I will focus this discussion on the four primary Washington Capitals centers who took the most draws against the Flyers this year: Brendan Morrison, Nicklas Backstrom, and David Steckel. I will also include notes on two leading Capitals faceoff men who saw limited action against the Flyers this year: Boyd Gordon (2 games) and Eric Belanger (1 game).
From the Philadelphia Flyers, I will focus on Mike Richards, Blair Betts, and Claude Giroux, the three healthy players who have taken the most faceoffs for the Flyers this season. Top faceoff winner Jeff Carter (52.1% of 1,378 draws this season) is out indefinitely after foot surgery, surgery that is required because the Flyers shot themselves in the foot.
Injured #17 Jeff Carter
It looks like the Capitals will have a tougher time in the faceoff circle this series than they did against the Canadiens. Even without Carter, the Flyers have better faceoff men than the Habs and certain matchups are less than favorable. That does not mean the Capitals will struggle, though.
Let's start off with team captain Mike Richards. He has taken the most faceoffs for the Flyers this year, winning 50.9% of his draws (718 of 1,373). Here is a look at his game-by-game stats against the Capitals this season, which are very strong.
#18 Mike Richards
Here are the Caps individual winning percentages against Richards.
Nicklas Backstrom has not fared well against Richards, but improved in each game. Steckel and Morrison both did well. Eric Belanger went 33.3% (2 for 6) with the Minnesota Wild.
The next Flyers center to look at is Blair Betts. He has taken the second-most faceoffs among healthy Flyers centers this season, winning 51% (470 for 922). Betts did very well against the Capitals this season in 2 games of action.
#11 Blair Betts
Here are the Caps individual stats against Betts this year.
There is not much to be gleaned from these numbers, only that Betts does well against all the Captials. Eric Belanger lost his only draw to Betts this year.
The Capitals know Betts well from the playoffs last year. With the Rangers, Betts only won 41.7% of 84 faceoffs against the Capitals in last year's playoffs.
The last Flyers player of interest is Claude Giroux. While listed as a right winger, Giroux has won 48.4% of his faceoffs this year (310 of 641). He was dreadful against the Capitals this year.
#28 Claude Giroux
Here is how the Capitals centers fared against him this year:
Only Brendan Morrison had any issues against Giroux. Eric Belanger won both of his faceoffs against him this year. He should not be a challenging opponent in the faceoff circle.
Moving on to the Capitals centers, Nicklas Backstrom has taken the most faceoffs by a Washington center this year, winning 49.9% of his faceoffs (713 of 1,428). He was pretty bad against the Flyers this season in the faceoff circle.
#19 Nicklas Backstrom
David Steckel has taken the second most draws for the Capitals this season and has the best winning percentage at 59.2% (651 of 1,100). He did better than his season average against the Flyers.
#39 David Steckel
Brendan Morrison has taken the third most faceoffs among Capitals centers. He has won 51.4% of his faceoffs (525 of 1,021) on the year. He did much better than his season average against the Flyers.
#9 Brendan Morrison
Boyd Gordon has done exceptionally well on faceoffs this year, winning 63.3% of his draws (152 of 240). He didn't do so well against the Flyers, though.
#15 Boyd Gordon
Eric Belanger has done very well on faceoffs this season, winning 57.4% (576 of 1,004), however he won just 41.7% of his draws (5 of 12) in his only game against the Flyers, February 6 in Minnesota.
#18 Eric Belanger