After a pair of losses over the weekend, and a day off on Monday, the Capitals returned to practice Tuesday morning at Kettler. Following practice, the Caps departed for the “City of Brotherly Love“, in advance of their Wednesday night tilt with the Flyers. Puck drop is 8:00 PM, and will be televised on NBCSN as their “Wednesday Night Rivalry” game of the week.
The Flyers (28-24-7) are fighting hard to make a Wild Card spot in the playoffs, but have been unable to recapture the magic of their early season 10-game winning streak. Philadelphia has won just nine of 27 (9-14-4) games since their steak ended in mid-December. The Flyers are currently 3 points behind Boston for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Philadelphia is returning from a western road trip in which the Flyers lost two of three games (Calgary, Edmonton ), but grabbed a victory on the final leg in Vancouver before returning home.
Michal Neuvirth got the last start in goal for the Flyers, stopping 18 of 20 overall against Vancouver. Although Steve Mason has started nearly twice as many games as Neuvirth, the stats for the two goalies are fairly similar.
The Flyers are currently in the top third in power play efficiency, currently ranked ninth at 21.3%. Philadelphia’s penalty kill is more in the middle of the pack, currently ranked 16th in the league with a 81.3% success rate.
Philadelphia continues to fire the puck at the net, currently ranked 6th in the league in shot attempts at 31.2 shots per game average. The Flyers are also doing well at limiting shots, currently giving up the 8th fewest shots per game at 28.3 shots per game. The Flyers are -25 in goal differential for the season.
METROPOLITAN DIVISION STANDINGS
The Caps are coming off a pair of road losses upon returning from their bye week, and will be looking to re-fire the offensive engines on Wednesday.
The Capitals recalled Travis Boyd from Hershey on Tuesday morning. This is Boyd’s first time on the Capitals active roster. Boyd will likely act as an insurance policy (13th forward) for the coming trip to Philadelphia.
The Capitals special teams continue to heat-up. After a sluggish start to the season, the Caps power play is starting to show its old self, steadily improving its efficiency over the past 15 games. The power play is now ranked 5th in the league with a 21.8% efficiency.
Washington’s penalty kill also continues to play well. The penalty kill is currently ranked 6th in the league with an 84.3% success rate. The Capitals combined special teams index now stands at 106.1. The league mean average for special teams is now at 101.5.
The Capitals are currently 17th in the league in shot attempts per game with an average of 29.8 shots per game. The Capitals continue to limit opponents shots, currently giving up the 5th fewest shots per game with an average of 27.9 shots per game. The Capitals are currently +69 in goal differential, which is the best in the league.
The Flyers won the first matchup in Philadelphia via the shootout, 3-2. The two teams last met on January 15th at Verizon Center, with the Capitals thrashing the Flyers 5-0. The win gave the Capitals their ninth straight victory at the time.
- Washington leads the NHL in goals against (121), goals against per game (2.09) and five-on-five goals against (75) this season.
- Washington’s 121 goals against this season are its fewest through 58 games in franchise history.
- The Capitals have allowed two goals or fewer in a League-leading 37 games this season.
- Capitals goaltenders lead the NHL in goals-against average (2.06) and shutouts (10).
By Jon Sorensen