Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Hockey

Unbeaten Caps pay a visit to Flyers

The Washington Capitals will try to extend their season- opening winning streak to six games when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers for tonight's Eastern Conference showdown at Wells Fargo Center.

The Capitals have recorded wins in all five games so far this year, joining the Detroit Red Wings (4-0-0) as the only NHL clubs left with perfect records.

Philadelphia hasn't been much worse, however, as the Flyers have posted a 4-0-1 mark to begin 2011-12. The Flyers' only loss came Saturday in overtime against the visiting Los Angeles Kings.

The Flyers and Capitals split four meetings last season and Washington has taken five of seven and six of the last nine encounters overall. The Caps have also claimed two of three and seven of the last 10 matchups in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia and the Capitals were both in action on Tuesday and each team posted an impressive win. Washington rode goaltender Tomas Vokoun to a shutout victory over visiting Florida, while the Flyers routed the Senators in Ottawa.

Vokoun stopped 20 shots to pick up his first shutout of the season, and 45th of his career, as the Capitals recorded a 3-0 victory over the Panthers.

Marcus Johansson, Alexander Semin and Jason Chimera each scored a goal for the Capitals, who have started the season with five straight wins for the first time in franchise history.

"Come April or May I won't be able to sit here and say, 'Hey, we were 5-0, isn't that great,'" said Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau, downplaying his club's hot start. "It's not going to hold a lot of weight."

Vokoun is 4-0-0 with a 1.94 goals-against average so far in his first season with the Caps. The veteran backstop is expected to get the call again tonight, as backup Michal Neuvirth is battling a lower-body injury. Neuvirth, who started this year's season opener, has not suited up for Washington since the second game of the year.

Tonight marks just the second road game of the year for the Capitals, who are 1-0 as the visiting team after defeating Pittsburgh in OT last Thursday. Washington was 23-15-3 as the road club last season.

The Flyers will try to carry over some of the offense from their last outing to tonight after simply destroying the Senators, 7-2, on Tuesday at Scotiabank Place.

Rookie forward Matt Read posted a career-best four points on a goal and three assists for the Flyers, who had lost their previous seven games in Ottawa before earning their first win in nearly four years in Canada's capital city.

Claude Giroux and Max Talbot added a goal and helper each for the Flyers.

Sean Couturier and Harry Zolnierczyk registered their first NHL goals as Philadelphia opened up a season without a regulation loss in its first five games for the first time since going 3-0-2 in October of 2002.

"It's been good. Everybody's pushing in the right direction, despite the new faces," said Talbot, who was signed away from rival Pittsburgh in the offseason. "There's a good mix of older guys and younger guys on this team and I guess the chemistry's been good. It's a long season and things can get better but it's a good start."

Sergei Bobrovsky's first start of the year was a solid one, as the Russian halted 21-of-23 shots. Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to be back in the crease as the starting goaltender tonight.

Brayden Schenn is expected to make his debut for the Flyers tonight, as the centerman was recalled from the AHL on Wednesday. Schenn, a 20-year-old centerman, was the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft by Los Angeles before coming to Philadelphia this summer in the trade that sent Mike Richards to the Kings.

Schenn played in nine games at the NHL level with the Kings and recorded two assists in those contests. Zolnierczyk and fellow forward Zac Rinaldo were loaned to Philadelphia's AHL affiliate in Adirondack to make room for Schenn.

The Flyers are 1-0-1 as the host this year and are kicking off a three-game homestand tonight. Philadelphia, which was 22-12-7 on home ice least season, will also host St. Louis and Toronto during this residency.