Preview: Flyers at Capitals
The Washington Capitals didn’t exactly put forth an awe-inspiring performance in their last outing, but the result proved to be just enough to prevent their first four-game skid since March 2017. The Capitals will look for a better effort on Tuesday when the Metropolitan Division leaders host the team making itself comfortable in the division’s cellar: the free-falling Philadelphia Flyers.
For a club that boasts 14-time 30-goal scoring dynamo Alex Ovechkin, Washington received an offensive jolt from unlikely sources as Travis Boyd netted his fourth tally at 6:19 of the third period and Michal Kempny added his fifth with 3:52 remaining of Sunday’s 3-2 win over Detroit. Habitual line-stepper Tom Wilson moved within two tallies of last season’s career high by scoring his 12th goal in 22 games for Washington, which is facing Philadelphia for the first time in 2018-19 after dropping three of four encounters last campaign. The fledgling Flyers fell for the seventh straight game (0-5-2) and sustained their sixth shutout loss of the season in Monday’s 3-0 setback to St. Louis — to a goaltender (Jordan Binnington) that was making his first NHL start, no less. Rookie Carter Hart turned aside 34 shots versus the Blues, but Michal Neuvirth is in line to start Tuesday’s tilt against his former team.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, TVAS, NBCS Washington
ABOUT THE FLYERS (15-21-6): Captain Claude Giroux, who leads the team in assists (33) and points (46), has been kept off the scoresheet in five of his last seven outings while Sean Couturier (club-best 15 goals) has been held without a point in five of his last six. Both forwards look to get off their respective slides at the expense of Washington, against which Giroux collected five points (two goals, three assists) in four meetings while Couturier had seven (two goals, five assists). Jakub Voracek also collected two goals and five assists versus the Capitals last season, although he has been kept off the scoresheet in four of six outings after notching a point in 11 of his previous 13.
ABOUT THE CAPITALS (25-12-4): Coach Todd Reirden’s decision to reunite Washington’s top line of Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Wilson from the playoffs paid immediate benefits as Kuznetsov corralled a loose puck in front of the net and alertly fed Wilson on the right side for a one-timer at 6:57 of the first period. “That’s what you’ve got to do in this league,” Wilson said of shaking things up, per the Washington Post. “It hasn’t been coming easy for us the last couple of games, and it’s huge to be able to turn that one around and finish on a strong note. It’s a tough league, and you’ve got to be sure you end those little skids.” Kuznetsov’s assist accounted for his 300th career point before he set up Kempny’s game-winning tally.
1. Philadelphia has mustered just 12 goals during its seven-game losing streak.
2. Ovechkin has flustered the Flyers throughout his career, to the tune of 55 points (33 goals, 22 assists) in 49 career encounters.
3. Philadelphia D Ivan Provorov, who has just 13 points this season, had four (one goal, three assists) against Washington in 2017-18.