NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, March 31st
(All times Eastern)
Washington Capitals (16-17-1) at Philadelphia Flyers (14-17-3), 6 p.m.
(Sports Network) - If the season ended today, both the Washington Capitals and
Philadelphia Flyers would miss the postseason for the first time since 2007.
Luckily for the two teams, there is still time to make up ground and two big
points will be up for grabs as they meet on Sunday evening in Philadelphia.
Both the Caps and Flyers have reached the postseason in five straight years,
but enter play on Sunday outside of the playoff picture. Washington is 11th in
the Eastern Conference with 33 points, but just two back of the New York
Rangers and Islanders for the eighth spot.
Philadelphia is in a deeper hole, sitting tied for 13th in the conference with
Both the Isles and Rangers are idle on Sunday.
The Capitals are looking to string together a run and have won four of their
past five games. They are still within reach of first place in the Southeast
Division as well, trailing the Winnipeg Jets by five points with two games in
Matt Hendricks and Alex Ovechkin scored shootout goals in Saturday's 4-3 win
over the hosting Buffalo Sabres as Washington began a three-game road trip.
Ovechkin also scored in regulation and has scored in six of his past seven
games. He has at least a point in all seven of those contests and 11 points
total over that time.
His supporting cast helped Washington rally from a two-goal deficit as Troy
Brouwer scored shorthanded 2:43 into the third period before Mike Green
notched the tying goal with 39.2 seconds left. The defenseman fired a shot
from the high slot that hit off the post and then Buffalo goaltender Jhonas
Enroth before going in.
"There's no room for error," said Green. "We have to win these games, that's
the bottom line."
Braden Holtby posted 20 saves and also added his second assist of the season.
Philadelphia also picked up a much-needed win on Saturday, snapping a season-
high four-game slide (0-2-2) by beating the Boston Bruins 3-1.
Mike Knuble and Matt Read scored, Ruslan Fedotenko added an empty-net tally
and Ilya Bryzgalov made 33 saves.
"It was a huge two points for us," Read remarked. "Hopefully from here we can
just play with confidence like we did tonight, keep on the same tracks and
The Flyers had just one power-play opportunity in the game and cashed in with
Knuble's goal. Philadelphia has scored in each of its last five power plays
and leads the NHL on the man advantage at 24.8 percent.
Washington is second at 24.1 percent, but is ranked just 27th on the penalty
kill while the Flyers are sixth.
With defensemen Andrej Meszaros, Braydon Coburn and Nicklas Grossmann all out
with injury for the Flyers, blueliner Oliver Lauridsen made his NHL debut
after being recalled from the minors on Friday and skated in 17:12 of ice
Philadelphia also acquired veteran defenseman Kent Huskins from the Detroit
Red Wings on Saturday for a conditional 2014 draft pick. He did not log a
point in 11 games with Detroit this season
The Flyers will try to win back-to-back games for the first time since Feb.
27-March 2 in the fourth contest of a five-game homestand. The first victory
of that winning streak came at home versus Washington, 4-1.
Philly has won four of five and six of its past nine versus the Capitals,
including two straight at home.
03/31 10:32:03 ET