Philadelphia Flyers (14-17-3--31pts)
Washington Capitals (16-17-1--33pts)
TV: CSN - RADIO: 97.5 The Fanatic
1. COMING INTO TONIGHT
This is the third and final meeting on the year between the two teams with the season series being split so far with each team winning on their home ice… Both teams come into tonight having played the previous day with the Caps earning a 4-3 shootout win at Buffalo, while the Flyers earned a 3-1 win over Boston… The Caps have won four of their last five games and a win tonight will place them in a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference… A win by the Flyers will put them two points behind the NY Rangers and NY Islanders for the eighth and final playoff spot.
The Flyers have scored on every power-play opportunity in their last four games, going a perfect 5-for-5 in that span… They own the NHL's best power play at 24.8 percent, going 32-for-129… The Flyers also own the NHL's best power play at home, going 19-for-60 (31.7 percent)… Tonight they will be going against the NHL's 2nd best power play as the Capitals are operating at 24.1 percent (28-for-116) on the man advantage… The Caps also own the NHL's second-best power play on the road at 23 percent.
3. THIS, THAT & THE OTHER
The Flyers have had 12 players record at least one point through two games of the season series in which just six goals have been scored and five players lead the team in scoring with two points each… The Flyers have a 7-4-1 record against teams from the Southeast Division - the only division in which they have a winning mark, while the Capitals have a 3-9-1 record against Atlantic Division opponents… The Flyers have scored 35 first-period goals this season, which is tied for third-most in the league… Caps goaltender Braden Holtby has posted an 8-4-0 record with a 2.06 goals-against average, a .932 save percentage and two shutouts in 12 games played during the month of March.
4. Player to watch FLYERS: Matt Read - (LW) #24
Read is coming off of points in two straight games including the game-winning-goal in yesterday's win over the Bruins… If the lines stay the same from yesterday's game vs. Boston, Read will be paired again on the top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, who have combined for 10 points in their last five games… In one game against the Caps this season, Read has one assist.
5. Player to watch CAPITALS: Alex Ovechkin - (C) #8
The Caps captain has a seven game point streak in which he has recorded at least a goal in six of the seven games and overall has seven goals and four assists for 11 points in that span… Ovechkin leads the Caps in goals (17) and is second on the team in points (33)… He leads all players in the NHL in shots on goal (150)… Against the Flyers, Ovechkin averages 1.35 points-per-game in his career, posting 23 goals and 38 points in 28 games, however he is scoreless in two games so far this season against Philadelphia.
"I think we need to make sure we all play as a team and today was a pretty good example of that."
- Claude Giroux on the Flyers' win over Boston
Like the Philadelphia Flyers, the Washington Capitals still have some work to do if they want to keep their string of postseason appearances going.
The Capitals have helped themselves by putting together a road win streak but the Flyers will be seeking a fifth win in six matchups Sunday night.
Washington (16-17-1), which has appeared in the last five playoffs, pulled within two points of the eighth-place New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference after a stunning road win Saturday. The Capitals erased a two-goal deficit in the third period, and Mike Green provided the tying score with 40 seconds left in regulation in a 4-3 shootout win over Buffalo.
"It's a credit to our guys for sticking with it," goaltender Braden Holtby said. "Greenie came up with a huge goal, and that's what the leaders on your team do."
The victory was Washington's fourth in a row on the road after a 4-9-1 start away from the nation's capital.
"These are the type of games that we are going to need to steal to make a playoff push," Green said. "A big win for us."
The Capitals, though, could have a challenge in the next stop on their three-game road trip. The Flyers (14-17-3) won in each of the past two visits from Washington and cruised to a 4-1 victory in the most recent of those games Feb. 27.
Philadelphia heads into this matchup with perhaps some confidence after snapping an 0-2-2 skid with Saturday's 3-1 win over Boston.
"You feel good about it, but then you're frustrated too because that's an upper-echelon team in our league and you ask yourselves, 'Why don't you do it more often? Why doesn't it happen more often?'" forward Mike Knuble said. "You make the commitment right from the start and everybody was on board today."
The Flyers, who have also made five straight postseason appearances, are tied for 13th in the East but are only four points behind the Rangers.
"That was a huge two points for us and hopefully from here we can play with confidence like we did tonight and keep on the same tracks and keep going," said forward Matt Read, who scored a key goal in the second period Saturday. "It's been kind of a tough season for us and (this game) is a momentum builder. With the remaining games, if we keep playing like that, who knows? We just have to keep winning and try to make a playoff run."
Philadelphia will try to keep closing that gap by riding its red-hot power play, which has converted five straight chances. Wayne Simmonds and Simon Gagne each scored power-play goals for the Flyers against Washington on Feb. 27.
"We've been keeping it simple, moving the puck when we're supposed to," Read said. "It's hard work and you have to outwork the penalty killers, and that's what we've been doing."
Alex Ovechkin will try to extend his point streak to eight games. The Capitals' star forward has seven goals and four assists during that run, but he has only one goal in his last five games against Philadelphia.
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