Still no clarity on whether John Carlson will play for the Capitals on Thursday afternoon against the Flyers. The front-runner to win his first Norris Trophy, he led all defensemen with a career-best 75 points.
Carlson did not play in Monday’s game against Tampa after an awkward fall in the Caps’ exhibition game on July 29. In four games against the Flyers, he managed just one assist.
Former Flyer Radko Gudas took Carlson’s place in the lineup on Monday and was paired with Michal Kempny. Here are some other news and notes.
When: Thursday, 4 p.m.
Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto
TV: NBCSP (locally), NBCSN (nationally). Radio: 97.5 FM.
What: Each team’s second game of a three-game round-robin to decide the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference. Entering Wednesday, the Flyers and Tampa Bay are tied at 2 points, Washington is third with 1 point, Boston has 0. Regular-season points percentage will break any ties. That order is Boston, Tampa, Washington, Flyers.
About the Capitals: Lost their round-robin opener in a shootout to Tampa Bay. They rallied from a 2-0 deficit and had several chances to win late, including a breakaway by Jakub Vrana in the 3-on-3 overtime that was denied by Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. ... Gudas, who had earlier stops in his career with Tampa Bay and the Flyers, has been dubbed the mayor of the bubble by his current teammates. The Flyers, Tampa and Washington (along with Boston and Pittsburgh) are staying in the same hotel in Toronto. ... The Capitals gave up the second-most power-play chances during the regular-season. The Flyers PP went 4-for-16 against the Caps.
»READ MORE: Complete Flyers’ coverage on Inquirer.com
Season series: The Flyers went 3-0-1 with decisive victories in the final two meetings. Last season, the Capitals swept the four-game series. ... Eleven different Flyers had goals and Philadelphia held a 16-8 scoring advantage. ... Ivan Provorov and Matt Niskanen each were plus-4. ... For the Caps, John Carlson, Nick Backstrom and Tom Wilson were minus-5, and Alex Ovechkin was minus-4.
The goalies: Braden Holtby started all four games for Washington. He was yanked in the third period on Feb. 8 after giving up seven goals. This is probably the last season in Washington for Holtby, an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. He’s been the Caps’ primary goalie for the last eight years. ... Carter Hart and Brian Elliott split the four games with Hart taking the shootout loss in November. He was terrific that night, making 35 saves. Elliott will start for the Flyers.
From the books: As of Wednesday afternoon, FanDuel had the Capitals favored at -125 with the Flyers at +105. Hate those 20-cent lines. Their over/under was 6.5, but at -110 each way. DraftKings was offering Kevin Hayes +1600 to score the first goal.
The last word: Bruising Capitals forward Tom Wilson was asked about the marked Flyers’ improvement this season. The 6-4, 218-pound winger ran over the question like it was a 5-foot-10 defenseman. “I don’t pay too much attention to that,” he said. “I go out there and see the orange-and-black and it feels the same. They’ve got a core group there that has confidence and always plays a skilled style with some grit. [But] every group each year is different.”