The Philadelphia Flyers are on the road to face the Washington Capitals on Sunday, December 15, 2013. The National Hockey League game will be shown live locally by Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia starting at 3 p.m.
This Metropolitan Division matchup easily classifies as a revenge rematch. While neither team has forgotten about the 7-0 drubbing the Capitals applied at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on November 1, it's likely that a focus on skill, rather than emotion, will be stressed by both benches.
Steve Mason was pulled after allowing three goals through early second period action last month. Ray Emery entered the game and allowed four goals of his own, but is remembered for instigating a fight with Capitals goalie Braden Holtby after Washington's lead had reach seven markers in the third period. That one-sided brawl, numerous other late-game confrontations, team recognition of the lopsided scoreboard embarrassment and Berube's leadership abilities have surely combined to create a winning record (11-6-3) since that moment in time.
Assistant coach Craig Berube inherited Peter Laviolette's Flyers' 0-3 squad on October 7. General manager Paul Holmgren's choice, if it was an independent action, created the head coaching swap and led to natural speculation that further reactionary player moves were in the offing. However, the exchange of Max Talbot for Steve Downie is the only notable roster move to have resulted to-date.
The 'Chief' has guided his team to a 14-12-3 record, which is clearly connected to his emphasis on defense in all zones, at all times by every player. Holmgren's decision to replace Laviolette with Berube was tied to his familiarity with someone who had years of American Hockey League and NHL coaching experience with the organization. The former Flyers' enforcer was the obvious and right choice to make.
While Alex Ovechkin wasn't able to play on the first of November, he will be present today. Having a three-time Hart Trophy winner and the League's leading goal-scorer (26) on the ice obviously matters. Berube will be hoping that his ice men handle number 8 and the rest of his teammates with a controlled, consistent demeanor.