1. Through two games, the Caps have had an edge in physical play, with a slight advantage in hits (which isn't a good thing in and of itself) and a bigger advantage in memorable and impactful ones:
Sayeth the Captain:
"If you don’t have an opportunity to do something else, you play physical." On Ovechkin: https://t.co/hTDJUxitkH— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) April 17, 2016
All of that has the Flyers looking to up their physicality:
McDonald, who had a goal in five games with Flyers earlier this season, is 6-2, 220 and would give them much-needed size if he plays.— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) April 17, 2016
Brayden Schenn on Ovi: "He took a run at me (Sat). He's always looking for that big hit and we have to try and lay a licking on him."— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) April 17, 2016
Yes, Brayden, focus on that. And, while you're at it, ask last year's Islanders (or anyone else) how that tends to work out.
2. The Caps have scored six goals in two games; Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson have combined for seven assists. All three Caps' power-play tallies have been assisted by both slick Swedes, and of the three other goals, Johansson had the primary assist on one (Jay Beagle's Game 1 insurance tally) and Backstrom scored another (the icing-on-the-cake fourth marker in Game 2). In other words, one or both of these guys has had a hand in every goal that the Caps have scored from inside the Flyers' zone so far.
That's tremendous production from both men, and perhaps particularly surprising coming from Johansson, based on his historical playoff performances:
Marcus Johansson has as many assists in the first two games of this series (4) as he'd had in his previous 30 playoff games.— Japers' Rink (@JapersRink) April 17, 2016
And with four points in two games, Backstrom is half-way to the eight he posted in 14 games last spring.
3. In their first home game since the passing of their beloved owner Ed Snider, the Flyers will look to draw upon what will certainly be an emotional pregame for inspiration:
Ed Snider's initials on the ice behind each goal pic.twitter.com/Mx1y71OKh6— Adam Kimelman (@NHLAdamK) April 18, 2016
But really, Philly already has all the motivation they need in what amounts to a must-win. As Claude Giroux knows...