Author Topic: CAPS Week 5 - Oct 30 - Nov 4  (Read 3371 times)

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Offline Senators2005

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CAPS Week 5 - Oct 30 - Nov 4
« Topic Start: November 04, 2006, 06:43:04 PM »
Nov. 4 vs. Philadelphia Flyers at Wachovia Center

Time: 7:00 pm
TV: WDCW 50
Radio: SportsTalk 980 AM

Washington Capitals (4-4-4)[/b]
Philadelphia Flyers (3-8-1)

The City of Brotherly Love hasn?t had much brotherly love to offer the Washington Capitals in recent seasons. It has been more than eight years since the Caps last claimed a regular season victory in Philly. Washington visits Philadelphia on Saturday night in another attempt to reverse their fortunes against the Flyers.

Washington is seeking its first regular season win in Philadelphia since Jan. 31, 1998 when it took a 3-2 decision over the Flyers in overtime. Michal Pivonka scored two goals ? including the game-winner ? and Bill Ranford was the winning netminder for the Caps in that one. Since that day, the Caps are 0-15-1 and have been outscored 64-27 in Philadelphia.

The Capitals visited Wachovia Center in the preseason, and trounced the Flyers by a 6-1 count.

The Caps come into Philadelphia on the heels of a disappointing 4-3 setback to the Atlanta Thrashers on Friday night. Washington squandered a 2-0 second period lead, and in doing so squandered an opportunity to gain ground on the Southeast Division-leading Thrashers.

On bright spot in Friday night?s loss was Dainius Zubrus?s continued strong performance. Zubrus, who was the Flyers? first-round draft choice in 1996, netted two goals to run his season total to a team-leading nine. Dating back to last season, Zubrus has 19 goals and 42 points in his last 40 games.

Capitals captain Chris Clark netted the team?s first shorthanded goal of the season in the second period of Friday?s game. Washington penalty killers stifled the Thrashers power play on Friday. The Caps have killed off 38 of 44 (86.4%) opposing power plays in the last six games while connecting on seven of 28 (25%) power plays of their own.

The Capitals? power play unit ranked 11th in the NHL going into Friday night?s NHL games with a 17% success rate.

The Flyers came into this season with a string of 11 straight playoff appearances, three straight 100-point seasons and 10 consecutive campaigns of 93 or more points. But Philadelphia has struggled significantly in the early going of the 2006-07 season. With only seven points in its first dozen games, the Flyers may be headed for their first playoff miss since 1993-94.

Simply put, the Flyers are poorly constructed for the post-lockout NHL. Deposed general manager Bob Clarke bestowed too many big dollar, multi-year contracts on too many hulking but slow-footed players, the kind of players the team won consecutive Cups with some three decades ago. Time marched on; the Flyers did not. A complete rebuild is in order, but some seem to feel the season is still salvageable.

The Flyers fired head coach Ken Hitchcock and longtime GM Clarke resigned. Philadelphia was 1-6-1 at the time of those moves. The Flyers are 2-2 since, with one win coming via the shootout and one loss coming via the blowout.

Most recently, the Flyers suffered a 5-2 home ice loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. Forwards Jeff Carter and Randy Robitaille were injured in that game, and their respective statuses are unknown for Saturday?s game against Washington. The Flyers recalled journeyman forward Eric Meloche from the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL on Friday.

Robert Esche is expected to get the start in goal for the Flyers on Saturday. Esche?s last start was a 3-0 whitewash of the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.

Heading into Friday night?s NHL activity, the Flyers had the league?s worst power play with a success rate of just 8.1%. Philadelphia is ninth in the NHL in penalty killing with a kill rate of 86.9%