Alex Ovechkin’s clutch performances have helped the Washington
Capitals rally for a pair of victories during their recent
The Philadelphia Flyers’ inability to hold a lead has
contributed to their slump.
Washington seeks its fifth win in six tries as it completes a
home-and-home set with host Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
The Capitals (18-12-3) are 4-0-1 over their last five after
beating the Flyers 5-4 in a shootout Sunday, as Ovechkin again
helped lead a third-period comeback. He scored four goals and tied
the game with 32.4 seconds left in a 6-5 shootout win over Tampa
Bay last Tuesday, then netted the equalizer with 48 seconds left
The Flyers led 4-1 midway through the third.
“I think we had luck on our side, especially at the end of the
game,” Ovechkin said. “I’ll take it and the team will take it.”
Ovechkin leads the league with 27 goals, and he added an assist
on Marcus Johansson’s first-period tally Sunday.
“A guy who’s a goal scorer, when you go to the right spot you’re
going to get them,” coach Adam Oates said. “Obviously there is a
unique quality about the guy. He gets that puck that far out and he
finds the lane to get it through.”
Linemate Nicklas Backstrom scored the shootout winner Sunday,
and he has nine points over the last three games.
While Washington has shown the ability to fight back lately, the
Flyers are having trouble maintaining consistency.
Philadelphia (14-15-4) has won six straight at home, but it is
1-2-2 in its last five overall despite scoring first in the first
four games before being done in by an awful third period against
The Flyers have lost twice in regulation and three times in
overtime or a shootout when leading after two periods.
“We need to press the issue more with the lead,” coach Craig
Berube said. “We have to keep attacking, getting pucks in their
end, keep putting pressure on them and keep getting shots on
The Flyers, though, have gotten plenty of production lately from
the line of captain Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and rookie Michael
Raffl. Giroux had a goal and an assist, Voracek scored and Raffl
had three assists Sunday, and the trio has combined for 11 points
over the last two games.
“I think chemistry is good,” said Giroux, who has three goals
and four assists in his last four versus Washington. “I think when
you start playing with new players it takes a little while for a
little chemistry. I think slowly our four lines are getting built
to play well together, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Steve Mason made 29 saves, but his turnover helped lead to
Ovechkin’s tying goal. He’s 1-1-2 with a 3.37 goals-against average
in four starts and one relief appearance during the Flyers’
It’s unclear if Mason, 0-2-2 with a 4.05 GAA in his last four
starts against Washington, will be in net for this contest. He
allowed three goals on 17 shots before being pulled in a 7-0 defeat
to the Capitals on Nov. 1. Mason, though, has won five straight
starts at home while allowing eight goals for Philadelphia, which
hasn’t won seven consecutive home games since Oct. 23-Nov. 15,
Philipp Grubauer stopped 24 shots for Washington on Sunday, but
Braden Holtby could get the nod Tuesday. Holtby made 30 saves in
the first meeting with the Flyers and is 3-1-2 with a 2.46 GAA in
six career starts against them.