Some of the Flyers blamed the teams flat outing against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday (a rather listless 2-1 loss) on lack of emotion.
After all, the Flyers had just completed a weekend in which theyd rebounded twice to take three points from two of the NHLs best teams, the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Panthers, by comparison, failed to evoke a similar response. Perhaps, a few Flyers offered after the game, they just couldnt get fired up for a team like Florida, with whom they have little history.
Well, if emotion was the problem on Tuesday, it shouldnt be tonight. The Washington Capitals, a true Flyers rival if ever there was one, stop by for the two teams final meeting of the regular season.
You get Alex Ovechkin coming in the building, and you get fired up, Scott Hartnell said after the Flyers morning skate. You get that extra motivation, I think. Nothing against Florida, but these guys, weve had some big games.
The last time the the two played, March 4 in Washington, the Flyers stole two points with great help from Ilya Bryzgalov, who silenced the Caps in a 1-0 Flyers victory. Ovechkin wasnt much of a force that game, but he has been lately the Caps sniper has five goals in his last four games.
When Ovechkin scores, the team is 18-5-2. When he doesnt, theyre 18-23-3. With the Capitals battling for playoff position (theyre currently eighth in the Eastern Conference), its likely Ovie will come to play tonight.
Washington is another desperate team that needs to win hockey games, coach Peter Laviolette said. But certainly they bring more punch with the name of the Capitals and Alexander Ovechkin. Its still the same thing for us: Its another desperate hockey team that needs to win a game, and weve got to win some games ourselves, so it should be a great hockey game.
Bryzgalov, who was given the day off of practice on Wednesday, gets the start tonight. Jaromir Jagr and Danny Briere did not take part in the morning skate. James van Riemsdyk was at the Wells Fargo Center, on crutches with a broken foot.
E-mail Sarah Baicker at firstname.lastname@example.org