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Capitals at Flyers preview

Ovechkin leads Washington, NHL with nine goals; Philadelphia set for home opener

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

CAPITALS (3-1-1) at FLYERS (2-2-0)

7 p.m. ET; NBCSP, NBCSWA, NHL.TV

 

The Game

The Washington Capitals will try for their second straight win when they play the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday.

The Capitals defeated the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Friday to end a two-game losing streak (0-1-1). Forward Alex Ovechkin scored his League-best ninth goal of the season in Washington's fifth game; it took him 18 games to reach nine goals last season, when he finished with 33 goals, the least he has had in a full NHL season since 2010-11, when he scored 32.

Washington will be without defenseman Matt Niskanen, who was placed on long-term injured reserve Saturday because of an upper-body injury.

The Flyers will play their first game at home after starting the season with four straight on the road. They're the last Eastern Conference team to play its home opener.

 

Players to watch

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom had four points (one goal, three assists) against the Devils, and has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) during a four-game point streak. 

Forward Jakub Voracek leads the Flyers with six points and is second with 11 shots on goal, but has yet to score a goal in four games.

 

They said it

"It's been pretty surreal. I was at home getting ready to shut it down for bed and get ready for a game against Belleville in the [American Hockey League] today. Got the call [Friday] and it's definitely a dream come true so far. Been a whirlwind so far and I think it's just going to get better from here for sure." -- Capitals defenseman Madison Bowey, who will make his NHL debut Saturday

"If there's some jitters or adrenaline that first couple shifts, that's to be expected. I'm confident those guys will settle in and play the way they play." -- Flyers coach Dave Hakstol on rookies Nolan Patrick, Robert Hagg and Travis Sanheim, who each will play in his first NHL home opener

 

Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Jakub Vrana

Andre Burakovsky -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Tom Wilson

Alex Chiasson -- Jay Beagle -- Devante Smith-Pelly

Dmitry Orlov -- John Carlson 

Brooks Orpik -- Aaron Ness

Christian Djoos -- Madison Bowey

Philipp Grubauer 

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Nathan Walker, Tyler Graovac, Taylor Chorney

Injured: Matt Niskanen (upper body)

 

Flyers projected lineup

Claude Giroux -- Sean Couturier -- Jakub Voracek

Jordan Weal -- Valtteri Filppula -- Wayne Simmonds

Dale Weise -- Nolan Patrick -- Travis Konecny

Taylor Leier -- Scott Laughton -- Michael Raffl

Ivan Provorov -- Andrew MacDonald

Shayne Gostisbehere -- Robert Hagg

Travis Sanheim -- Radko Gudas

Brian Elliott

Michal Neuvirth

Scratched: Brandon Manning, Jori Lehtera

Injured: None

 

Status report

Bowey, who was recalled from Hershey of the American Hockey League on Saturday, will start the game paired with Djoos. They were a defense pairing most of last season with Hershey. ... Elliott will start his fourth game. … Each team held an optional morning skate.

 

Stat pack

Ovechkin is one of four players with nine goals in his team's first five games of a season since 1967-68, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The others are forward Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders in 1984-85, center Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1988-89, and center Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks in 2012-13. … Filppula will play in his 800th NHL game. 

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