The Philadelphia Flyers are looking to rebound against the Washington Capitals tonight after a horrific third period collapse against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. The puck is set to drop at 7:00 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center.
HAVE TO PLAY FOR ALL 60 MINUTES
The Flyers have been notorious for not playing an entire game this season. They come out strong in the first and second period every game, but seem to coast their way through the third period. The most recent evidence of this is the Flyers' third period collapse from Tuesday night after the Ducks from a 2-0 deficit in the first period to win 3-2. The Ducks scored two of their goals in the third period.
Steve Mason has clearly become the teams number one goaltender, but there is only so much he can do. He has been the main reason why the Flyers have been in contention each game he has played. However, the players in front of him need to step it up. Defensive pairings have been switched up and, while it has improved the blue line performance, it hasn't helped much in the third period. The four lines have been switched up, for mainly offensive purposes, but they have also failed to provide any defensive help.
Mason can't do it alone and the Flyers not showing up for the third period is hurting them all over the place. When they show up for the third, they win games. The Flyers will go nowhere this season if they only play 40 minutes instead of the full 60.
ALEX OVECHKIN OUT WITH AN INJURY
This could… should… make a huge difference for the Flyers and give them an advantage. Ovechkin is the Captials' leading scorer with 10 goals. The next closest scorer in Mikhail Grabovski with five goals. Ovechkin missing from the lineup will surely hurt the Capitals.
The Flyers have to take advantage of this and make sure their defense doesn't break down, especially in the third period.
STEVE DOWNIE'S RETURN
Downie was drafted by the Flyers in the first round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft as the 29th overall pick. He made his debut for the Flyers in 2007 and played in 32 games that season. He scored six goals and tallied six assists during his rookie year. Downie was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2008-09 season in the Matt Carle deal.
Downie is mostly known for his physical, undisciplined play. It's what has earned him 696 career penalty minutes and his one-ticket straight out of Philly back in 2008. However, he does produce on the offensive side of the puck as well. His best years were in Tampa Bay when he was playing with Vinny Lecavalier.
Comcast SportsNet's Flyers analyst Rick Tocchet, Downie's coach in Tampa Bay, said that Downie is a momentum changer and a top-six forward. With Downie being a right-hander, will likely be playing on the right wing of the second line in his debut against the Capitals.
WHO IS STARTING BETWEEN THE PIPES?
Steve Mason will get the start tonight. It will be his 10th start of the season. Mason has been playing well despite his 3-6 record. He has been keeping the Flyers in contention each game he has played, but the players in front of him have failed to help on defense, especially in the third period.
So far this season, Mason has posted a .928 save percentage and a 2.25 goals against average.
With this being his 10th start in 12 games, expect Ray Emery to get the start tomorrow against the New Jersey Devils.
KEEP AN EYE ON VINNY
Vinny Lecavalier is on a hot streak right now. He has scored four goals in two games with one of the games being a hat trick. He is the team leader in goals and points. Against the Capitals, Lecavalier averages just under a point per game. In the 77 games he has played against the Capitals, he has scored 34 goals and tallied 36 assists for 70 points.
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