The Flyers are looking like a first-place team.
They sure looked like one Wednesday night when they beat the Capitals, 5-2, at Capital One Arena to notch their season-best seventh straight win.
In fact, the Flyers looked like a top club all season against Washington. They went 3-0-1 in four matchups with the Capitals and won both road games by a combined score of 12-4.
Now, the Flyers (39-20-7) are only one point back of first-place Washington with 16 games left in the regular season for both teams.
Alain Vigneault's group is on a 17-5-1 run since Jan. 8, a stretch in which it owns wins over the Capitals (three), Bruins, Blues, Avalanche and Penguins — all top-seven clubs.
As the Flyers are right back in action Thursday night, so are the Capitals (40-20-6), who visit the Rangers.
Flyers extend season-best win streak to 7 games.— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) March 5, 2020
They are 1 point behind the first-place Capitals.
Since Jan. 8, they're 17-5-1 with an NHL-high 87 goals and no team has more points. Flyers 35, Bruins 35, Avalanche with 33 and play tonight.
The NHL's best teams since Nov. 1:— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) March 5, 2020
1. Bruins — 76 points
2. Flyers — 74 points
3. Lightning — 73 points
3. Blues — 73 points
5. Stars — 71 points
• Washington manhandled the Flyers during 2018-19, winning all four matchups in regulation by a combined score of 18-9.
The Flyers are not the same team in 2019-20 and their regular-season series against the Capitals is case in point. The Flyers outscored Washington 16-8 and earned a point in all four meetings.
After going 10-16-2 within the division last season, the Flyers are 15-4-4 against Metropolitan foes this season.
That is awfully impressive.
• General manager Chuck Fletcher acquired forwards Derek Grant and Nate Thompson ahead of the Feb. 24 trade deadline for many reasons.
Depth and potential injuries were two of the biggest.
"We have been carrying 12 forwards for a while," Fletcher said Feb. 24. "They’ve played well but you always worry with 20 games to go if hockey happens, injuries and things like that. You just want to make sure you’ve covered everything off."
During the first period Wednesday night, James van Riemsdyk suffered a broken hand. Here's what it means for the Flyers moving forward (see story).
• Alex Ovechkin had no points through four games against the Flyers.
Over his 15-year career, it's the first time the Flyers have held him scoreless in one season.
• For the second straight game, 10 different Flyers recorded at least a point and five scored goals.
Kevin Hayes (one goal, one assist), Ivan Provorov (one goal, one assist) and Grant (two assists) had multi-point efforts, while Travis Konecny, Tyler Pitlick and Scott Laughton also netted goals.
Konecny matched his career high of 24 goals, Laughton set a new career high of 13 and the Flyers improved to 19-0-1 when Hayes registers a marker.
• Vigneault elected to go with backup Brian Elliott against the Capitals, saving Carter Hart for Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The decision worked out well as Elliott made 25 saves and earned both road victories over Washington.
The Flyers have put up 12 goals in two road games against the Capitals.— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) March 5, 2020
Washington has allowed more than 12 goals total to only two teams this season.
Capitals goalie Braden Holtby allowed 16 goals in four games against the Flyers.
• Tom Wilson fought two Flyers (see story). Anybody surprised?
• In the midst of their 13th back-to-back set out of 17, the Flyers host the Hurricanes Thursday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
The Flyers are 10 points up on Carolina in the Metropolitan Division and 2-0-1 against the Hurricanes this season.
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