Capitals vs Flyers : The Flyers are riding a five-game point streak (4-0-1) and are seven points back of the wild card. They recently picked up five of a possible six points (2-0-1) on a three-game Metropolitan road trip, culminating with a huge 4-1 win over the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Sunday.
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It took 67 games into the regular season, but the Stanley Cup champions finally play their first game at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers (32-26-8, 72 points) and Capitals (38-21-7, 83 points) will get to know each other quite well over the next several weeks with three games over a span of 19 days.
Since losing to the Capitals, 5-3, in their only meeting so far this season on Jan. 8, the Flyers own a 17-4-2 record.
Let’s take a look at Wednesday night’s essentials.
• When: 7:30 p.m. ET
• Where: Wells Fargo Center
• Broadcast: NBCSN
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
• The Flyers begin the night seven points back of the Montreal Canadiens for the final wild-card position in the Eastern Conference.
The Flyers are 6-2-1 this season when they generate 40 or more shots on net. One of those two losses came against the Capitals with the other against the Penguins on Feb. 11.
Nolan Patrick will be a game-time decision after taking a puck to the back of the head in the first period of Sunday’s 4-1 win at Nassau Coliseum. A cut to Patrick’s head required six stitches to close. The Flyers’ center felt a little woozy and did not return to the game, but participated in Wednesday’s morning skate.
I felt pretty good. I’ve never taken a shot off my head. It went through the back of my earpiece. That’s the first time that’s ever happened, just trying to get my blocked shot totals up a little bit.
• In his six appearances since returning from injury, Brian Elliott has been stellar with a 3-0-1 record, a 2.28 GAA and .936 save percentage.
Right winger Jakub Voracek will miss his second straight game with a lower-body injury. Prior to this season, Voracek had played the full slate in five of the past six seasons. The last time Voracek missed extensive time was for a foot injury in February 2016 that forced him to miss nine games.
• Defenseman Travis Sanheim comes into Wednesday with a five-game point streak with four goals and two assists.
In Sanheim’s first 31 games under Dave Hakstol, he had just 10 points while averaging 16:06 TOI. However, under interim head coach Scott Gordon, Sanheim has seen his role expand with 19 points and 21:22 TOI in his last 35 games.
• Goaltender Carter Hart took the morning skate with his teammates, but will not dress against the Capitals. Gordon said Tuesday he doesn’t believe Hart will be ready for the March 9 game against the Islanders.
• After scoring March 1 against the Islanders, Alex Ovechkin became the first player in NHL history with 10 45-goal seasons, topping Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy’s nine.
Ovechkin can also become the first player ever to finish atop the goal-scoring race eight times in his career, as he’s currently tied with Bobby Hull.
• Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby is currently one win shy of 250 career victories. If he beats the Flyers, Holtby would become the second-fastest to reach that mark in 409 games, trailing only Ken Dryden, who needed just 381 games. Coming off a victory over the New York Islanders in their last contest, the Philadelphia Flyers faced yet another Metro Division foe in the Washington Capitals.
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Brian Elliott received the start from Interim Head Coach Scott Gordon and opposed Braden Holtby. Holtby entered the matchup with a 2.94 Goals-Against Average and a .909 save percentage in 47 games seen thus far. The Flyers had to mimic their offensive performances of late, going up against a Capitals team who struggles defensively at times.
Washington brought a good amount of pressure to start the game, eventually turning it into a goal from Tom Wilson. Wilson shot a puck right passed Elliott in front of the net off of an impressive pass from Alex Ovechkin, giving their team an early 1-0 lead. The Flyers received a power-play soon after but couldn’t find a way to capitalize, or even register a shot, on the opportunity. Brett Connolly would score his 17th on the year minutes later and eventually put Philadelphia in a two goal deficit after 20 minutes of action.
Sean Couturier took a tripping penalty to begin the second, putting the Flyers on their first penalty kill of the evening. The two minute penalty ended up costing the Orange and Black, because of course, as Ovechkin potted his league leading 46th goal of the season to give the Caps a 3-0 advantage. Andre Burakovsky joined in on the fun, chasing Elliott out of the game with his 10th tally of this season.
Cam Talbot entered in relief of Elliott and immediately gave up a goal in true Flyers fashion. He had to get rid of that initiation process at some point, right? After all was said and done, Philadelphia found themselves down 5-1 thanks to a goal from Philippe Myers in the final minute of the frame.