Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Gameday: vs. Philadelphia, Mar. 4

You could call this a big game.
The Washington Capitals will welcome the Philadelphia Flyers to Verizon Center this evening as they look to get back on the horse following a humiliating 5-0 loss to the Devils on Friday night.  The Caps are 4-6 in their last ten games and 32-27-5 overall for 69 standings points in 64 games.  As a result, they are third in the Southeast Division, one point behind the Jets with two games in hand and three points behind the Panthers, and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers, on the other hand, are 5-5 in their last ten and 35-21-7 overall for 77 standings points in 63 games.  That places them third in the Atlantic Division and fifth overall in the East.  This is the third of four regular season meetings between these two clubs; they have split their two meetings so far with each team taking a win in dominating fashion inside the other's building.

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.

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