Tonight the Flyers will host the best team in the National Hockey League as the Capitals come to town for the fourth and final match-up of the regular season. The Flyers will once again have a chance to put more space between them and the Detroit Red Wings as the Wings lost last night in regulation and are inactive until Friday. The Flyers have two games in hand going into tonight’s game but it seems that every opportunity they have to pull ahead they let slip through the cracks; most notably Saturday’s game against Arizona when earlier in the day Pittsburgh demolished the Red Wings, yet the Flyers still couldn’t even get a point.
Washington is the best for a reason. They have already sealed the President’s Trophy for most points by any team in a season, and what’s even more impressive is they still have seven games left to play. This is the second time in their history that they’ve earned the title. They are second in the league only to Dallas for goals-per-game at just over 3. The Caps also have the second most wins on the road this year at 25, and come in to the game winning five of their last seven.
If there is a team that can compete against the best, it is the Orange and Black. (Which is good considering this will most likely be the first round match up in the Eastern Conference Quarter Finals) The Flyers have gotten smoldering hot at the perfect time and are getting help from all four lines. Sean Couturier comes in with a 5-game point streak on the line and for the month of March, the Flyers are averaging just as many goals-per-game as Washington. Their penalty kill has been exceptional denying 26 of the last 28 attempts by the opponents and Monday against the Jets they did not even have to kill one. (The only penalty was a match penalty taken by Brandon Manning for roughing with Ben Chiarot).
Even though Washington has clinched the number one spot for the playoffs, don’t expect Barry Trotz to rest any players. This will be their best test for the playoffs and a potential taste of what’s to come in the first round. One more win and they will have eclipsed the franchise record for most wins in a season. For a personal record, one more win for starting goalie Braden Holtby and he will have tied four others for 47 wins in a single season, 1 shy of the record set by Martin Brodeur in the 2006-2007 season. It will not be easy for Holtby, who has only won 2 of 9 starts in South Philadelphia and the Flyers are playing their best hockey of the season.
Puck drops at 8:00 on NBCSN – Wednesday Night Rivalry
Author: Tyler Jardine
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