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Preparing for the Philadelphia Flyers

By Greg Schimmel

Sergei Bobrovsky, Philadelphia FlyersSergei "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.

By Greg Schimmel  | November 7, 2010; 11:32 AM ET
Categories:  Philadelphia Flyers  
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Next: Tonight's lineup: Flyers at Caps


Going to see the Bears play the Checkers here in Charlotte today.hope MJ has a good 1st game in the AHL.

Posted by: heathdog1119 | November 7, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Hope the Caps play a full 60 minute game. It'd be nice to take Philthy down a notch.

Posted by: cbs75 | November 7, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

The Bruins too had a head of steam going into Friday nights' game and we shut them down seriously, with the exception of 7 minutes. Big game this eve.

What's with the 5 pm starts on Sundays? I'm not going today, but will be in a couple of weeks. Seemed like the 1:00 pm starts were working just fine

Posted by: Justafan | November 7, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

The Bruins too had a head of steam going into Friday nights' game and we shut them down seriously, with the exception of 7 minutes. Big game this eve.

Umm there is a reason why the game is 60 MINUTES long...

Posted by: joek443 | November 7, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse


Agree with you that we need to add a marquee defenseman. And everybody here knows my thoughts about Phaneuf being that d-man.

Please don't be angry at me for saying this, but haven't you told me many times that, without giving up a key asset (e.g. Semin) plus top prospects plus picks plus GMGM's first born, there was no way the Caps could afford him/fit him under the salary cap?

No, as much as I admire Phaneuf's physicality and mile-wide mean streak, I think that expecting a trade of Fleischmann + Picks for Bieksa is much more realistic.

Posted by: Rhino40 | November 7, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse


I think that the 1pm start conflicted with football games for those of us who like multiple sports. Plus after last night's b-ball game, more time for the ice rink to be ready and up to par (spoke briefly to a Phone Booth employee about that one).

Posted by: nicety251 | November 7, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Phaneuf is way overpaid. He just isn't that good a player. Chris Phillips is the guy we need. UFA after the season too.

Posted by: underpants2 | November 7, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Time to stop the Flyers winning streak.

Hope the Flyers are flat since they're doing back to backs.

Go Caps!!!

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 7, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Rhino: Yes, Phaneuf would cost a fair amount. Originally, when I thought about him last year, it was with the idea Poti and Flash would both be gone after this year. Well, that's no longer the case. I don't think it would take Semin to get Phaneuf, not if Toronto decides they need to move him (due to fan noise). You give them two number ones and you force them to take Poti in the deal and maybe toss in a prospect (but not Eakin or MaJo).

Posted by: tominsocal1 | November 7, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

@Rhino40 -
Many good points you made but I think you need to watch Phaneuf a little more, there's a reason they turned on him in Calgary and he didn't make Canada. While he makes a lot of highlight reel hits and has the booming slapper, he also gets caught out of position far too often for an elite d-man. In my humble opinion.

But you're definitely right that he'd be dang expensive to acquire, moreso because Burke loves him. And I for one am not overly confident regarding a prospective GMGM v. Brian Burke matchup.

Alright, time to focus. Man I hate the Flyers!

Posted by: govtimbo | November 7, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

We've been rivals with the Flyers since the 80s...recent years what?

Posted by: Sticksboi35 | November 7, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Phaneuf has a 4 year contract @ 6.5 per. We can't afford that contract. Please do a little research before you post your ideas. Phaneuf is a good d-man but, not great. Do you really think the Leafs would trade him for 2 number ones, a prospect and Poti? Do you really think a rebuilding team wants a 34 year old d-man making 2.8 for the next 2 years? If you had Phaneuf would you make these deals?

Posted by: chriscaps | November 7, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

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