Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
The Capitals bounced back nicely from a 3-2 loss at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday with a 5-2 win at the New Jersey Devils on Friday night. The Capitals gave the Devils their first loss of the season. The Capitals continue their first back-to-back set of games this year at the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, their home opener. Puck drop is at 7 PM on NBC Sports Washington.
The Flyers had a hard schedule to start the year. They came out of a 3-game California road trip against the San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, and Anaheim Ducks with a 2-1-0 record last weekend. They have not played since Tuesday night when they lost a 6-5 decision at the hands of the Nashville Predators.
Jakub Voracek has been impressive to start the season with 6 assists in the first four games of the Flyers season as well as Wayne Simmonds with four goals on the year. He had a hat trick in the Flyers’ season opener at San Jose last Wednesday in a 5-3 Flyers win. The Flyers came out of their opening 4 game road trip with a respectable 2-2-0 record.
The Flyers added goalie Brian Elliott in the offseason and drafted center Nolan Patrick from the Brandon Wheat Kings with the No. 2 pick in the draft last June. Expect Elliott to start against the Capitals on Saturday. They also acquired Jori Lehtera from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Brayden Schenn.
They have a lot of young talent on the back-end highlighted by Ivan Proverov, who has a goal and two points through the team’s first four games, Travis Sanheim, and Robert Hagg. All are under the age of 22. The Flyers have a very bright future on their defense.
The Capitals had a strong performance against the New Jersey Devils on Friday, winning by a 5-2 count. Alex Ovechkin, Jakub Vrana, and Nicklas Backstrom tallied for the Capitals while T.J. Oshie added two goals. The Capitals’ offense is productive with 21 goals on the season, good for third in the NHL behind the Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Phillipp Grubauer is expected to get the start after Braden Holtby stopped 21 of the 23 shots he faced on Friday. Grubauer made his first appearance on the year last Monday when the Capitals fell 4-3 in overtime at the Tampa Bay Lightning. Grubauer was strong in that game with 36 saves in that game and saved the Capitals from a game, in which they could have gotten away with 0 points.
Christian Djoos continued his strong play a takeaway despite having a -1 rating and will likely play again tomorrow night.
Alex Ovechkin will look to become the first player in the NHL to hit the double-digit goal mark this season against the Flyers after getting his ninth of the season last night in Newark.
Last time these two teams met was on March 4, where the Capitals skated away with a 2-1 victory in overtime thanks to a Nicklas Backstrom power play goal. The Capitals won their 15th straight home game, a franchise record.
-The Capitals are 5-0-3 in the past two seasons against the Flyers
-Alex Ovechkin has 31 goals and 52 points in 45 career games against the Flyers
-Capitals are 84-112-19 all-time against the Flyers with a 36-68-8 record all-time in road games against the Flyers
By Harrison Brown