NHL: Losses, injuries mounting as Flyers, Capitals look for answers
Two teams that are in the middle of lengthy losing streaks and battling to stay out of the Metropolitan Division cellar face off on Wednesday when the Philadelphia Flyers travel to Washington to play the Capitals.
Philadelphia has lost seven in a row (0-5-2) while the Capitals are winless in four straight (0-3-1). Only Columbus (15) has fewer points in the Metro than the Flyers (18) and the Capitals (17).
Washington, which has a six-game road trip on the horizon after a Friday home game with Calgary, could get All-Star right wing TJ Oshie and defenseman Dmitry Orlov back from lower-body injuries. They took part in full practices this week but head coach Peter Laviolette wouldn’t put a firm date on their return.
“We’re still trying to push these guys to get them back to where they need to be,” Laviolette said. “So I’d rather stay away from commenting one way or the other until we know for sure.”
Washington will have had four days to regroup since suffering a 4-0 home loss to defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado on Saturday. The Capitals have won just twice (2-6-3) in their last 11 games.
“Yeah, it’s very frustrating,” forward Marcus Johansson said. “I feel like we’re such a good hockey team and it’s kind of gotten into our heads a little bit, and we’ve just got to work through it.
“This team can beat any team in this league and I think we’ve shown that. We’ve played some unbelievable hockey at times, we just have to do it for 60 minutes. … Just have to dig in. That’s the only way out of this.”
Philadelphia hasn’t won since a 5-1 victory over St. Louis on Nov. 8. The rebuilding Flyers have been hit by a number of key injuries, including one to leading scorer Travis Konecny (upper body), who has missed the past two games and is expected to be sidelined another 10 days to two weeks. Konecny has 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in just 17 games.
Forward Scott Laughton (upper body) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday and is expected to miss two more weeks. Forwards Wade Allison (hip pointer/oblique), Cam Atkinson (upper body) and James van Riemsdyk (finger surgery) are also out for a couple more weeks while center Sean Couturier had back surgery on Oct. 27 and will miss 3-4 months.
“It’s a monstrous hole for us, but it is what it is,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said of Konecny’s loss. “I think it’s a great situation for some guys to be put in, in some more offensive situations that maybe they haven’t been in because of the ice time that ‘TK’ has gotten.”
Philadelphia comes in off a 5-2 home loss to Calgary on Monday. The Flyers cut it to 3-2 on a goal by Joel Farabee midway through the third period but the Flames sealed the victory with a pair of empty-net goals. Ramus Andersson scored what proved to be the game-winner in the second period with a shot that deflected in off Farabee’s stick.
“The effort is there,” Farabee said. “I think if the effort is not there then we have an issue. Guys are playing hard. We’re blocking shots. We’re doing the right things. Sometimes you’ve got to stick with it. Sometimes this thing can turn the other way and we can go on a heater. Obviously we’ve got a big game at Washington and we’ll focus on that.”
–Field Level Media