The Capitals have started a season 5-0 for the first time in the franchise’s 37-year history, but they know that a lighter schedule has had a hand in that, having played those five games in 12 days.
Over the next three nights, though, Washington takes a road trip to Philadelphia on Thursday then faces perennial contender Detroit on Saturday. If there’s ever an opportunity for the Capitals to make a statement by keeping their unblemished record rolling, it’s these two games.
“You can look at the schedule and look at a 5-0 start and say you haven’t lost, but last night’s game [Florida] played three in four — [played] Monday night and traveled — stats don’t tell the whole story all the time,” Brooks Laich said. “It’s a good test tomorrow. The two teams that we’re playing tomorrow and Saturday are a combined 8-0-1, they’re going to be top teams all year long. It’s a good measuring stick.”
The Flyers average the most goals per game in the league with 3.8 (Washington isn’t far behind at 3.4) while Detroit has given up only five goals against for a league-best mark of 1.25 per game.
Philadelphia may not be “totally classified as the Broad Street Bullies,” as Coach Bruce Boudreau put it, after making significant changes to their roster this season. They traded away both Mike Richards and Jeff Carter and added several players, including Ilya Bryzgalov and Jaromir Jagr. But that doesn’t mean the Flyers don’t still own their identity as a physically imposing team.
“You want to see where you’re at different stages of the season, and early on, this is at least going to see where we’re at,” Boudreau said. “We’ll know whether we’ve got a lot, lot more work to do or whether we’re on the right track.”