The Philadelphia Flyers, struggling to stay in first place in the Patrick Division, and the Washington Capitals, close enough to dream of a Norris Division playoff berth, clash at Capital Centre today at 1:30.
The game is sold out, except for a few high-up signle seates, and will be televised by WTOP-TV-9. It will be the second game to be shown locally.
The teams battled to an exciting 4-4 tie here Dec. 3, then the Flyes resorted to their familiar tactics of intimidation in gaining a 5-2 decision in-Philadelphia Dec. 23. Washington's Bryan Watson was attacked by three different Flyers in that game.
Philadelphia will be minus one mugger today, Jack McIlhargey having been shipped to Vancouver, along with Larry Goodenough, in the deal that put 6-foot-5 Bob Dailey on Philadelphia's back line. McIhargey's departure leaves Philadelphia with only one 100-plus penalty man, Paul Holmgren, who has served 122 minutes.
Holmgren, ejected for his assault on Watson in Philadelphia, wears a shield to protect a damaged eye. St. Lois general manager Emile Francis has proposed that Holmgren receive a game misconduct any time he becomes involved in a fight, because of the elaborate protective gear that renders him relatively immune from retaliation.
This is the fourth in a series of Sunday afternoon games that have proven most successful for the Capitals. They defeated St. Louis twice and battled the New York Islanders to a 2-2 tie.
As usual, both teams will be facing a difficult physicial assignment, having played the night before. The Capitals have the tougher task, since they were scheduled for a 3 a.m. arrival from St. Louis. The Flyes were traveling from Pittsburgh.
This is the Capitals' last home game until Feb. 15. In the interim, they are scheduled for visits to Los Angeles, the New York Islanders, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Toronto. The Los Angeles game is a most important one, since the Capitals trailed the third-place Kings by only seven points entering last night's action. Three teams in each division earn the right to play for the Stanley Cup.