NHL on NBCSN: Flyers seek encore vs. red hot Capitals


NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Washington Capitals host the Philadelphia Flyers at the Verizon Center at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

With a little under half the season left to go, the Flyers are a long shot to make the playoffs, but if they keep playing like they have lately, anything is possible. Philadelphia went 3-1-0 on their recent homestand, including a commanding 7-3 victory over the Atlantic Division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.

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“The home fans get behind us and we like playing here,” Flyers forward Brayden Schenn told CSN Philly. “I’m not sure how much home games we have left this year, but we have to make them count.

“We’re going to go on the road here in Washington. We have to be ready for another hard-fought game. They have great players and the team is playing real well right now. That is a team we are trying to catch.”

Washington will be a big test for the Flyers as they try to build off of their successful four-game stint. The Capitals have been playing like an elite team lately with a 13-1-4 record over their last 18 contests. They didn’t hold a playoff spot when that hot streak started but they now have a five-point cushion in the battle for a postseason berth.

Braden Holtby has been a huge part of the Capitals’ recent success, posting a 1.98 GAA and .935 save percentage over the course of their run. He struggled last season, but rather than change course or at least hedge their bets by getting a netminder that would compete for the starting gig, Washington signed a clear understudy in Justin Peters. At the time Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said it was about sending the right message to Holtby about his role with the team.

Now Holtby’s paying MacLellan back for his trust, although the netminder quick to spread the credit around.

“There hasn’t been a guy in this locker room who hasn’t deserved it on any given night,” Holtby said, per CSN Washington. “We truly believe we have the most depth in the National Hockey League and guys are really defining their roles in how they’re going to help the team win. When you do that, we pass that hat around a lot.”

There certainly will be a lot of other capable talent on the ice and not just on Washington’s side. Between Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek with Philadelphia and Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom with Washington, this contest has no shortage of heavy hitters or potential heroes.

Although Washington has a substantially better record, this is anyone’s game. After all, the Flyers are the only squad that’s managed to beat Washington so far this month and they desperately need another two points tonight.