Two of the NHL's hottest teams clash Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
The Flyers (10-5-2) welcome the Capitals (13-2-4) for the first of four regular-season matchups between the Metropolitan Division clubs.
Complete coverage of the Philadelphia Flyers and their rivals in the NHL from NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Let's get into the essentials:
• When: 7:30 p.m. ET
• Where: Wells Fargo Center
• Broadcast: NBC Sports Network
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com
• Flyers-Capitals games are always intense and this one will have a different feeling for Matt Niskanen, even though the defenseman was reserved Tuesday when talking about the matchup.
"I was aware of who we're playing," Niskanen said.
The 32-year-old played 390 games for Washington and won the 2018 Stanley Cup with the Capitals. Wednesday will be his first game against his former club since being traded to the Flyers in June (see story).
Niskanen put up 29 goals, 127 asssists and a plus-58 rating in Washington, where he played 70 playoff games.
"We had a good group in my time there, won a lot of games," he said. "Two years ago was pretty special. Good group. ... I'm guessing it's going to feel weird once I see them on the other side in warmups. For now, try to win the game."
Niskanen has been excellent for the Flyers, who are off to their best start since the 2011-12 season.
Was Niskanen a go-to guy in the Flyers' pre-scout of the Capitals?
"There are some things that aren't really a secret," Niskanen said. "How their power play runs, for example, I think everybody in the country knows what they're going to do. But there's a tip here or there maybe."
• The Flyers made a statement last weekend by sweeping a back-to-back road set against the Maple Leafs and Bruins.
Things do not get easier as they return home.
The Capitals lead the NHL with 30 points and are on a 12-game point streak (10-0-2) in which they've outscored the opposition 54-35.
Washington is scoring four goals per game, most in hockey, and is 8-1-1 on the road.
Head coach Alain Vigneault sounded excited to see how the Flyers stack up against the Capitals. Vigneault's team is playing well, too, as the Flyers are on a six-game point streak (5-0-1) and have gone 8-2-1 since Oct. 21.
"We talked to Nisky about them this morning and we've got quite a task ahead of us," Vigneault said Tuesday. "Not only are they playing extremely well, but they're a team that knows how to win. I'm looking forward to this game. It's going to be a good matchup for us, we're playing some good hockey lately. We'll be tested and I'm anxious to see how we're going to respond."
• At home, the Flyers are 6-1-1, scoring four goals per game and haven't allowed a power play goal since Oct. 21.
• Capitals defenseman John Carlson leads all NHL blueliners in points with 29 (eight goals, 21 assists).
Great guy, great teammate. It's going to be different playing against him. Obviously going to have to keep our head up, we know what he's able to do.
- Sean Couturier on playing against former Flyer and current Capital Radko Gudas
James van Riemsdyk-Claude Giroux-Joel Farabee
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
Carsen Twarynski-Kevin Hayes-Jakub Voracek
Andy Andreoff-Michael Raffl-Tyler Pitlick
Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Shayne Gostisbehere-Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers
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