The Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals meet up on Sunday for a clash of the east coast in Washington, D.C. I think we can say that over the last decade, the Flyers have been the hottest and coldest team in the NHL. For a month or two at a time, they look like they’re going to get something going, and then nothing seems to go their way. A lot of their season has gone that way this year. The Flyers have had their moments, including a nine-game winning streak, but then there are multiple winless streaks to find on their resume.
Sounds like the Flyers, who got behind 3 games against the Capitals in the playoffs last season, but came back to make it a 3-2 series before the Caps closed them out. At 28-9-1 the Capitals are positioning themselves to make another run deep into the playoffs. They went toe-to-toe with the Penguins last year but ultimately came up short, wasting what could have been a special year for the President Trophy winning Capitals.
The Capitals have two wins in a row against the Penguins under their belt at the moment and did it in rather easy order. However, the fact of the matter is that the Penguins have the hardware and Ovechkin is still looking for a Stanley Cup. We’ll see if the Caps can win the war later in the spring of 2017, but they’re doing a fine job winning the battles. The Flyers have been able to find some success against the Capitals of late, winning three of their last four meetings. However, two of those wins go back to the playoffs in April. In their first matchup of 2016-17, the Flyers dumped the Caps by a score of 3-2 in a shootout. The Flyers are coming off a 6-3 loss to the Bruins yesterday, now they travel to Washington to face the Capitals.
The goaltending has been less than average at best. Michal Neuvirth looked like a savior of the Flyers, after he took over for Steve Mason after the Flyers got down 3-0 in the playoffs. Neuvirth nearly stole the series. However, nothing has translated into success for him the following season. He was benched early this season after getting torched. Neuvirth currently holds a 3.38 GAA and 0.868% save percentage. The Flyers went to him again last night, following a rough stretch for Steve Mason. Nothing much changed, as he was throttled for 6 goals last night against the Bruins. Mason will get the call today in Washington.
Mason recently allowed 4 goals against the Canucks, a terrifying trend that has been going steady for him lately. In his last four games, he’s allowed an average of 3.25 goals. There’s only been one game in his last ten where he has allowed 1 or no goals. Overall, the Flyers are 28th in the league with regards to goals against per game. Mason owns a 2.65 GAA against the Capitals in his career. Meanwhile, the Capitals are 1st in the NHL, with a stellar 1.95 goals allowed per game, behind the talented Braden Holtby. The Caps are also 7th in the NHL, with 2.82 goals scored per game. The weary Flyers should be in trouble today against the rested Capitals. Washington should be able to exert their will against the Flyers in a positive way on Sunday. All indications suggest an easy win for the Caps, something in the area of 4-1.
PICK: CAPITALS -1.5 (+139)