Flyers at Capitals – 7 p.m., CSN
Verizon Center, Washington
The Flyers will wrap up a four-game road trip when they take on the Washington Capitals for the first of three meetings this season on Friday night.
The orange and black should be fresh coming off a rare two-day break in this 48-game lockout-shortened season. It’s a different story for the Caps, who played less than 24 hours ago in a 3-2 loss to Toronto.
The Flyers and the Capitals have struggled mightily offensively and will be looking for their captains — Claude Giroux and Alex Ovechkin — to try to provide a spark in an early but important matchup for both clubs.
Flyers: 2-5-0 (Last in Atlantic Division, 13th in Eastern Conference)
Capitals: 1-5-1 (Last in Southeast Division, 15th in Eastern Conference)
The last time these two teams met, the Flyers came out on top in a 2-1 shootout victory on March 22, 2012 at the Wells Fargo Center. Ilya Bryzgalov made 23 saves and Giroux scored the Flyers’ lone goal in regulation. Matt Read and Wayne Simmonds both beat Caps netminder Braden Holtby in the shootout.
The Flyers took the 2011-12 season series from the Capitals, 3-1.
The Flyers are coming off a 2-1 defeat to the New York Rangers. Bryzgalov was again solid in net, turning aside 26 shots in a losing effort. Kimmo Timonen scored his first goal of the season on the power play, although the Flyers went just 1 for 6 on the man advantage in the game.
Washington allowed two third-period goals in Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Maple Leafs. Ovechkin and Joel Ward both scored for the Caps, while Mike Ribeiro collected an assist on each tally.
Keep an eye on...
In an effort to find some chemistry on offense, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette moved Danny Briere up to the top line with Giroux and Simmonds at Thursday’s practice (see story). Briere and Giroux were on the same line while playing with Eisbaren Berlin in Germany during the NHL lockout. Giroux registered four goals and 15 assists in nine games with Berlin before leaving with a neck injury. Briere had 10 goals and 24 assists in 21 games.
Ovechkin and Giroux — along with the Capitals and Flyers — have had a similar start to their seasons. Both players have skated with different linemates on several occasions and have struggled to find the back of the net. Through seven games, Giroux has two goals and two assists. Ovechkin has two goals and one assist. The two former All-Stars have shown they are capable of a point per game, so look for at least one — if not both — of the two to step up for their struggling club on Friday.
Not so special teams
The Flyers rank 23rd in the NHL on the power play as they have converted on just 5 of 37 attempts (13.5 percent). Even worse, the Flyers’ penalty kill unit is the fourth-worst in the league at 67.7 percent.
Washington is 5 for 28 (17.6 percent) on the power play this season, which is good for 18th in the NHL. While shorthanded, the Capitals have successfully killed off 28 of their 38 penalties (73.7 percent, 23rd in NHL).
Did you know?
The Flyers are 2 for 27 on the power play in their five losses this season. In their two wins, the orange and black have converted on three of their 10 attempts on the man advantage.
In the last seven matchups against Washington, the Flyers have gone 5-1-1 with four wins by one goal.
The Flyers are 100-66-19-6 all-time against the Capitals.
Zac Rinaldo returned to the Flyers’ lineup in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the Rangers after missing the previous four games with a right thigh laceration. He logged six minutes of ice time and recorded two penalty minutes against New York.
Forward Scott Hartnell (left foot) and defenseman Andrej Meszaros (left shoulder) remain sidelined.
Forward Brooks Laich (strained groin) and defenseman Jack Hillen (shoulder) are both on Injured Reserve.
Do you think Briere will spark Giroux and the Flyers’ offense by playing on the top line?
Flyers at Capitals – 7 p.m., CSN