Flyers-Capitals preview: Will the roll continue?

Flyers Red Wings Hockey
Rookie Nolan Patrick will center the Flyers’ second line with Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds on the wings against Washington Wednesday night.

Flyers (24-17-8) at Capitals (29-15-5)

WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesday

WHERE: Capital One Arena


SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Twitter, @BroadStBull @samdonnellon

KEY PLAYERS: With Brian Elliott still sidelined with an undisclosed injury, Michal Neuvirth, coming off an illness, will start in goal. Neuvirth was shaky in the Flyers’ last outing before the all-star break, surrendering five goals on just 22 shots without making one memorable stop. Meanwhile Alex Lyon, called up from Lehigh Valley to back him up, has a 2.14 goals-against average and .936 save percentage over his last eight games. Should the 25-year-old Yale man get a start in one of the three games the Flyers play over the next four days, it would be his NHL debut. In constant search of more balanced scoring, Flyers coach Dave Hakstol has recreated the second line with Nolan Patrick at center between Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds. Patrick, who struggled early in the season with quickness and balance, has looked much better of late. The effects of offseason core muscle surgery might be lessening. Washington forward Nicklas Backstrom needs two goals to reach 200 for his career. Teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov has five points over his last five games, but also has been suffering from a groin injury. He is expected to play. He is minus-6 against the Flyers this season.

THINGS TO KNOW: The Flyers will play three games over the next four days, against the Caps, New Jersey and Ottawa. With their 3-1 victory over Buffalo on Tuesday, the Devils stand two points ahead of the Flyers in the third playoff spot of the Metropolitan Division. The Flyers hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot by a point over the Rangers and Islanders, who lost, 4-1, to Florida on Tuesday. The Flyers have played three fewer games than the Islanders, one fewer than the Rangers. There is only a seven-point cushion between Washington, atop the Metro with 63 points, and that last playoff spot held by the Flyers. Just the way the NHL likes it.

HEAD TO HEAD: The Flyers have won the first two matchups between these teams: an 8-2 thrashing at the Wells Fargo Center on Oct. 14, and a 2-1 victory in Washington 10 days ago in which Travis Konecny scored in overtime. The teams will play once more before the postseason, March 18 at the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers are 126-97-19 all-time against the Capitals, including a 51-56-13 road record.


Thursday at New Jersey, 7 p.m.

Saturday vs. Ottawa, 1 p.m.