PUCK-DROP IS 8:00 PM TONIGHT!!!
The Washington Capitals return to the ice after being snowed out of two games (Anaheim and Pittsburgh) this weekend. The Flyers missed their game against the Islanders and then proceeded to lose to the Bruins on Monday. The Caps have won their last two games while the Flyers have lost their last three. This is the last game for both teams before the All-Star break.
The Caps remain in the solid lead for the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference. With 46 games played they have 73 points, technically three points ahead of the Blackhawks with 70 points. The Hawks have played 52 games so the Caps have a lock on first place going into the break.
Michal Neuvirth is the projected goalie for this match, the second this season between Washington and Philadelphia. Read our column from January 25 about Neuvy and his journey from DC to Philly. He was reportedly moving slowly after the Monday game but has said he is fine at practice on Tuesday. Steve Mason missed his second day of practice following “maintenance day” on Monday.
Everyone is holding their breath in anticipation that John Carlson could play on Wednesday. He has missed 12 games with an upper-body injury and has skated with the team during practice for the past week.
Brooks Orpik continues to skate before the team practice and is working with trainers to prepare for his return. Coach Trotz had hoped Brooks would be back before the All Stars but it looks more likely that he will return after the break. He has missed 32 games.
Jay Beagle’s recovery is coming along. It could be another three weeks before he returns to the game following hand surgery. He too is skating with the trainers before team practice. He has missed 10 games.
Caps Roll Call
Braden Holtby, who leads the league in wins (30), is expected to be defending the crease on Wednesday. His 2.01 goals against average ranks third in the league. Backing him up in the net is Philipp Grubauer who is a strong goaltender and someone in whom the coach has great confidence. He has had to step in for Holtby in recent games.
Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov were the stars of the game against the Blue Jackets. Nicky had three shots that brought two goals for the team while Kuzy had four assists that contributed to the team’s 6-3 win. We can expect more WOW moments from both these guys on Wednesday.
It’s hard to single out potential stars for Wednesday when this is a team in which everyone contributes to its success. Keep an eye on Jason Chimera, simply because…he is amazing!
Extra Photos from practice:
Karl Alzner, the Iron Man, is three points away from 100 NHL points and with this game passes Bob Carpenter (422) for the longest consecutive games played in franchise history.
Nicklas Backstrom with three goals will pass Kelly Miller (162) for the 12th place of Capitals goals scored
Claude Giroux leads the Flyers in overall points (37) with 14 goals and 23 assists. He was scoreless against Boston on Monday; however, he has tallied two goals and two assist in his last five games.
Jakub Voracek has been leading the team in the past five games in points (5) with one goals and four assists.
Wayne Simmonds was the first star of the game against Boston, despite the loss. He had nine shots with the two goals scored by the Flyers. Keep a watch on him in the scoring zone.
Jan 27 Morning Skate at 10:15 am
Jan 27 Philadelphia at 8 pm at the Verizon Center on NBCSN
Feb 2 Panthers at 7:30 pm at the Verizon Center on NBCSN
Feb 4 NY Islanders at 7:30 pm at the Verizon Center on NBCSN
Photos by Brittney Marcum