Skip to main content

Ovechkin-less Capitals drop in on Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

CAPITALS (5-7-0) at FLYERS (3-8-0)


Last 10: Washington 4-6-0; Philadelphia 3-7-0

Season series: This is the first of five games this season between the teams, who are in the same division again for the first time since sharing the Patrick Division from 1979-93 and the Atlantic Division from 1993-98. The Philadelphia Flyers won two of three games between the teams last season, including both meetings at Wells Fargo Center.

Big story: The Washington Capitals will be without captain Alex Ovechkin and his 10 goals; he is nursing an upper-body injury suffered Monday against the Vancouver Canucks. It's not believed to be overly serious and there's a chance Ovechkin could be back in the lineup Saturday when the Capitals host the Florida Panthers.

Team Scope:

Capitals: With Ovechkin out, Washington coach Adam Oates had Eric Fehr at right wing on the team's top line, skating alongside center Nicklas Backstrom and left wing Martin Erat. Marcus Johansson, usually the left wing on the top line, was shifted to the second line, where he was skating with Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer.

Fehr has one goal in 12 games this season, but has averaged just 12:05 of ice time. Skating in a top-six role could bring a boost to his ice time and his production.

However, there's little chance he can bring his play to anything approaching the level of Ovechkin, who has 10 of the team's 32 non-shootout goals this season.

"I think he has what, 30 percent of our team's goals?" Brouwer told "So anytime you miss a player like that it's pretty detrimental. We're going into a building that's tough to go into and against a team that has a lot of offensive weapons. We've got to find ways to keep them off the scoreboards before we go on the offensive."

Flyers: Saying he wanted to "stir the pot," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren on Thursday acquired Steve Downie from the Colorado Avalanche for Maxime Talbot.

Downie has one goal in 11 games, but Holmgren feels there's more offensive upside with Downie, and for a team that is averaging 1.82 goals per game, every little bit helps.

"We felt we needed something to stir the pot and I think Steve is going to help us in that regard," Holmgren said. "… Steve's a good player, a better player than maybe people give him credit for. He's strong on the puck, can make a lot of plays. I'm not sure how [coach Craig Berube] will play him. We'll get him in there [Friday] and I think he can add a lot to our team."

Downie played right wing on the Avalanche's top line with Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly. He could replace Michael Raffl at left wing on the Flyers' top line and skate with Claude Giroux and Vincent Lecavalier.

Who's hot: The Capitals' line of Jason Chimera, Mikhail Grabovski and Joel Ward has combined for five goals and five assists in the past three games. … Flyers forward Vincent Lecavalier has four of his five goals this season in the past two games.

Injury report: In addition to Ovechkin, the Capitals are missing defensemen John Erskine (upper body) and Jack Hillen (leg). … The Flyers are fielding a healthy team.


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.