The Philadelphia Flyers return from the All-Star Break Wednesday night to take on the Washington Capitals on the road at 8 p.m. Both teams should be well rested — neither have played since last Thursday.
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Line Combinations: Courtesy of Daily Faceoff
Philadelphia: Flyers Line Combinations
The big storyline heading into this game for the Flyers is the promotion of Nolan Patrick into the top six. Along with the new responsibility, the rookie adds Jake Voracek to his wing. The Czech will play on the left side instead of his natural right, where Wayne Simmonds remains. In a corresponding move, Valtteri Filppula and Jordan Weal will slide down to the third line with Michael Raffl. Brian Elliott was retroactively put on injured reserve yesterday, giving Michal Neuvirth the start with Alex Lyon as the backup. Dale Weise, Taylor Leier and Mark Alt remain healthy scratches.
Claude Giroux – Sean Couturier – Travis Konecny
Jake Voracek – Nolan Patrick – Wayne Simmonds
Jordan Weal – Valtteri Filppula – Michael Raffl
Jori Lehtera – Scott Laughton – Tyrell Goulbourne
Ivan Provorov – Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hagg – Andrew MacDonald
Brandon Manning – Radko Gudas
Washington: Capitals Line Combinations
There was a chance Evgeny Kuznetsov could have missed tonight’s game after leaving Thursday’s game with an injury, but coach Barry Trotz confirmed the center will play. Naturally, Alex Ovechkin is the player to look out for on the Capitals’ roster, but John Carlson is making a Norris Trophy case for himself this year and center Lars Eller provides depth on the third line with 23 points in 48 games.
Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Tom Wilson
Andre Burakovsky – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Chandler Stephenson – Lars Eller – Brett Connolly
Alex Chiasson – Jay Beagle – Devante Smith-Pelley
Christian Djoos – John Carlson
Matt Niskanen – Dmitri Orlov
Brooks Orpik – Madison Bowey
THREE STORYLINES TO WATCH
Over the past few weeks, Michal Neuvirth has really turned it on and has had better games than Brian Elliott over that stretch. With Elliott sidelined for a short time, Neuvirth has a perfect opportunity to grab the starter’s role. Unfortunately, for the Czech netminder, moments like these are when he typically struggles. His last game before the All-Star break was a 5-1 handling from the Lightning. He’ll need better results starting tonight against his former team.
All eyes will be on the Flyers’ second line tonight, but it will be important to see what the third line can do. Filppula has regressed this season, but both Raffl and Weal can drive play. However, scoring may be hard to come by since there’s no true goal-scorer. Philly had three balanced lines before, but the team’s clearly stacking the top two now. If the third produces, the Flyers will be golden.
As mentioned earlier, Philly lost 5-1 in their last game. The team suffered losses by that score twice during January and rattled off four wins both times after the setback. While that seems like an odd formula, it’s working. This time, though, the Flyers had a long break since their last loss and it’s not as fresh in their mind. It will be interesting to see if that helps or hurts the team.