February 1, 2013
Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
Season series: This is the first of three meetings. The Flyers won the final three of four games, losing when Bruce Boudreau was coach of the Capitals and then outscoring them 7-2 with Dale Hunter in charge.
Big story: Two of the marquee teams in the Eastern Conference are at the bottom of the standings entering Friday's games. Philadelphia is dealing with injuries, losing Scott Hartnell (broken foot) but getting back Danny Briere (wrist). Washington is struggling to find its way on the fly under new coach Adam Oates.
Flyers: With 14 goals in seven games, and without Hartnell, last season's top goal-scorer, the Flyers used a rare practice Thursday to retool their offense, moving Briere onto a line with Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds in an effort to generate more scoring.
"That's the goal," Briere told CSN Philadelphia on Thursday. "That's the mindset we're going into tomorrow's game. You always have to believe that. I know [coach Peter Laviolette's] job is to find those combinations. When you're 2-5, obviously, things are going to change. That's what we saw today. … When we get back on track, things are going to get more stable and we'll work on some chemistry."
Giroux, who was third in the League with 93 points last season, has just four points to date.
"Obviously, I'm not happy with my game," Giroux told CSN. "But it's only seven games. It's a long season. I'm staying positive, and things are going to turn around pretty quick."
Giroux and Briere played on the same team in Germany during the work stoppage.
"It's not like we're two complete strangers out there," said Briere, who had 10 shots on goal against the New York Rangers in a 2-1 loss Tuesday. "Hopefully we can create some chemistry out there because we need it."
The Flyers rank next-to-last in penalty killing -- ahead of only the Anaheim Ducks -- at 67.7 percent. Philadelphia is 5-for-37 (13.5 percent) on the power play.
Capitals: The Capitals lost for the second straight game when leading after two periods, giving away a 2-1 edge in a 3-2 loss at Toronto on Thursday. At 1-5-1, Washington has the fewest points of any team that has completed seven games.
"Once again, it's details of the game that we need to focus on and put teams away," center Mike Ribeiro said. "It's 2-1, put teams away. Don't let them sniff around and let them sniff around and not finish them. I guess that's the next step is to play a 60-minute game, and when you have a chance to finish teams, finish them."
Alex Ovechkin doubled his season total with his second power-play goal of the season Thursday; he has one assist and is a minus-3.
Goalie Michal Neuvirth made 37 saves in his fifth straight start; Braden Holtby could get his first start Friday since the season's second game.
Who's hot: Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has stopped 74 of 78 shots in his past three games (2-1-0) … Simmonds has four points in the past four games. … Capitals forward Joel Ward a team-high four goals, including one on Thursday, and is plus-5. … Ribeiro has five points in the past four games.
Injury report: Hartnell is out for up to eight weeks with his broken left foot, and defenseman Andrei Meszaros could miss four weeks after shoulder surgery. … Capitals forward Brooks Laich (groin) took the morning skate Thursday but did not play. Defenseman Jack Hillen is out with a shoulder injury.
Expected In Goal:
(Not yet confirmed as of post time.)
This point has been edited by Erik C.: 01 February 2013 - 10:05 PM