Flyers-Capitals: 5 things you need to know

Flyers-Capitals: 5 things you need to know

Jackson and Jones recap Flyers' win over Rangers

March 2, 2014, 6:00 am
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The Flyers (31-24-6) rebounded after a  7-3 loss on Thursday with a 4-2 win over the Rangers on Saturday.

They’ll travel to the District of Columbia for a meeting with the Capitals (29-23-9) on Sunday.

Puck drop is at 12:30 p.m. (NBC) at the Verizon Center.

Here are five things you need to know:

1. Steady Steve
Steve Mason rebounded nicely after his miserable showing against the Sharks on Thursday, the first game back from the Olympic break.

Mason turned away 33 shots and allowed two goals in the Flyers’ 4-2 win. The Rangers’ first goal was the result of the Flyers playing on their heels and it was only a matter of time before the Blueshirts were going to score.

The second goal brought memories of Michael Leighton back to Flyers fans. Derrick Brassard beat Mason’s five-hole with a shot that should have been stopped. If Brassard was one the sideboards, Flyers fans probably would have thought it was Patrick Kane who tallied the goal. It was brutal.

Overall, however, Mason was outstanding Saturday. They’ll need him to be just as good today against the Capitals, who score the 2.84 goals per game (10th in the NHL).

Though he's had his bad spells, Mason has given the Flyers a steady hand in net this year. It's most definitely welcomed.

2. Daytime drubbings
The Flyers are 5-3-2 in 10 games this season with start times of 3 p.m. or earlier.

Today's game is their second straight with a daytime start. They have two straight day-game wins.

But the Orange and Black haven't been a very good team during the day in recent seasons and this year is no different.

All five losses have been embarrassments. They either have been blown out or blew leads, including a 5-4 loss to the Capitals in Washington on Dec. 15.

The Flyers have been outscored 32-27 in day games. They have given up five goals or more three times and have lost by four or more twice.

Having to make the trip to Washington after Saturday's game against New York, the Flyers will have to be ready for the 12:30 p.m. start time.

It's an important game against a Metropolitan rival with 21 games left in the season. Points are crucial at this stage of the season.

They need the two at stake today.

3. Show me the money
Alex Ovechkin was not a factor for Team Russia in Sochi, but he only scores when he gets paid. Or at least it seems like it.

In two games since the Olympic break, Ovechkin has three goals and two assists. Washington won both games, topping the Panthers and Bruins.

Ovie appears set in his ways for his fourth Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy and second in a row. He has 43 goals in 57 games this season and has 10 more than Phil Kessel (TOR).

The 28-year-old is a minus-18, but that does not really mean anything (never does when evaluating an individual player). He’s paid to score goals. He has 43 of those.

Ovechkin has great career numbers against the Flyers, and has two goals and an assist in two games this year (he missed the Capitals’ 7-0 win in Philadelphia on Nov. 1). In his career, No. 8 has 26 goals and 16 assists in 31 games.

This might be a game the Flyers want to dress seven defensemen, because they’re going to need all the defensive help they can get to stop Ovechkin and the Caps.

4. Powerful power play
Staying out of the penalty box will be all too important for the Flyers today.

The Capitals enter the contest with the league’s second-best power-play unit (22.7 percent), and one that is scorching hot right now.

Washington has four power-play goals in eight opportunities in two games since the break. It went 2 for 6 against the Bruins on Saturday and 2 for 2 vs. the Panthers on Thursday.

5. This and that

• Five of the Flyers’ next seven games will be broadcast on national TV. Three of those will also air on CSN, which means those in the Philadelphia area will be blacked out of the NBCSN and NHL Network broadcasts.

• Combined, the Flyers and Capitals have scored 23 goals in three games against each other this year.

• Jakub Voracek has three goals in his last two games against the Capitals.

• Luke Schenn has four goals this season. The Flyers are 2-1-1 when he scores.

• With four goals today, Vinny Lecavalier will have 400 for his career. That’s not going to happen though.