What up Flyers fans. I'm sorry to say I'm not among you back in Philly, nor getting ready to descend on the Verizon Center this afternoon. Instead I'm in Florida for a bit, and it ain't a bad day to be here.
But enough about partly cloudy and 81. You can bet I'll be done outside by 3PM, because we should be a helluva game between the Caps and Flyers. The Capitals are a legitimate, no-joke contender of a team, and winning in their barn won't be easy. Say what you will about their fair-weather fans, but there's little question it's a tough building these days, and that's a great thing for hockey and the budding mini-rivalry between these teams.
The Caps are playing for the top seed in the conference, tied with the Sabres at just a point behind the Devils. The Flyers have obviously made some progress recently, but they're still sitting a point out of the way-too-early playoff picture. Funny thing is, while those two scenarios show how critical two points in the standings would be for both teams, I don't think either club is thinking about the leaderboard this afternoon.
The recent history between these teams should be more than enough motivation to fire both sides up. For the Flyers, getting past an awful loss to the Maple Leafs and beating a team like the Capitals will help them stay on the course they've set with 8 wins in their last 11 games. Maybe falling to earth against Toronto was a good reality check that they won't all come as easy as they have lately, especially not today. The Caps are also coming off of a game against the Leafs—but they won theirs by a 6-1 count.
Fella by the name of Mike Knuble scored two of those goals. We wish Knuble well and all, but I really hope we don't see a repeat performance. Of all the departed Flyers from last season, his absence has been the one the team has felt the most. With 12 goals and 12 assists, it hasn't been quite the great season many were expecting from Knuble on the high-scoring Caps, but he's on a bit of a hot streak now, so he could be a handful for the Flyers' d-men. Oh, and that newly captain'd Ovechkin guy hasn't been too bad either (29 goals, 33 assists, 62 points).
We've seen 60-minute shootouts between these two teams before, and there's a good chance this one will go that way too. Sorry to cut this short, but there's a beach run between me and this nice little boardwalk breakfast joint, then some pooltime calling me. I'll be testing out NHL.com's Gamecenter Live for the first time today, which sounds like a good fix for my out-of-market Flyers jones.