Caps (25-14-7, 57 points) vs. Flyers (29-11-5, 63 points)
What » Game #47
Where » Wells Fargo Center
When » 7 p.m.
TV » CSN HD
Radio » WFED-1500 AM
Should be a fun one tonight in Philadelphia as the Caps test themselves against the Eastern-Conference leading Flyers. Check out our preview in the print edition. Some of you may not actually be able to find a hard copy of the paper since its likely buried under a ½” of ice. What should we expect tonight?
“You get two teams that are really strong rivals, teams that overachieve against each other and play hard and are usually close games,” Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Looks like Michal Neuvirth gets the start again in goal for the Caps. He played well against Ottawa (22 saves, 23 shots) on Sunday and that’s what Boudreau insists will get his young goalies sustained playing time. Win and you’re in, so to speak. Neuvirth has faced Philadelphia just once in his career. He stopped 31 of 35 shots in a 5-4 shootout loss at Verizon Center on Nov. 20.
Didn’t see any line rushes during the morning skate at Wells Fargo Center. We know D.J. King is in the lineup because he said so. We know he’s playing with David Steckel and Jay Beagle. Andrew Gordon appears to be the odd-man out since he stayed on the ice for extra work. That would make the third line – based on yesterday’s practice and some common sense, but obviously subject to change - Matt Hendricks, Mathieu Perreault and Boyd Gordon. Jason Chimera was skating on the second line with Nick Backstrom and Mike Knuble on Monday. Brooks Laich and Alex Ovechkin had Marcus Johansson in the middle. We’ll see if that look holds tonight.
Defenseman Mike Green missed practice on Monday thanks to an illness, according to Boudreau. But he was out for the morning skate today and appears set to go considering the Caps had just six defensemen dressed during the skate.
Not many players enjoy coming to Philadelphia, what with the hostile fanbase and a difficult opponent. Boudreau is the opposite. This arena was the site of his first NHL win just one day after he was hired as the interim coach on Thanksgiving Day, 2007. Backstrom scored the game-winner in overtime for a 4-3 victory.
“It’s the first thing you think of,” Boudreau said. “I’d like the same beginning – a goal at 3 minutes, 48 seconds of the first. But I don’t really think that happens too often.”
Minor fact check: Former Washington captain Chris Clark actually scored a goal in the second period of that game at 3:39 to make it 2-0 Caps. Green had the first one just 2:27 into the contest. Washington lost a 3-0 lead before Backstrom’s OT winner put Boudreau into the NHL win column for the first time.
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