A Battle in the City of Brotherly Love: Washington Capitals vs Philadelphia Flyers

Washington Capitals (13-2-4) vs Philadelphia Flyers (10-5-2)

 

 Predicted Goaltender Record GAA / SV% / # SO
Washington CapitalsBraden Holtby8-1-33.25 / .898% / 0
Philadelphia FlyersCarter Hart6-3-12.71 / .893% / 1

 

The Washington Capitals made the short drive up to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to take on the Flyers before heading right back to DC to face the Canadiens on Friday. Despite dropping their last game versus the Arizona Coyotes, the Capitals have not lost in regulation since mid-October, and are riding a 12-game point streak, of which they’ve picked up at least one point (TheScore, Washington Capitals). The last time the Capitals played the Flyers was back in March, where they defeated Philadelphia 3-1 at Wells Fargo Center.

The Washington Capitals lost 4-3 in the shootout to the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night. With just two wins in their last six games, Arizona played desperate. Clayton Keller of the Coyotes started off the scoring at the 14:15 mark of the first period, establishing a 1-0 lead. Each team received a power play in the first period, but neither the Caps nor the Coyotes converted. To start the second, Christian Fisher scored his first goal of the season, a goal that, much to the surprise of fans in attendance, would be reviewed, and ultimately ruled as a good goal. Just 30 seconds later, on what seemed to be the Coyotes 100th breakaway of the game thus far (hyperbole), Michael Grabner scored, adding to Arizona’s already-cushy lead. Just by looking at the score, it would be easy to assume that rookie goal-tender Ilya Samsonov was exclusively at fault for the three goals by the Coyotes, but fatal defensive breakdowns and falling behind plays directly led to each goal. Swallowed whistles by the referees allowed Arizona to take advantage of missed calls, and the Capitals suffered. Evgeny Kuznetsov would score the Capitals’ first goal of the game at the 8:47 mark of the second, re-instilling some of the hope that Caps’ fans had seemed to lose. The Capitals would receive a late second period power play, but did not score in the last 30 seconds of the period, or the first 1:30 of the final frame. Kuznetsov would score his second of the game two minutes and 23 seconds into the third period, bringing the game within reach for the first time of the night. Washington held the Coyotes to just 6 shots on goal in the third, and Samsonov stopped all six. With under a minute and a half remaining, and the Caps’ down by one, TJ Oshie would score the game-tying goal, his 9th of the season. Capital One Arena exploded, and the fans broke out into chants of ‘TJ OSHIE! *clap clap clap*’, as it seemed that Washington truly could complete another monumental comeback. For the 5th time in 8 games, extra time would be required. Just over halfway through the overtime period, TJ Oshie scored his second of the night, a goal that fans and teammates alike believed to be the overtime game winning goal. Exuberant joy that was, after what seemed like an eternity, fleeting. Officials determined that the preceding play was off-sides, and thus the goal was overturned. The remainder of the overtime period expired, and now an individual skills competition would be what decided the winner and the loser. At that moment, the Capitals’ fate was all but sealed. Although the Capitals had won their last shootout, Arizona had too, and backup goaltender Antti Raanta stopped nearly every shot he faced. Shootout hero TJ Oshie missed his shot, and Nick Schmaltz made his. Evgeny Kuznetsov missed, and Conor Garland was then the one to win it for Arizona. Ilya Samsonov stopped 32 of 35 shots faced, excluding shootout attempts, ending the night with a .914 save percentage (TheScore, ARI @ WSH). The Capitals are hoping to come back from the loss tonight, and Braden Holtby is expected to start.

The Philadelphia Flyers are riding a four-game win streak, after defeating the Boston Bruins on Sunday. Their second consecutive shootout win came on the second night of a back-to-back, where the night prior they had defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in a shootout. This was Philadelphia’s third consecutive game requiring extra time. Interestingly enough, each of those three wins came from 3-2 victories. This is the first time that Washington will play against former defenseman Matt Niskanen after trading him for Radko Gudas in the off-season. Niskanen, the only Stanley Cup champion on the Flyers’ roster, has established himself as a difference-maker for Philadelphia, scoring two goals of his own, and tallying six assists through 17 games (NHL.com). The Flyers are 6-1-1 at home, and boast the second-best face-off percentage (yes, again) at 54% of all face-offs taken (TheScore, Philadelphia Flyers). In their game versus the Bruins, Philadelphia actually established a two-goal lead in the first period that would hold until the six-minute mark of the third period. Travis Konecny scored his 8th of the season just short of the 14-minute mark of the first and Phillipe Myers, his 3rd at the 17:56 mark. Konecny leads the team with 19 points, and is tied with Oskar Lindblom for most goals with eight (TheScore, Philadelphia Flyers). Three of Lindbloms’ goals and two of Konecnys’ have come on Philadelphia power plays. Flyers’ veterans Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier have just 9 goals between the two of them. Only three penalties were called in all of regulation, and neither team converted on their respective power plays. Danton Heinen would score Bostons’ first goal of the night six minutes into the final frame, and everyone’s favorite Brad Marchand scored the game-tying goal, his 11th of the season, at the 12:22 mark of the third. The overtime period saw a power play for the Flyers, but would expire with 2 shots on goal by Philadelphia, and one by Boston. Flyers rookie Joel Farabee, in his 2nd shootout appearance, would ultimately win the game in the shootout for Philadelphia. Both teams were held to less than 30 shots throughout the entire game, and Carter Hart tallied his 6th win of the season, stopping 26 of 28 shots faced, excluding the shootout (TheScore, PHI @ BOS). Hart is expected to start versus the Capitals tonight.

Carl Hagelin did not practice yesterday, and did not travel with the team to Philadelphia. He is still listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury, but speculation is mounting regarding if and when he will return to the lineup. Philadelphia will be without Scott Laughton (DL-finger), Samuel Morin (OUT-knee), and Nolan Patrick (IR-NR-head).

Coverage of the game begins at 6:30pm with Caps Faceoff Live, followed by Caps Pregame Live at 7:00pm, all on NBCSN/NBCSWA, with puck drop shortly after 7:30pm.

 

 

References:

NHL.com. (2019). Matt Niskanen Stats & News. Retrieved from https://www.nhl.com/player/matt-niskanen-8471702.

TheScore. (2019). Arizona Coyotes @ Washington Capitals. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/events/21996.

TheScore. (2019). Philadelphia Flyers @ Boston Bruins. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/events/21993.

TheScore. (2019). Philadelphia Flyers News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/9.

TheScore. (2019). Washington Capitals News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/15.

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