By Adam Vingan
When the Philadelphia Flyers come to Verizon Center Tuesday to take on the Washington Capitals, they will likely do so without leading scorer Claude Giroux, whose 39 points – most in the NHL – will be missing from the Flyers’ lineup after taking a knee to the head Saturday.
Also missing for Philadelphia will be Chris Pronger (post-concussion symptoms) and Brayden Schenn (concussion). Even with such integral parts of the Flyers’ roster out Tuesday, the Caps should not take their opponent lightly. This season, Washington has struggled against teams missing several key components.
Most notably, the Caps lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres on consecutive Saturdays in November by a combined score of 12-2. The Leafs were missing seven regulars, including James Reimer, Mike Komisarek and Mikhail Grabovski, while the Sabres resembled their AHL affiliate with nine starters out, such as Ryan Miller, Drew Stafford and Tyler Ennis. The loss to Buffalo ultimately became the final nail in Bruce Boudreau’s proverbial coffin.
Below is a more comprehensive list of the players that the Caps’ opponents have missed in their match-ups this season:
October 13 v. Pittsburgh
- Sidney Crosby (concussion), Brooks Orpik (hernia), Marc-Andre Fleury (illness).
October 27 v. Edmonton
- Ales Hemsky (knee), Ryan Whitney (knee).
November 11-12 v. New Jersey
- Ilya Kovalchuk (lower body)
November 19 v. Toronto
- James Reimer (concussion), Mike Komisarek (broken arm), Mikhail Grabovski (lower body), Colby Armstrong (ankle), Matthew Lombardi (upper body), Mike Brown (undisclosed).
November 26 v. Buffalo
- Ryan Miller (concussion), Robyn Regehr (upper body), Drew Stafford (lower body), Tyler Ennis (ankle), Cody McCormick (upper body), Brad Boyes (leg), Patrick Kaleta (lower body), Tyler Myers (wrist), Mike Weber (upper body).
December 1 v. Pittsburgh
- Kris Letang (nose/head), Zbynek Michalek (head).
Injuries are part of any game and the Caps have had their fair share; Mike Green has played in only eight games this season with two different injuries, while Michal Neuvirth, Jay Beagle, Alex Semin, Roman Hamrlik and Matt Hendricks have also nursed ailments at some point this season.
The Flyers have plenty of other offensive weapons without Giroux and Schenn as well as strong defenders without Pronger. With that in mind, the Caps should not change their game plan because other teams’ injury bugs have bitten them.