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Flyers-Caps preview: Philly starts daunting 8-game homestand Thurs.

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Martin Jones Philadelphia Flyers
Philadelphia Flyer goaltender Martin Jones will be aiming for his first win since Dec. 29 when his team hosts the Capitals on Thursday.

Since the franchise started in 1967-68, the Philadelphia Flyers have never had a homestand that lasted eight games.

Until now.

They start an eight-game homestand Thursday against the Washington Capitals (27-15-9), a team that is led by a scoring machine named Alex Ovechkin, who is among the NHL leaders with 31 goals.

For the Philadelphia Flyers (15-24-9), the homestand looks, uh, what’s the word?

Daunting.

The eight games: Washington, Carolina, St. Louis, Washington again, Edmonton, Minnesota, Chicago, and Vegas.

Five of the games are against teams who have the league’s top 11 records. Six of the games are against teams with a winning percentage over .617. Seven of the games are against teams with winning records.

In other words, just because the Flyers get to stay home for nearly three weeks, this will be an ultra-difficult homestand, especially for an injury-ravaged team that has less wins than Dave Hakstol’s expansion Seattle Kraken.

The Flyers are 8-11-4 at home, while the Capitals are 15-5-4 on the road, the league’s second-best away record.

Storylines

The Flyers, who blew a late two-goal lead and lost Tuesday in Pittsburgh, will be trying to shut down Ovechkin and the Caps for the second time this season. In the teams’ first and only meeting thus far, the Flyers scored a 2-1 win in Washington on Nov. 6. The Flyers were much healthier back then, and their two goal scorers that night, Derick Brassard (hip) and Sean Couturier (back) are now injured.

Ovechkin had six shots but was held off the scoresheet in that game, one in which winning goalie Martin Jones stopped 31 of 32 shots.

The Caps, coached by Peter Laviolette, hold the East’s top wild-card spot and are seven points behind first-place Pittsburgh in the Metro. They figure they can make up some ground with two wins over the Flyers within 10 days.

Read more on PHN: Claude Giroux talks about whether he will accept a trade.

Flyers’ projected lineup

Line 1: Claude Giroux centering Oskar Lindblom and Cam Atkinson.

Line 2: Scott Laughton centering James van Riemsdyk and Travis Konecny.

Line 3: Morgan Frost centering Max Willman and Gerry Mayhew.

Line 4: Connor Bunnaman centering Isaac Ratcliffe and Zack MacEwen.

Defense: Ivan Provorov and Justin Braun; Travis Sanheim and Nick Seeler, Keith Yandle and Kevin Connauton.

Goalie:  Jones.

Numbers Dept.

The Flyers have lost three straight and 16 of their last 18.

Washington, rebounding from a 4-1 loss to lowly Ottawa, started their four-game road trip Tuesday with a 4-1 win over Nashville.

The Caps are 11th in the NHL in scoring (3.22 goals per game) and seventh in goals allowed (2.74).

The Flyers are 27th in scoring (2.54) and 25th defensively (3.40).

Who’s hot

Capitals center Joe Snively has three goals and a plus-3 rating over the last three games.

The coming-of-age Laughton, 27, has goals in each of the last three games, and has four tallies in the last five contests. He has a six-game point streak (four goals, four assists), matching the longest of his career.

Projected goalie matchup­­­

Jones, who is 6-8-2 with a 3.56 GAA and .901 save percentage, will make his first start since Jan. 25. Carter Hart started the last five games. Jones is 0-4-1 since his last win, Dec. 29 in Seattle.

For Washington, Ilya Samsonov (2.83, .906) will make his fourth straight start. He is 5-0 in his career against the Flyers.

How to watch

NBC Sports Philadelphia at 7 p.m.

How to bet

Money line (FanDuel)

Capitals: minus-192.

Flyers: plus-158.

Prediction

Caps 4, Flyers 2.

Prediction record: 13-4.

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