The Washington Capitals look to keep rolling as they host the struggling Philadelphia Flyers Saturday.
Washington’s 14-game home-ice winning streak is on the line, and they can continue to assert their dominance and elongate their lead over the rest of the NHL. Philadelphia is 4-6-0 in their last 10 games, but has won two consecutive matchups and looks to spoil the Capitals’ impressive stretch.
With the Flyers four points out of a playoff spot, they will surely have a lot to bring to the table as they face the top team in the league.
Philadelphia at Washington Capitals
Verizon Center- 7:30 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – CSNMA, CSNP
2016-17 Season Series:
Dec. 21- Capitals 2 Flyers 3 (SO)
Jan. 15 – Flyers 0 Capitals 5
Feb. 22 – Capitals 4 Flyers 1
Washington Capitals – 43-13-7, 93 Points
Home Record: 26-5-1
Hot Players: Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie
Key Injuries: Andre Burakovsky
Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Justin Williams
Brett Connolly-Lars Eller-Jakub Vrana
Daniel Winnik-Jay Beagle-Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner-John Carlson
Dmitri Orlov- Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik-Kevin Shattenkirk
Philadelphia Flyers – 30-26-7, 67 Points
Away Record: 11-16-3
Hot Players: Jakub Voracek, Brayden Schenn, Shayne Gostisbehere
Key Injuries: Michael Raffl
Jordan Weal-Claude Giroux-Wayne Simmonds
Brayden Schenn-Valtteri Filppula-Jakub Voracek
Nick Cousins-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
Chris VandeVelde-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare-Matt Read
Ivan Provorov-Andrew MacDonald
Shayne Gostisbehere-Nick Schultz
Michael Del Zotto-Radko Gudas
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie are both finding their strides. They both have points in four of their last five games and have been critical contributors to the team’s offense of late. Oshie will skate on the top line with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. In recent weeks, Washington has tried players like Brett Connolly and Tom Wilson in that spot. However, Oshie has shown chemistry with Ovechkin and Backstrom and has had good practices, which should translate to better play on that top unit.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]Brayden Schenn is riding an impressive six-game winning streak, and has seven points over that span. The 25-year-old was previously struggling from a five-game scoreless drought and seemed to finally find his touch. He has looked good on the second line LW, and will likely be an important asset if the team wants to find offense against the Capitals.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]Kevin Shattenkirk will remain on the bottom pairing with Brooks Orpik. Both compliment each other nicely due to their differing styles of play, as Shattenkirk contributes offensively and Orpik is more of a stay-at-home, physical blueliner. Washington’s newest defenseman has also been getting minutes on the Capitals top power-play unit, so expect him to be an asset on the man advantage, as he works on the point opposite Alex Ovechkin.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]Valterri Filppula scored in his debut with the Flyers in Thursday’s win over the Panthers. The 32-year-old center is expected to take over top six duties, and will be vital to providing the Flyers with more offense as they push for a playoff spot.
Sammi Silber covers the Capitals beat for The Hockey Writers and is an NHL contributor with Sporting News. She has also contributed to USA TODAY College, Huffington Post, FanSided and the Nation Network. Silber has written four books and recently worked on graphics for the film, The California Golden Seals Movie.