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Flyers open home-and-home set with hosting Caps

(SportsNetwork.com) - Separated by just a single point in the Metropolitan Division, the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals open a home-and-home series on Sunday night in the nation's capital.

The Flyers sit third in the division with 68 points, one behind the New York Rangers and just one ahead of the Capitals. The top three teams in each division get automatic playoff berths.

Philadelphia closed in on New York with a 4-2 victory over the Rangers on Saturday afternoon. Steve Mason was solid with 33 saves and Wayne Simmonds notched a goal and an assist.

The Flyers had won four in a row going into the Olympic break before getting blasted 7-3 at home by the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. They were able to bounce back on Saturday and improved to 4-0-1 this season in games following a loss of four or more goals.

"Like you said, I think we're a resilient bunch," said Simmonds, who has five points in his past four games. "We should never give up that many goals in a game to begin with. I think we talked about things after that. We kind of start from scratch. We start doing the simple things right and it results in wins."

The Capitals are also on a roll, having matched a season high with four straight wins while going 7-2-1 in their last 10. Like the Flyers, they'll play for a second straight afternoon after having bested the Boston Bruins 4-2 on Saturday.

Alex Ovechkin scored a pair of power-play goals and Joel Ward notched a goal and an assist in the win, which featured 36 saves by Braden Holtby.

"That's a really good team over there and to get a win up here is big for us," said Holtby. "I thought we played well and executed on the power play and penalty kill."

Ovechkin upped his league-leading goal total to 43 on the season and became the second player in Capitals history to reach 800 points, joining Peter Bondra (825). He has scored 17 times this season on the power play.

Ward, meanwhile, netted his career-high 18th goal of the campaign and recorded his 100th career assist. His 35 points on the season matches a career best.

The Capitals won their first two meetings with the Flyers this season before a 5-2 setback in Philadelphia on Dec. 17. They are 10-4-5 in the last 19 encounters.

This home-and-home series concludes in Philly on Wednesday.

03/02 08:18:51 ET