Saturday, December 05, 2009

Caps @ Flyers 12-5-2009 Preview

Washington Capitals (17-11; 40 points) @ Philadelphia Flyers (13-12; 27 points):
Caps Game #29, Road Game #15, NHL Game #419

Wachoiva Center, Philadelphia, PA 7:05 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WFED 1500-AM. Philadelphia  TV: Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. Radio: WWIP 610-AM.  NHL Center Ice: Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic feeds.

Tonight, the Caps look to extend their three game winning streak when they start a three game road trip by visiting the Philadelphia Flyers for the final time this season.  The Caps were in the city of Brotherly Love back in October and lost a wild 6-5 game in overtime.  The Caps pulled off a 4-2 win 23 days later at the Phone Booth in the two team's last meeting.  We're sure you've heard that the Flyers have lost their last three games in a row and six of their last seven.  That along with being shutout back to back games at the hands of Atlanta last Saturday night and Vancouver at home on Thursday conspired to cost John Stevens his job as Head Coach of the Philadelphia Flyers.  Peter Laviolette makes his debut as Flyers Head Coach tonight in Stevens' place.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)PostTimes.  Caps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.comAP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Philadelphia Daily News: coach firedunhappy camper, new voice.  Philadelphia Inquirer: coaching change, great expectations.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

Well folks, we have to say, we just don't know.  When a team fires its head coach, the team can either rally around each other and turn things around or they could fall completely apart.  When John Stevens took over for Ken Hitchcock in Philadelphia in 2006, he was not able to prevent the Flyers from posting their worst record in franchise history.  When Glen Hanlon took over for Bruce Cassidy (and the Sundance Kid), it was only the first step of a firesale that the Caps would hold in 2004.  Yet we all know what Bruce Boudreau was able to accomplish with the Caps mired in the bottom of the standings three years ago and many Flyers fans are deluding themselves with visions that Peter Laviolette will be their Dan Bylsma that leads them to the Stanley Cup after a mid-season changing change.  However, unless the NHL provides the Flyers with as much assistance as they did the Penguin Scum, that just isn't going to happen.  It should go without saying that the Flyers will be a better hockey team if Laviolette can breathe some life into the team.  However, things are not as bad as they may seem for Philadelphia.  Yes, the Flyers are currently in tenth place but they are only two points behind the 8th place New York Islanders and they have three games in hand.  We don't think that a coaching change will help the Flyers in the long run if there are locker room problems and the roster is constructed with little regard to the long view (sound familiar kids?).  But as it relates for the game tonight, we're really unsure of which Flyers team is going to show up.  In typical dysfunctional Philadelphia Flyers fashion, Stevens was dismissed well after yesterday's practice had ended and Laviolette is meeting his team for the first time this morning at the morning skate.  Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren also took the classy road in notifying most of the players about the post-practice coaching change via text message.  With all that turmoil going on, the one thing that would surprise tonight would be if the game was close.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 2
Flyers 6
Winner by Richards
(13-15 on the season with one perfect game)

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