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Capitals v. Flyers: What to Watch For

The Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers will face off at 7:00 pm EST on March 13, 2021. The two played last on March 11, 2021, resulting in a 5-3 victory for Washington. Here are some possible key points in the upcoming game.

Roster Adjustments

Lars Eller- Image Courtesy of Getty Images

Washington forward Lars Eller was absent from the roster on the Thursday night game due to family issues. Washington head coach Peter Laviolette opted to play with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, calling defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler up from the Capitals taxi squad. Siegenthaler played just one shift in the last 28 seconds of the game.

It remains unclear if Eller will return for the Saturday night game. Should he miss the game Laviolette may choose to continue with 11 forwards and seven defensemen or he may turn to one of Washington’s prospects to fill Eller’s space on offense.

Flyers forward Michael Raffl remained out of the lineup on Thursday night following his taking a shot to the hand on March 7, 2021. He has been a useful player for the Flyers as he provides consistent physicality and is a helpful presence on the penalty kill. It is unclear if Raffl will return to the roster for the game or if the Flyers will continue to play without him.

Ovechkin is Heating Up

Alexander Ovechkin scored a goal for Washington on Thursday night. It was his ninth goal of the season and his 715th goal of his career.

Image Courtesy of AP Photo

Though nine goals in 22 games is a great statistic for most players, Ovechkin is not most players. He has had a slow start to the season scoring-wise but appears to be picking up his pace. He has goals in two of the last three games.

Ovechkin has also appeared to be skating harder and making more plays in recent games than at the beginning of the season. His ice time every game has increased and he has been generating more shots on goal. Additionally, he has been important in generating chances for Washington on the powerplay.

Opposing teams always need to watch for Ovechkin, but the Flyers need to be careful in the coming game as he is gaining steam and improving his play.

Playing the Full 60 Minutes

Both teams struggled with playing well for the full 60 minutes on Thursday night.

The Capitals had a strong first two periods. They scored four goals and saw defenseman John Carlson record his 500th career point. They allowed one Flyers goal in the first period but had all of the momentum entering the third period with a 4-1 lead.

The Flyers on the other hand had a very slow first 40 minutes of the game. Travis Konecny was able to net one for Philadelphia, but they were otherwise unproductive. Sloppy plays led to turnovers which led to goals for the Capitals. The Flyers looked slow and were being outplayed by the Capitals.

The third period brought a change in play. The Flyers scored two goals, bringing the score to a much closer 4-3. Capitals fans flashed back to their Tuesday night game against the New Jersey Devils where a 4-1 lead turned into a 4-4 tie in the third period.

Fortunately for Washington, they were able to hold onto the lead. An impressive 185- foot empty netter by forward Nic Dowd put the Capitals up 5-3 and landed goaltender Ilya Samsonov his first career assist.

Though Washington was able to hang onto the win they still need to focus on playing all three periods well. In the East Division, there are five teams with .600 or better winning percentages, but there are only four playoff spots. There is no space to fall apart at any point in the game.

The Flyers also need work on playing the whole game. Where there is no space to give up late goals, there is also no space to have slow starts to games. Both teams will try to play the full 60 minutes when they next face-off, so watch out for a high-scoring and physical game.

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