2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1: Capitals Look to Strike First Vs. Flyers

It’s here. The Stanley Cup Playoffs kick into high gear as the NHL’s best regular season team, the Washington Capitals, take on the Broad Street Bullies in an interesting first round matchup.

Focused and Ready

The Caps have been on cruise control since March 15 when they secured their playoff spot. What followed was getting the top seed in the Eastern Conference followed by the President’s Trophy. But unless either of those have the name “Stanley” in them, they are far from done.

Braden Holtby tied Martin Brodeur for most wins in a regular season with 48. He sat out Sunday’s game and is now “dialed in” for the playoffs, according to Nate Schmidt. “Just watching the last two days of practice. [Holtby’s] incredibly dialed in. He kicked it into another gear.”

Alex Ovechkin hit 50 for the seventh time in his career last Saturday Vs. St. Louis. He also sat out Sunday’s game (Backstrom and Carlson) but not without high-fiving fans in the lower level concourse.

The final game of the season is one to forget. The Caps were dominated by the Ducks, who stole the Pacific Division away from the Kings with their 2-0 win.

Scrappin’ For The Playoffs

The Flyers have  had to work for their eighth seed in the playoffs. Battling Detroit and Boston until the last game, the Flyers had to overcome a lot of adversity to get here. Steve Mason picked up the slack when Michal Neuvirth went down and he did not disappoint, helping to win games when it mattered.

The Flyers last game was a convincing 5-2 win over fellow playoff team the New York Islanders, whose coach Jack Capuano decided on rest for his players instead of winning and playing the Penguins. Michael Raffi had a goal and two assists and Neuvirth returned from injury to record 17 saves while letting in two goals.

Your Caps’ starting goaltender will be Braden Holtby, who posted a regular season record of 48-9-7 with a 2.20 GAA and .922 save percentage. The Flyers will throw in Steve Mason, the veteran who recorded 23-19-10 with a 2.51 GAA and .918 save percentage.

In the playoffs, Mason has played nine games, is 2-6 with a 3.11 GAA and .907 save percentage. Holtby has played 34 games in the playoffs with a 16-18 record, 1.92 GAA and .936 save percentage.

The Caps have no injuries to report. Jay Beagle is expected to be ready to go for game one. The Flyers also have no injuries to report.

Looking forward to the Capitals setting the tone in game one.


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