By this time next week, the Flyers will have their seed and opponent for the first-round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Thursday and this weekend will heavily dictate their scenario as the Flyers continue the round-robin portion of the NHL's return-to-play 24-team tournament. After beating the Bruins, 4-1, last Sunday in their round-robin opener, the fourth-seeded Flyers play the third-seeded Capitals on Thursday (4 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
Let's get into the essentials:
• When: 4 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 3 p.m. ET
• Where: Scotiabank Arena
• Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
• The Flyers experienced a big-time turnaround against the Capitals during the 2019-20 regular season. In 2018-19, they went 0-4-0 vs. Washington and were outscored 18-9. This season, the Flyers went 3-0-1 and outscored the Capitals 16-8.
Impressively and unprecedentedly, the Flyers held Washington superstar Alex Ovechkin scoreless over the four-game regular-season series. In Ovechkin's 15-year career, it was the first time the Flyers had ever held him to without a point in one season.
The Flyers will have to continue to put a major focus on No. 8, be physical with him and make the 48-goal winger play goal line to goal line.
Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault and Ovechkin don't need to hide strategy. They know what to expect from one another.
"It's funny, in the situation we're in, this morning when I went down to breakfast, I went down with Ovie," Vigneault said with a laugh Wednesday in a video interview. "So we were talking about tomorrow's game, usually that doesn't happen. But they're excited about tomorrow's game and we're excited — it should be a real fun one."
• This game holds plenty of weight for the Flyers in their status and goals as a Stanley Cup contender.
The Flyers are 1-0-0 in the round robin while the Capitals are 0-0-1. Here's why Thursday's matchup is so important and how the Flyers will have a different look.
Expect both teams to play a heavy, physical game (the Flyers are the home team, so they get the last change).
• Braden Holtby, who struggled against the Flyers during the regular season, going 1-3-0 with a 4.15 goals-against average and an .857 save percentage, will start for the Capitals.
James Norris Memorial Trophy finalist John Carlson (undisclosed injury) will be a game-time decision after missing Washington's round-robin opener.
Caps defenseman John Carlson will be a game-time decision today vs Flyers, per Reirden. He is getting treatment this morning.— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) August 6, 2020
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Travis Konecny
Nicolas Aube-Kubel-Derek Grant-Joel Farabee
James van Riemsdyk-Nate Thompson-Tyler Pitlick
Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers
Robert Hagg-Justin Braun
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