After nearly a month of facing Atlantic Division and Western Conference opponents, the Washington Capitals get back to a divisional rivalry tonight as they face their Metropolitan partners, the Philadelphia Flyers. Both teams are playing well as of late, with the Caps riding a 12-game point streak, while the Flyers have won four straight and are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games.
"Anytime you play a team that's within your division," says Washington center Nic Dowd, "and a team that's playing well, too, that's a good challenge, especially on the road. Philly is not an easy place to play.”
Tonight will mark the first time blueliners Matt Niskanen and Radko Gudas have faced their former teams since being traded for each other in a rare one-for-one almost five months ago. Both seem to be fitting in very well with their new environments.
"Gudas, he is an awesome guy to be around whether it's on the ice or in the locker room or away from the rink," says Caps right wing T.J. Oshie. "I've heard from some of his teammates in the past that he is one of their favorites that they've played with. So that's a good thing for us and a good fit for us. And on the ice, he brings a physical aspect that we are kind of losing without [Brooks Orpik] and Nisky, Brooksie especially."
Veteran goaltender Braden Holtby will get the start for Washington. Holtby has won four straight starts and has helped his team earn points in eight straight games. In those eight starts, he has managed a 2.72 GAA and a .920 save pct.
Carter Hart gets the start for the Flyers. After struggling in October, he has won each of his last four starts, posting a 1.92 GAA and a .929 save pct. in the process.
8-Ovechkin, 19-Backstrom, 77-Oshie
13-Vrana, 92-Kuznetsov, 43-Wilson
18-Stephenson, 20-Eller, 14-Panik
28-Leipsic, 26-Dowd, 21-Hathaway
25-van Riemsdyk, 28-Giroux, 49-Farabee
23-Lindblom, 14-Couturier, 11-Konecny
81-Twarynski, 13-Hayes, 93-Voracek
10-Andreoff, 12-Raffl, 18-Pitlick