GAME: Washington Capitals (17-30-5-2) at Philadelphia Flyers (26-12-11-5).
TIME: Wednesday, 7 p.m. EST.
Goalie Antero Nittymaki will make his NHL debut as the Philadelphia Flyers
host the Washington Capitals at the Wachovia Center.
Nittymaki is being forced into action because both Robert Esche (sprained
left knee) and Jeff Hackett (vertigo) are not available. The 23-year-old is a
second-year pro out of Finland. In 29 games with the Philadelphia Phantoms of
the American Hockey League, he has a 14-7-5 mark with a 2.14 goals-against
Injured in Monday's 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay, Esche underwent an MRI on Tuesday
that revealed a Grade 2 sprain of the medial collateral ligament. He is
expected to miss at least three weeks.
"You have to play hard no matter who's in goal," Flyers center Jeremy
Roenick said. "This is a chance for a young kid to make a statement. We should
appreciate that and give him all the opportunity we can to let him make a big
Holding a one-point lead over the New Jersey Devils in the Atlantic
Division, the Flyers had their five-game unbeaten streak (4-0-1) snapped with
Monday's loss to the Lightning.
Although they're missing their top two goalies, the Flyers have some good
news regarding their roster. Right win Tony Amonte returned Monday after
missing two games because of a sprained right knee, and Claude Lapointe was
cleared to return by the NHL on Tuesday after a month in the league's substance
abuse and behavioral health program.
The Capitals, last in the Southeast Division, have won three of four,
including Tuesday's 2-1 win over the Lightning. Anson Carter scored his first
goal since returning to Washington and Maxime Ouellet made 38 saves.
Carter added an assist, giving him four points in five games since he was
acquired in the salary-dumping trade that sent Jaromir Jagr to the New York
Rangers on Jan. 23.
"I've got a lot of pride, and I want to come here and help the Caps get
back in the playoffs," said Carter, who last played for Washington in 1997.
"Just because you get traded for a guy making a lot of money doesn't mean
you're going to forfeit anything."
Ouellet, recalled from Portland of the AHL on Monday, made his first start
for the Capitals since Jan. 4. His other victory was a 5-0 shutout at Atlanta
on Dec. 16.