Last week, the Washington Capitals didn't fare too well against the Western Conference and NHL's best team, the Vancouver Canucks, in a 4-2 defeat. On Tuesday night, the Caps get another chance to make a statement against the East's best team, the Philadelphia Flyers.
For the fifth time in eight games in 2011, the Capitals will face a team equal to or higher than them in the standings; the Flyers currently sit six points ahead of the Capitals in the Eastern Conference standings. In those four games against equal or better competition, the Caps are 1-2-1 with the lone win coming in the Winter Classic against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Washington didn't face one of those teams Sunday in a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. The Caps scored three unanswered goals in the third period to snap their second three-game losing streak.
Washington will be without Alexander Semin (lower body), Eric Fehr (shoulder), Tom Poti (lower body) and Matt Bradley (finger) will not make the three-game road trip, which continues Thursday against the New York Islanders and Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mike Green, however, will make the trip despite missing practice Monday with a cold.
The Capitals have scored just 14 goals since the calendar turned to 2011, but the Flyers have had no such problem, scoring 27 goals since Jan. 1. Philadelphia has won six of seven in January and seven of 10 overall, even without defenseman Chris Pronger, who has been suffering from a foot injury. Pronger will not play Tuesday, but aims to return Thursday against the Senators.