(SportsNetwork.com) – The Washington Capitals take aim at their longest
winning streak of the season Sunday when they invite the rival Philadelphia
Flyers to Verizon Center.
The Capitals have won three straight with recent victories over Los Angeles,
Ottawa and Anaheim. It marks Washington’s sixth three-game winning streak of
the season, but the Caps haven’t posted four straight victories since April
5-11 of last season.
The Flyers, meanwhile, are hoping to get back in the win column today after
having a season-high four-game winning halted in Thursday’s shootout loss
against the visiting New York Islanders.
Philadelphia is 11 points behind Boston for the last playoff spot in the
East and the Flyers trail Washington by 14 points in the Metropolitan Division
The Capitals, meanwhile, are holding onto the third and final automatic
postseason bid from the Metro and are two points ahead of the New York
Rangers for that spot. The Rangers are in action Sunday against Dallas.
Washington had lost four straight in the series against the Flyers before
notching a 1-0 home victory on Jan. 14. Braden Holtby stopped 21 shots for the
shutout win and Jason Chimera scored the lone goal just 3:13 into the first
The Caps have claimed three of the past four home tests in this series. They
own a 15-6-5 record in D.C. this season.
Washington picked up its third straight win on Friday with a 3-2 shootout
decision over the Anaheim Ducks. Nicklas Backstrom netted the deciding goal in
the shootout to help Washington sneak past Anaheim.
Jason Chimera and John Carlson scored in regulation while Evgeny Kuznetsov
added two assists for the Capitals. Kuznetsov has picked up points in six of
his last seven games (2G, 4A).
Philipp Grubauer picked up his first NHL victory this season with 23 saves
and also turned away two of three chances in the game’s final segment.
“He did very well against a good team,” Washington head coach Barry Trotz said
of Grubauer. “Both teams actually played really well, and were not giving up
too much on both sides.”
Holtby is expected to make his 45th start of the season this afternoon. He is
4-2-4 with a 3.01 goals against average in 11 career outings against the
Caps defenseman Mike Green was a late scratch Thursday and is questionable for
Sunday with a lower-body injury.
Washington will begin a four-game road trip on Wednesday when it plays its
next game in San Jose.
Philadelphia is kicking off a four-game road trip today and also will make
stops in Montreal, Columbus and Buffalo before returning to the City of
Brotherly Love to face Columbus on Feb. 17. The Flyers are just 7-15-4 on the
road this season and have dropped seven of their past eight as the guest
The Flyers held a 2-0 lead in Thursday’s game against the Isles, but New York
rallied for the 3-2 win. Cal Clutterbuck tied the game late in the second
period for the Islanders and then scored the deciding goal in the seventh
round of the shootout.
Nick Schultz and Chris VandeVelde scored for the Flyers, while Steve Mason
made 28 saves in a losing effort.
“Yeah definitely. We gave away that point tonight for sure,” said Schultz.
Mason will likely start again today. He is 7-3-2 with a 2.77 GAA in his career