in overtime at home on Oct. 6, Washington beat the Flyers 4-2 at the VerizonC enter three weeks later and 8-2 in Philadelphia on Dec. 5.

Big story -- What a difference a few weeks can make. The Caps came to Philadelphia on Dec. 5 and destroyed the reeling Flyers 8-2 in Peter Laviolette's first game as coach. But the Flyers have rebounded from that debacle -- the lowlight of a 3-13-1 stretch -- by going 8-2-1 in their last 11 games. They had their four-game winning streak ended by a 4-0 loss in Toronto on Thursday, but they're nothing like the team the Caps embarrassed six weeks ago.

Team Scope:

Flyers -- About the only thing that's the same since the teams met is the uniforms the Flyers are wearing. It took Philadelphia a couple of weeks to get used to Laviolette's system, but since a 2-1 win over the Islanders on Dec. 23 they've been among the NHL's hottest teams.

That's what made the loss at Toronto so atypical of their recent play.

"I don't think that's the game we've been playing the last two, three weeks," goalie Michael Leighton said. "You can't win them all, and we're just going to have to bounce back the next game."

Capitals -- Alex Ovechkin sat out the last meeting between the teams due to a suspension, but he's been on a tear over the last couple of weeks. Ovechkin scored once and set up four more goals on Friday in Washington's 6-1 win over Toronto.

The five points matched a career-best for Ovechkin, who had the first four-assist night of his career. The Caps have averaged more than five goals a game in their last six games.

"He enjoys the team scoring goals," coach Bruce Boudreau said of Ovechkin. "Whether he gets an assist or whether he gets nothing, when the team does well, he does well."

Who's hot -- Flyers captain Mike Richards has 3 goals and 6 points in his last five games. … Ovechkin, the NHL leader in points per game with 1.6, has 3 goals and 9 assists for 12 points in his last five games.

Injury report -- Flyers defenseman Danny Syvret is on the long-term injured reserve with a Grade 3 shoulder separation, suffered in the first period of Tuesday's game against Dallas. He's expected to miss a month. Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, who hadn't played since Nov. 7 due to a concussion and a knee injury, took his place on Thursday. … Capitals rookie goalie Semyon Varlamov (groin) is still on injured reserve, while defenseman John Erskine is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Stat pack -- After going 9 of 19 (47.4 percent) on the power play in the previous five games, the Flyers were 0-for-4 against the Maple Leafs. … Ovechkin had two goals in Philadelphia's last visit to the Verizon Center and has 18 in 18 career games against the Flyers.

Puck drop -- The Caps have been dominant at the VerizonCenter, winning three straight and eight of nine. They own the Eastern Conference's best home record to 15-3-3. The Flyers had a couple of defensive breakdowns against Toronto, and that's something they can't afford against a team averaging 3.7 goals per game -- nearly half a goal more than anyone else in the NHL.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.