Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!! -- Game 61: Capitals at Flyers, February 22nd

The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!!

The Washington Capitals go right back at it after their 3-2 Gimmick win over the Neqw York Islanders yesterday when they head up I-95 to take on the Philadelphia Flyers in a nationally-televised matinee at CoreStates First Union Wachovia Wells Fargo Center.

The Caps head up to Large Banking Conglomerate Center with a four-game winning streak in their pocket, their longest of the season. They will be looking to extend it to five games, which would be their longest winning streak since authoring an eight-game winning streak to open April in the 2012-2013 season.

As for the Flyers, they continue to hang around the edge of relevance in the playoff race, starting the day in tenth place in the Eastern Conference, four points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card spot, but with the Bruins holding a game in hand.  Not that their record has shown much in the way of desperation lately.  The Flyers are 3-3-4 in February after closing January with a four-game winning streak.  One of those three wins have come at the Caps’ expense, though, a 3-1 win in Washington o February 8th.

With the quick turnaround in games we do not have the full prognosto treatment this morning, but we do have some facts with which to beguile and impress your friends and aggravate your foes.

-- This is the 12th back-to-back set of games for the Caps this season.  They have swept both ends of the games twice – wins in Chicago (3-2) and at Carolina (4-3 in overtime) on November 7/8 and at Ottawa (2-1) and against Anaheim (3-2 in a Gimmick) on February 5-6.

-- This will be the 11th back-to-back for Philadelphia (they defeated Nashville yesterday, 3-2 in a Gimmick).  They have lost both ends of the back-to-back six times and have three wins in ten tries in the back half of those games. The wins have come at Pittsburgh (5-3 on October 22nd), at Winnipeg (4-3 in overtime on December 21st) and at Pittsburgh in their last instance (3-2 in overtime on January 20th).

-- The Caps allowed the Islanders only a single power play chance in yesterday’s game.  It was the fourth time in their last ten games that the Caps held an opponent to one power play.  It matched their total number of games holding an opponent to one or no power plays over their first 50 games.

-- The Flyers have four players with 20 or more power play points (by way of comparison, the Caps have two).  Claude Giroux (27), Jakub Voracek (25), Wayne Simmonds (20), and Mark Streit (20) are the four.

-- Alex Ovechkin was held without a goal yesterday.  That is news, in and of itself, since he has 22 goals in his last 25 games.  However, over those 25 games it was only the eighth game in which he was shut out from goal scoring.  He has not gone consecutive games without a goal over his last 29 games (24 goals scored) since he had a four-game streak without a goal, December 11-18.

-- Claude Giroux does not have a goal for the Flyers in his last 11 games and has only four assists.  He comes into this game on a four-game streak without a point.  Jakub Voracek has a total of two goals in his last 16 games (including an empty-netter against the Caps on February 8th).

-- Nicklas Backstrom had a three-game streak without a point, November 11-18.  Since then he is 14-34-48 in 42 games and has only once had consecutive games without a point (February 5/6).

-- Wayne Simmonds has seven goals in his last 11 games for the Flyers.  He is 4-5-9 in 19 career games against the Caps.

-- If Justin Peters gets the start in goal against Philadelphia on Sunday, he will be swimming upstream against his career record.  He is 1-2-0, 3.66,.889 in four career appearances against the Flyers.  His career road record is 11-23-4, 3.27, .899, with one shutout.  That includes a record of 1-3-0, 3.89, .869 in five road games this season for the Caps.

-- Rob Zepp got the nod in goal for the Flyers yesterday against the Predators.  It would suggest that Ray Emery would get this afternoon’s start against the Caps, although Zepp faced only 22 shots in yesterday’s trick shot win.  Flyers fans might be secretly wishing Zepp can recover quickly.  In the 2015 portion of the season, Emery is 3-5-3, 3.31, .885.

In the end…

This could be the firewagon hockey game that was not played at Verizon Center yesterday (or at Huge Banking Firm Center yesterday).  Backup goalies, deep offenses, a rowdy crowd, national TV…what more could one ask for on Hockey Day in America?  Oh yeah… a Caps win.

Capitals 5 – Flyers 4

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