NHL Preview: Philadelphia Flyers Host Washington Capitals
The Philadelphia Flyers will host the Washington Capitals on Friday, but they will return to the ice without center Max Talbot. Talbot was traded to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday in exchange for Steve Downie. The absence of Talbot will definitely affect their penalty kill, so the Flyers need to make sure they are not making poor decisions and keep their penalty minutes to a minimum.
The Capitals are doing a little better than the Flyers, but they do only have three regulation wins under their belt. The Caps have relied heavily on Alexander Ovechkin, who has already scored 10 goals this season, but luckily for the Flyers he will not play due to an upper body injury.
Even though Ovechkin is out, that doesn’t mean the Flyers won’t have their work cut out for them. Among the Caps, their top line of Jason Chimera, Mikhail Grabovski and Joel Ward have been on fire in the past couple of games. Without Ovechkin, these three will be the players that will have a target on their back in Philly. The Flyers need to hone onto them when they come into their zone and help Steve Mason protect his net.
Mason has been holding his own lately, but it can’t be helped if the rest of the team is just not clicking. Vincent Lecavalier is hot on the Flyers, so expect him to try to rally the troops. Captain Claude Giroux has been obviously struggling, and it’s clear that he is perturbed that he can’t find his groove again.
This is going to be long season for the Flyers, but they just have to take it one game at a time.