Washington (54-16-5) at Philadelphia (37-25-13)
When: Wednesday, March 30th 2016
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: NBCS
In a potential first round Playoff matchup, the Washington Capitals visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night. The Capitals have already locked up the President’s Cup Trophy for the most points in the NHL, but would love to keep the foot on the peddle heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Capitals had the best overall record in the 2000-10 season only to bow out in the first round to eighth-seeded Montreal. That Washington team finished with 54 wins, the same number this year’s team is at. Braden Holtby made 21 saves in Monday’s 4-1 victory over Columbus for his 46th win – two shy of tying Martin Brodeur for the NHL record. The 26-year-old Holtby has struggled versus the Flyers in his career (6-4-5, 2.89 goals-against average), but improved to 2-0-1 against them this season after turning aside 33 shots in a 3-2 win on February 7th. Washington would like star Alex Ovechkin to find a spark before the playoffs start. The winger has been held off the scoresheet in three straight and five of the last six games. Former Flyers captain Mike Richards will play in the City of Brotherly Love for the first time since he signed with Washington in January.
With the Capitals firmly in the playoffs, the Flyers have some work to do just to get in. Last night’s loss by the Detroit Red Wings gives the Flyers a little better shot. Philly is tied with Detroit with 87 points, but have two games in hand. After the Flyers loss to Washington on February 7th, they dropped five of their next eight games before turning things around with an 11-3-2 run. Captain Claude Giroux scored his fourth goal in five outings when he lit the lamp in overtime of Monday’s 3-2 victory over Winnipeg and has 30 points (15 goals, 15 assists) in 28 career meetings with Washington. With Michal Neuvirth (lower body) expected to miss the rest of the season, Philadelphia has brought in Ray Emery for a tryout. Steve Mason is expected to make his seventh straight start and 12th in 13 games when he faces Washington. Mason has allowed eight goals in both losses to the Capitals this season, but has been playing well of late. He is 7-2-2 with a 1.97 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in his last 11 starts. Jakub Voracek has just two assists in six games since returning from a foot injury, but netted his second goal of the contest in overtime en route to a 4-3 win over Washington on January 27th.
The Flyers are hot right now and the Capitals are just playing out the stretch. I’ll take the home team in this one.
Pick: Flyers -110