Capitals-Flyers Preview

Alex Ovechkin’s clutch performances have helped the Washington

Capitals rally for a pair of victories during their recent

surge.

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

against Philadelphia.

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

Washington.

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

net.”

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’

slump.

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,

2010.

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.