|You could call this a big game.|
Ilya Bryzgalov is likely to earn the start in Peter Laviolette's goal this evening after winning his last time out. Bryzgalov, who signed a massive free agent deal this offseason, is 23-16-6 on the year with a 2.79 GAA, .898 save percentage, and two shutouts on the year. He made 31 saves the last time he faced the Caps in a dominant win for his team, and is 2-2 against Washington in his career. Philadelphia has two major injuries to deal with in preparing for this game: left winger James van Riemsdyk is out because of foot surgery, while defenseman and captain Chris Pronger will be absent, as he has been since mid December, with severe post-concussion symptoms.
Dale Hunter will be forced to turn to Michal Neuvirth in nets tonight despite the fact that he was lit up for five goals on fifteen shots in his last outing because Tomas Vokoun is currently nursing a lower body injury. Neuvirth is 9-10-3 on the year with a 2.92 GAA, .898 save percentage, and two shutouts, and made 11 saves on 12 shots in a relief appearance against the Flyers the last time these two teams met. On the injury front, the Caps are still missing star centerman Nicklas Backstrom, who has a concussion and has not played in two months. After that debacle on Friday, Hunter has inserted Mike Knuble back into the lineup over Keith Aucoin. Hunter has also, however, kept his defense intact, meaning Roman Hamrlik and John Erskine will again be scratched.
Puck drops 7:09-ish. As always, follow me on Twitter here for news and updates.