Nothing was going to stand in front of the Flyers tonight; not even the absence of the NHL's leading scorer.
With Claude Giroux back in Philadelphia nursing a concussion, the Flyers offense erupted in a 5-1 win over the Washington Capitals on the road. It was the first Flyers win in Washington since the 2009 season.
Stepping into the centering role on the Flyers hottest line was eighth round draft pick Sean Couturier. Without Giroux, the top line didn't skip a beat when Scott Hartnell found twine for the sixth straight game, giving the Flyers an early 1-0 lead.
Hartnell's tally was his 15th on the season, good for second on the Flyers.
But it was also a milestone goal for the 29-year-old left-winner. It was the 200th goal for Hartnell, who tossed a soft shot at the net that got through Washington goalie Thomas Vokoun's five-hole.
The Washington Capitals (12-11-1) haven't played bad under new coach Dale Hunter, but they haven't played well either.
Despite the 1-3 record under their new boss, the Capitals just want to show what they can do when they execute in all aspects of the game, offensively, defensively and in goal.
Caps defenseman Dennis Wideman said it best after practice on Tuesday, "We haven’t been able to put a game together where we get good goaltending, the [defense] plays well and we score goals in a long time."
"We’re not putting everything together right now.”
Under Hunter's lead, the Caps have lost three one-goal games ...
It wasn't news to anyone that the NHL would be setting up a new realignment plan for the 2012-2013 season. Plenty of speculation went into this idea as to how it would effect the current Eastern and Western Conferences. The Winnipeg Jets, although presently in the East, seemed to be a team that would make much more sense in the West. Rumors began to run that the Detroit Red Wings would move to the Eastern Conference, or even quite possibly the Nashville Predators.
The bigger question, and one that still looms over the hearts of many fans out in the desert, is whether or not the Phoenix Coyotes will still be in any Conference next year. They are currently in what seems to be the final year of their lease agreement after almost being relocated this past summer. There's still a good possibility that they might be relocated in the near future as well, but all of that remains in limbo as the 2012 season moves forward.
However, the NHL and it's Board of Governors could not wait to see what happens in Phoenix and passed a very dramatic change to the current alignment. The Eastern and Western Conferences will ultimately be removed next year; the standard two conferences that consist of 15 teams will become four conferences with either seven or eight teams in each one.
The Caps were listless in the first 40 minutes in South Florida, but woke up just in time to give the home-standing Panthers a scare on Monday night.
The Panthers jumped all over Dale Hunter and the visiting Caps with a three-goal spree in the first period on goals by Stephen Weiss, Mike Santorelli and Dmitry Kulikov. Mike Knuble answered late in the first for the Caps to make it 3-1 'Cats at the end of the first.
Michal Neuvirth, getting the start in place of ex-Panther Tomas Vokoun, wasn't very good. He allowed three goals on 11 shots in the first, including a softy to Santorelli, but didn't get much help from the team in front of him eith...
Three games into the Dale Hunter era, the Capitals are 1-2-0. But it's easy to look too hard at the numbers and not the on-ice product so far in Hunter's tenure.
The Caps have been forechecking more aggressively than they ever did under former coach Bruce Boudreau. They have worked on Hunter's system that involves limiting odd-man rushes and using the walls to create them the other way. The goaltending has stabilized, the defense is improving.
These are all good things. All things to build on going forward rather than fretting over the record. Regardless, Hunter's system will take time for the Caps to adjust and adapt to.
New coach, same story for the Washington Capitals in the month of November.
Matt D'Agostini's wrap-around goal at the 8:54 mark of the second period put the visiting St. Louis Blues up 2-1, a lead that they wouldn't surrender.
Nicklas Backstrom opened the scoring for the homestanding Caps with his 8th goal of the season at 10:15 of the first. His goal was met with a response about five minutes later from the Blues and T.J. Oshie.
D'Agostini gave the Blues the lead in the second period with a great individual effort. He blasted a slapshot that handcuffed Tomas Vokoun, then collected the rebound and whee...
After a hot 7-0 start to the season, the Washington Capitals and their sky-high expectations were off and running.
Then the rest of the league caught up, sending the Capitals into tailspin searching for answers, a tailspin that included a 5-7-1 November record, with just one game left on Tuesday.
The scapegoat of the tailspin is coach Bruce Boudreau, who was relived of his coaching duties early Monday. Former Caps captain Dale Hunter has been named head coach, he was present at practice on Monday afternoon.
Boudreau will be a tough act to follow, however, as he led the Caps to the playoffs in each of his four full sea...
After opening up a 3-0 lead on the road, the New York Rangers never looked back.
Ruslan Fedotenko scored twice for New York, who also got goals from Brad Richards, Artem Anisimov, Marian Gaborik and Brian Boyle to defeat the Washington Capitals 6-3 on Black Friday at Verizon Center.
The Rangers opened up a 3-0 lead early in the second period lead thanks to goals from Gaborik, Fedotenko and Anisimov.
Washington responded with back-to-back goals from Troy Brouwer and John Carlson to come within a goal at 3-2 at 12:52 of the second period. But a Brian Boyle goal off a brutal turnover by Marcus Johansson in his own zone stretched the Ranger lead to 4-2 before the...