Preparing for the Philadelphia Flyers
Sergei "Bob" Bobrovsky has been Philadelphia's top goalie this season. (Kathy Kmonicek/AP)
The Philadelphia Flyers enter tonight's game as one of the hottest teams in the NHL, winners of their previous six games and averaging four goals per game during the winning streak.
The defending Eastern Conference champions lead the East in points (19) and trail only the Caps and Atlanta Thrashers in goals scored (43 to the 44) in the conference.
The Caps own a three-game winning streak of their own, and could be catching the Flyers at a good place and time -- at Verizon Center on the second day of back-to-game games for Philadelphia. The Flyers beat the Islanders, 2-1, in New York last night.
It's the first of four regular-season matchups in a rivalry that has grown in recent years, and with both teams at the top of the standings it should be a good one.
"They're the Eastern Conference champs from last year so they're the guys that need to be knocked off," forward Matt Bradley said. "They were the top team in the East last year so It's a good way to gauge yourself and see where your game is at."
A few more notes heading into game:
-Rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky started last night for the Flyers. He has been Philadelphia's No. 1 goalie this season and compiled a 2.11 goals against average and 8-2 record in 10 starts.
The Caps said they didn't know too much about "Bob," as he is called in Philly.
"The same thing goes no matter who you're playing," Bradley said. "You need to get traffic in front of the net and shoot from everywhere because all the goalies nowadays can save the puck. There's no goalie in the league where you can just shoot it and it goes in."
If Bobrovsky is given the second of back-to-back games off, the Caps will likely face journeyman backup Brian Boucher.
-Before Saturday, when the Flyers went 0-for-2 with a man advantage, they had the league's 11th best power play (19.0 percent) but had a success rate of 32.1 percent during their previous five games. Claude Giroux, Danny Briere and Chris Pronger lead the Flyers with three power play goals apiece. Briere is eligible to return Sunday from a three-game suspension he served for cross-checking the Islanders' Frans Nielsen last Saturday.
-Giroux leads the Flyers with 14 points (7 goals, 7 assists), followed by usual suspects Mike Richards (3 G, 10 A) and Jeff Carter (5 G, 6 A). Winger Ville Laino (2 G, 9A) has also continued to play well after he finished with 7 goals and 14 assists in 19 games during the Flyers' run to the Stanley Cup Finals last spring.
-Bruce Boudreau has occasionally been colorful in the past about his team's rivalry with the Flyers, but the Caps coach was tame in his comments about Philadelphia on Saturday.
"I think it's just a lot of fun playing them," Boudreau said. "The rivalry between them and Pittsburgh is a lot greater only because they're in the same division, but I think there's a pretty good history of Philadelphia-Washington having good, exciting, hard-fought matches."
-There is no morning skate today. In the meantime, check out today's story on Michal Neuvirth's promising start to the season. Katie will post the lineup after warmups.
| November 7, 2010; 11:32 AM ET
Categories: Philadelphia Flyers
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