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 31 points.
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 hand.
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 keep going."
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 time.
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