Capitals-Flyers Preview

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.