Laich lifts Caps Over Flyers! 5-3

Brooks Laich has a monster day as the Caps win 5-3 over the Flyers. (AP Photo)

Brooks Laich has a monster day as the Caps win 5-3 over the Flyers. (AP Photo)

When the Caps last met the Flyers, the blood had to be squeegeed off the ice. The December 5th 8-2 smackdown might have been the nadir of the Flyers’ season, and we sorta knew they’d bring everything they had to today’s faceoff. Unfortunately for the Flyers, that “everything” included goalie Ray Emery. By the end of the first period, the Caps had figured out the Philly netminder and began a steady treacle of goals for all sixty minutes. Notably, Brooks Laich emerged from a long goalless streak (in regulation at least) to drive two pucks behind Emery. Caps win, 5 to 3.

Let’s break it down:

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The Washington Capitals suit up to play the Philadelpha Flyers today at Verizon Center.  And wouldn’t you just know it?  We’ve got some injuries.
  • John Erskine is still out with an upper-body injury. Erskine (pictured below) hasn’t played since the Thrashers game on the 9th. Johnny hasn’t been a bit off since around Christmas, so we’re hoping this rest will give him a chance to recharge his batteries.
    John Erskine and his flesh-colored hair are out tonight.

    John Erskine and his flesh-colored hair are out tonight.

  • Brian Pothier didn’t skate at yesterday’s practice at Kettler, so we suspect he’ll be out again tonight.  Pothier sustained a rib injury during the Panthers game earlier this week. That leaves us with two D-men missing in the line-up.
  • So here comes Captain America himself: John Carlson. The star of the WJC had a pretty good game (2 shots) against the Leafs on Friday, and he’ll probably play tonight. Does anyone else get the feeling we’re looking at the future of the franchise?
  • Hershey Bear Karl Alzner will probably rejoin the Caps next week, but until then we’ll probably have to make do with Tyler Sloan on a D-pairing. After that, Tyler can get back to earning a massive paycheck for doing pretty much nothing.
  • Russian machine Alexander Semin was a gametime decision on Friday night. While his wrist continues to bug him, he got the clean bill of health and snatched up two points. He’ll probably be on the ice tonight, and he’ll certainly get a hat trick.  He’s due.
  • Wednesday’s pugilists, Shaone Morrisonn and Jason Chimera, sustained no injuries from their (totally awesome) fights. Chimera came to the defense of a battered John Carlson at the end of the Leafs game and could have faced suspension for an instigator penalty in the last five minutes. The white wizards of the north in Toronto decided that this wasn’t a case of thuggery and message-sending, and will not be enforcing that suspension. Chimera will be playing tonight.
  • Finally, Semyon Varlamov remains on the mend, nursing an MCL sprain. We’d love to see him by Thursday’s Pens game, but we’ll probably have to wait until next weekend. At least he won’t have to hang himself.

This afternoon’s matinee begins at 3 PM. The Philadelpha Flyers continue to be a team in crisis, but I wouldn’t count them out. There’s something honorable in their struggle. Of all the Caps’ rivalries, the Flyers are the only team I WOULD pee on if they were on fire.