The first two games of the Washington Capitals' second three-game homestand of the year have been nothing short of entertaining. With the rough Philadelphia Flyers headed to Verizon Center for a Sunday matinee, the Capitals will look to hold the Broad Street Bullies at bay.
Washington has won the first two games of their extended stay at home, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 in a shootout Wednesday and the Boston Bruins 5-3 Friday. But it wasn't easy. The Capitals gave up three unanswered goals in the third period to both teams. Late-game heroics by Alexander Semin and John Carlson allowed the Caps to pull out the victories, but the team knows that this kind of play cannot continue.
"If we're going to be a playoff hockey team, we've got to get over this hump and we have to get rid of this old habit," defenseman Mike Green said after the game.
There might not be a better time to right the proverbial ship than against a pesky Flyers team that boasts some of the grittiest players in the NHL. Led by captain Mike Richards and Chris Pronger, Philadelphia is sitting atop of the Atlantic Division after winning six straight games by a combined score of 24-10. Winger Claude Giroux leads the Flyers with seven goals and 14 points.
Philadelphia's goaltending situation is an exact replica of Washington's. Because of an injury to starter Michael Leighton, rookie Sergei Bobrovsky has been thrust into the limelight and has performed admirably, sporting an 8-2-0 record, a 2.11 GAA and .927 save percentage. On the opposite of the ice could stand Braden Holtby, who might make his first official NHL start after making his NHL debut Friday in relief of Michal Neuvirth. Holtby made four saves in the third period for his first NHL win.