NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, November 7th (All times eastern)
Philadelphia Flyers (9-4-1) at Washington Capitals (9-4-0), 5 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals had no problems scoring goals against the Philadelphia Flyers last year. Their red-hot offense hopes to continue that trend this evening when they battle a Flyers team at the Verizon Center that is looking for its longest winning streak in nearly nine years.
The Capitals went 3-0-1 versus the Flyers a season ago, outscoring the defending Eastern Conference champions by a 22-13 margin while winning the last three meetings. Washington claimed both contests at home and have taken three of the last four played in the nation's capital.
Caps center Nicklas Backstrom has been especially hot versus the Flyers, posting 10 assists and 12 points in the season series last year. Forward Alexander Semin has four goals and six assists over a five-game point streak versus the Flyers, while Ovechkin has scored a goal in five straight games in this series, totaling seven tallies in that span as well as 11 points.
Ovechkin and Mike Green both had a goal and an assist in Friday's 5-3 victory over Boston. Washington actually blew a three-goal lead in the game, but John Carlson put his team back up with the game-winning goal with 6:35 to play. Semin scored short-handed in the win and Tyler Sloan added his first goal of the season.
Michal Neuvirth carried a shut-out bid into the third frame, but allowed three goals in the third and was replaced by Braden Holtby. Holtby, making his NHL debut, stopped all four shots faced in relief to earn the victory.
"I didn't know if it was fair to Braden to put him in his first game with 10 minutes to play, but he did great," said Washington coach Bruce Boudreau. "We played good the first two periods and shut them down, but they came out really hard in the third. We were able to right the ship and come out with the win."
Washington has scored 17 goals over its current three-game winning streak and improved to 6-1-0 at home this year. The Capitals, who won four straight this year from Oct. 9-16, conclude a three-game residency today.
They'll try to slow down a Flyers club that has won six straight games for the first time since November of 2008. Philadelphia extended its run last night with a 2-1 triumph over the Islanders and hasn't won seven in a row since an eight-game winning streak from Jan. 6-19, 2002.
Mike Richards had a goal and an assist and Andreas Nodl had the game-winner late in the third period. Rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves.
"To win hockey games, it not always the first and second-line guys that are scoring goals," Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger said. "You need that depth in your third and fourth lines and we feel like we have it. You need the defense to chip in and get some production from the back end. We're getting great goaltending, too."
Richards, who had three goals and two assists versus the Capitals last year, has two tallies and seven points over a six-game point streak.
Bobrovsky has been in net all for six games of this winning streak, posting a 1.66 GAA. He is one off the Flyers record for longest winning streak with a rookie in net, held by Pelle Lindbergh and set from Dec. 22, 1982-Jan. 4, 1983.
Forward Danny Briere is eligible to return from a three-game suspension tonight that was the result of a hit to the head versus the Islanders on Oct. 30. He has six goals and eight points in 11 games this season.
11/07 10:30:12 ET