Whenever the Philadelphia Flyers (15-10-3) host the Washington Capitals (14-8-3), it makes for a spicy evening.
The Flyers finished a three-game road trip (2-0-1), while the Capitals began their four-game trip with a win in Chicago.
Philadelphia is on a six-game point streak, hoping to gain two instead of one in their first meeting versus Washington. They won’t face off again until 2024, on March 14th, in the District and back at the Wells Fargo Center on April 16th.
Last season, the Flyers finished 2-1-1 in the series versus the Capitals. Philadelphia (3rd) is ahead in the NHL Metropolitan Division standings, though Washington (4th) played three fewer games. ‘The Battle of I-95’ is always a favorite on the calendar within the Metropolitan ranks.
When: December 14th at 7:00pm
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Viewing: NBC Sports Philadelphia, 97.5 The Fanatic
Over the weekend, the Capitals accumulated momentum, aiming to stretch their winning streak to three games and point streak to four games. Shutting out the New York Rangers and defeating the Chicago Blackhawks back-to-back began a tough stretch for Washington.
Talk about exhaustion.
‘Important’ is an understatement when presenting what this contest represents. The Capitals are tied with two teams in the Metropolitan Division (NJD and CAR) before the puck drops on Broad Street.
Dylan Strome is one of the biggest contributors when the offense is clicking. He leads Washington in goal scoring (11), lighting the lamp on the Blackhawks.
Connor McMichael and Anthony Mantha contributed to the scoreboard over the last two games. McMichael is fifth on the team with 12 points (5G, 7A), and Mantha scored seven goals on the season, third on the Capitals.
Alex Ovechkin is in a goal-scoring slump. He only contributed five goals, three of which were empty-net markers and one powerplay score. He does lead Washington in point production (16), which shows he is finding other ways to keep active on the ice if he isn’t the one putting the puck in the back of the net the most often.
Spencer Carbery is experimenting with different lines to improve special teams. The Flyers house one of the finest penalty-kill units in the NHL, which presents a tall challenge for the Capitals, who rank at the bottom of the league on the powerplay, converting 8.2% of their advantages:
“We’re just experimenting with some different stuff. I don’t know if it’ll look like that. We want to get some reps in looking at some different things. Whether he’s [Ovechkin] in there tomorrow night, I couldn’t tell you; we’ll know tomorrow. We want to start to experiment with some of that stuff, whether it’s with Sandin’s unit, Carlson’s unit, [or] moving around a little bit. It’s something that I think is inevitable for our powerplay, and I’ve said this like a broken record since the beginning of the year; we have to make penalty kills’ second guess what’s going on, and what we’re trying to accomplish out there.”Spencer Carbery; 12/13/2023
Here’s the tentative lineup for the Washington Capitals:
Couturier was missed by Philadelphia last season, recovering from his recent back surgery. He looks like himself on the ice, playing a central role in a comeback attempt against the Nashville Predators, nearly scoring twice and earning an assist on the game-tying goal from Travis Sanheim. Couturier brings a six-game point streak into tonight’s battle.
Ersson had a solid night on Tuesday in Nashville until overtime. He’ll have a shot at redemption with Carter Hart out of the lineup due to illness. Ersson wanted that shot back in overtime, as the puck got caught on his pads, and only Filip Forsberg knew.
Nagging powerplay problems are proving to be a real thorn in the side. Philadelphia ranks 28th in the NHL at an 11.5% success rate. Don’t expect this one to be a blowout. It’ll come down to the wire.
Here’s the tentative lineup for the Philadelphia Flyers, per Kevin Kurz:
Place Your Bets (via DraftKings)
Philadelphia Flyers (-130)
Washington Capitals (+110)
Dylan Strome anytime goal (+210)
Sean Couturier under .5pt (+114)
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)