Flyers preview: Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals, rematch with Islanders highlight coming week
This week's trivia question is inspired by the scorching start by Washington defenseman John Carlson.
The Washington Capitals, who won all four games against the Flyers last season, are the first of Philadelphia’s three opponents this week.
Defenseman John Carlson has been a monster for the Caps with 29 points in 19 games, including a league-best 21 assists. While it’s unlikely he’ll maintain his pace of 125 points for the season, he could make a run at 100. So let’s start with some trivia.
Name the five defensemen to post 100-point seasons. Hint: All have occurred since 1969-70. Answer below.
Game 18 - Wednesday vs. Washington, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
About the Capitals: Had a 6-game winning streak snapped Monday with a 4-3 loss to Arizona in a shootout. Trailed by 3-0 and did well to force overtime, giving them 12 straight games with a point (10-0-2). ... Russian center Evgeny Kuznetsov has three goals and six assists in the last nine games. ... LW Carl Hagelin has missed the last two games with an upper-body injury. ... In 29 games against the Flyers when Sean Couturier is in the lineup, Alex Ovechkin is -14. The Caps own a 14-9-6 mark in that span, however. (See chart below.)
Where they stand: 13-2-4, atop the Metropolitan Division with an NHL-best 30 points, eight ahead of the Flyers.
Game 19 - Friday at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSP+)
About the Senators: Got trashed by Carolina on Monday, 8-2, as goalie Anders Nilsson gave up four goals in 32 minutes. Nilsson had just been named player of the week for last week, when he was 3-0 with a .950 save percentage. ... Ottawa has the worst power play in hockey with four goals in 61 chances. The power play is 0-for-13 over the last four games. ... Cherry Hill native Bobby Ryan, 32, played Monday after being a healthy scratch in four of the previous six.
Where they stand: 6-10-1, tied with Detroit for the fewest points in the East, though the Sens have two games in hand on the Red Wings.
Game 20 - Saturday vs. N.Y. Islanders, 7 p.m. (NBCSP)
About the Islanders: Another one of the hottest teams in hockey with a point in 12 straight games (11-0-1). Their only loss was in overtime Thursday against Pittsburgh when they blew a three-goal lead ... Thumped the Flyers, 5-3, in a game that wasn’t as close as the score. ... Jordan Eberle returned to the lineup Saturday after a lower-body injury caused him to miss 10 games, including the first meeting with the Flyers. Eberle is the right winger on the top line alongside Anders Lee and center Mathew Barzal, who has 13 points in the last 12 games and is +13 in that span. ... Are 20th in power-play rankings, but have just 28 chances in 16 games, easily the fewest in the NHL. Next closest is Tampa Bay with 42 chances.
Where they stand: 12-3-1 (25 points), second place in the Metro and three points ahead of the Flyers.
Last week, Nov. 4-10
The Flyers went 4-0 for the week, beating Carolina and Montreal in overtime and Toronto and Boston in shootouts. They went from 5th place in the Metropolitan Division to 3rd, and from 10th place in the conference to 4th.
Our three stars for the week: Sean Couturier, Carter Hart, Travis Konecny
This week in Flyers history
Nov. 14, 1985: Minor leaguer Darren Jensen made 29 saves to lead the Flyers over the mighty Edmonton Oilers in the first game after goaltender Pelle Lindbergh’s death. The game was preceded by a gripping 22-minute ceremony. ″One time, Darren admitted to me that he was in tears behind his mask," Jensen’s wife, Michelle, told The Inquirer this week. “That was his friend. That was his mentor.”
» Coming Wednesday: More on Darren Jensen’s unforgettable night
The Flyers will see Alexander Ovechkin for the first time this season. Here’s a look at how the Caps star has fared in various splits:
The five defensemen to post 100-point seasons are Bobby Orr (six times), Paul Coffey (5), Brian Leetch, Al MacInnis and Denis Potvin (one each).
He said it
“I didn’t have a choice. Nobody wanted to hire me.”
Flyers coach Alain Vigneault on the decision to not coach last season after he was fired by the Rangers following the 2017-18 campaign.