The Capitals (40-19-6) host the Philadelphia Flyers (38-20-7) on Wednesday in a key Metropolitan Division clash. Catch the game on NBCSN with pregame coverage on NBC Sports Washington and postgame coverage on NBC Sports Washington Plus. Tune in to NBC Sports Washington for pregame coverage starting at 6 p.m. with Caps FaceOff Live followed by Caps Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. Head over to NBCSN for the game, then tune in to NBC Sports Washington Plus for postgame coverage with Caps Postgame Live and Caps Overtime Live.
Here is what you need to know for Wednesday's game.
Washington enters this game with a three-point lead atop the Metro Division. Philadelphia, however, is hot on the Caps' heels in second place after winning six straight. None of those six wins have come against teams in the top three in their division, however, so Wednesday's game is a big one for Philadelphia as well to prove they are a serious contender and not just hot.
A win for the Caps will helpt the team further its claim as the top dog in the division, while a regulation loss will pull the Flyers to within one point.
And while these two teams battle on Wednesday, don't forget about the Pittsburgh Penguins who snapped a six-game losing streak on Tuesday to pull within one point of Philadelphia for second place.
When last we met
The Caps and Flyers last met on Feb. 8 in Washington. The game was a complete debacle for the Caps who lost 7-2 in a game that was probably even worse than the score indicated. Alex Ovechkin had pulled to within two goals of reaching 700 in the game prior, but his celebration was put on hold as he was held off the scoresheet completely by Philadelphia. Braden Holtby was pulled in the third period after giving up all seven goals. The defense, which has been a weakness for much of the season looked at its absolute worst as both Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux tallied three points.
Wednesday's game will be the fourth and final meeting between these two teams this season. The Caps hold a 1-2-0 record against the Flyers.
Kempny a healthy scratch
For the first time this season, Michal Kempny will be a healthy scratch against Philadelphia. Here are the projected lines:
Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Carl Hagelin - Lars Eller - Ilya Kovalchuk
Richard Panik - Nic Dowd - Garnet Hathaway
Brenden Dillon - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Nick Jensen
Jonas Siegenthaler - Radko Gudas
Holtby in net
With Washington starting a stretch of three games in four days, including a back-to-back on Wednesday against the Flyers and the New York Rangers on Thursday, the goalies will split the goaltending duties. Per Todd Reirden, Braden Holtby will get the start on Wednesday looking to overcome the seven-goal debacle from February. Ilya Samsonov, meanwhile, will get the start on Thursday in New York.
Watch those faceoffs
Claude Giroux (59.3) and Sean Couturier (59.2) rank No. 1 and 2 in the NHL in faceoff win percentage for all players with at least 500 faceoffs taken this season. Boy have they had a field day against the Caps.
In each of the last two meetings, Washington failed to win 30-percent of the draws. Even if you do not put much stock into faceoffs as a stat, less than 30-percent is a bit extreme.
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