The Flyers have been an absolute rollercoaster of a team so far this season. We’ve seen their highs and lows all within the first 24 games this season. The inconsistency has been their Achilles’ Heel, especially against some of the tougher opponents. Nonetheless, they now find themselves on the outside looking in for the ultra-competitive final playoff spot.
Philadelphia will look to get back within a point of that coveted fourth playoff spot as they face off against the Capitals in the fourth of eight meetings this season. Coverage will begin at 6:30 PM on NBC Sports Philadelphia, with puck drop slated for 7 pm. You can catch the game on NBC Sports Philadelphia or ESPN+. In front of their home fans, the Flyers are -115 money line favorites with the over/under sitting at an even six goals.
Flyers have cooled off
Back on the first meeting between these teams, the Flyers overcame Alex Ovechkin’s greatness. In this game, the Caps’ top line was hot, but the Flyers’ entire offense was red hot. Scott Laughton recorded a hat trick despite Ovi’s dangling and goalscoring.
Games two and three have been a different story. Their scheduled second meeting was postponed due to COVID-19, so these teams did not meet for almost an entire month. Heading into this stretch of games against one another, the Capitals smelled blood in the water and have capitalized. Last Sunday, fans were not welcomed back with the best gift, as Washington overcame a 1-0 deficit to win 3-1. Fast forward to Thursday night, and the story remained the same. Despite third-period efforts by Philadelphia, it wasn’t enough in the 5-3 loss.
- After being a healthy scratch last game, Phil Myers is expected to return to the Flyers’ lineup tonight.
- Michael Raffl was skating today but will remain out until further notice
- Brian Elliott is set to make the start tonight instead of Carter Hart
- Tom Wilson will be out, as he is serving game four of his seven-game suspension
- Lars Eller was a late scratch Thursday night, and is expected to remain out due to family matters
- Michal Kempny will remain out due to a lower body injury
Players to Watch:
On the season, Scott Laughton has terrorized the Washington Capitals. In three games so far, he’s scored four goals for the Flyers. Most recently, he scored a crucial goal to cut the deficit to one with about 10 minutes remaining in the game. Outside of games against Washington, though, Laughts has been a crucial asset to the Flyers’ success. Aside from his team-high +9 rating, when he produces, so does the team. They are 4-1 when he scores a goal, and 8-3 when he records a point. The versatile forward for Philadelphia will need to make his presence known tonight.
Jakub Vrana is oh-so dangerous for Washington when he’s on the ice against the Flyers. In his career, the Flyers are the team he has the most points against (11p in 15g). Just by the eye test, he’s easily recognizable no matter as he’s playing with high intensity and speed. Vrana has five goals and four assists over the last 10 games for Washington as well, which is among the team leaders. The speedy winger creates opportunities and generates points, which has led to the ultra-success of the Caps. When he records a point, they are 10-5 on the season. The Flyers will need to keep Vrana irrelevant for this game if they want any chance of winning.
Flyers Break the Caps’ Streak
Heading into this game, the Capitals are riding a two-game winning streak against the Flyers, three-game winning streak in general, and are 4-1 in their last five. The Flyers, on the other hand, are on a downward spiral. On winning two of their last five, and five of their last ten, this game almost feels like a must-win.
Only playing divisional opponents makes every single game important. However, this one just feels necessary. With Brian Elliott in the net, the Flyers will need to find a way to sneak out of this one with a win. After this, they’re hitting an 11-game stretch where they do not play a Pittsburgh-NYR-Boston. Riding momentum into that stretch, especially against the currently top-seeded Islanders will be crucial.
Flyers know this, and will squeak this one out. Call it a 5-2 Flyers’ victory.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre