The Flyers (32-24-6) will wrap up their home-and-home series with the Washington Capitals (29-23-10) on Wednesday night.
Puck drop is set for 8 p.m. at Wells Fargo Center. The game will be televised on NBCSN.
Let’s take a closer look at the matchup:
1. That’s all, folks
The Flyers and Capitals will clash for the fifth and final time this season on Wednesday. Washington won the first two contests before the Flyers reeled off back-to-back victories in the next two meetings.
Both clubs have 20 games remaining this season and are fighting for a playoff spot in the crowded Metropolitan Division. The Flyers currently hold the second-place position in the Metro with 70 points. The New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets are right behind them with 69 points apiece. The Capitals (68 points) and New Jersey Devils (67 points) are also within striking distance of the Flyers.
It’s at the point where every game the rest of the way will have Stanley Cup playoff implications. It’s important for the Flyers to make the most of their divisional games.
Sunday was a perfect example of that. The Flyers rallied from a two-goal, third-period deficit and beat the Caps 5-4. Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux each tallied three points in the win and Vinny Lecavalier potted the game-winning marker at the 2:45 mark of overtime.
Voracek (four goals, two assists) and Giroux (three goals, three assists) have led the way for the Flyers in the team’s four games against the Caps this season. On the other end of the ice, Joel Ward (three goals, three assists) and Nicklas Backstrom (two goals, four assists) have given the Flyers headaches in the series.
2. Wheeling and dealing
NHL teams can make trades up until 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon but the Flyers and Capitals got a jumpstart on the deadline, both striking deals on Tuesday.
The Flyers bolstered their blueline by acquiring defenseman Andrew MacDonald from the New York Islanders in exchange for two draft picks and prospect Matt Mangene (see story).
“He’s a great addition for our team,” said Mark Streit, who played parts of three seasons with MacDonald on Long Island. “He’s a good, all-around defenseman. He plays well defensively, blocks a lot of shots and has a good first pass. It’s a really good mix.”
The Flyers now have nine defensemen on the active roster. What’s the next move? Will there be a next move? Anything can happen on deadline day. Stay tuned.
Washington, on the other hand, is likely done making moves. They sent a fourth-round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for veteran forward Dustin Penner and shipped Martin Erat and John Mitchell to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Chris Brown, Rostislav Klesla and a draft pick on Tuesday.
Klesla and Brown are expected to join Washington’s AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, but Penner will likely find himself on the Caps’ top line with Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin.
3. The Ovechkin factor
Speaking of Ovechkin, the Flyers did a fantastic job containing the Russian sniper in Sunday’s win at the Verizon Center.
Ovechkin, who is leading the NHL in goals with 43, finished the game with six shots in 20 minutes of ice time but did not register a point and was a minus-3 for the Caps.
It’s not often the Flyers can say they held Ovie off the scoresheet. The Caps’ captain has 26 goals and 16 assists in 32 career games against the orange and black.
Even scarier, Ovechkin always comes to play in Philadelphia. He has 16 markers and nine helpers in 18 career visits to Wells Fargo Center, including the playoffs.
The Flyers would be wise to stay out of the box. They gave the Capitals six power plays on Sunday and miraculously killed them all off. They won’t get away with giving Ovechkin and Washington’s prolific PP units that many opportunities again.
Goalie Ray Emery (groin pull) isn’t ready to play just yet. Cal Heeter was recalled from the Adirondack Phantoms on Tuesday and will serve as Steve Mason’s backup.
For the Capitals, Jack Hillen (right tibia) and Mikhail Grabovski (left ankle) are listed as questionable for Wednesday’s tilt.
Aaron Volpatti is on injured reserve with an upper-body injury and won’t suit up.
5. This and that
• Giroux has seven goals and eight assists in his last 10 games.
• Dmitry Orlov, who was assessed a five-minute major for boarding Brayden Schenn on Sunday, will begin his two-game suspension.
• MacDonald had four goals and 20 assists while averaging over 25 minutes a game for the Islanders this season.
• Penner had 13 goals and 19 assists for the Ducks this season. He played on their top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
• Even with a win, the Caps can’t pass the Flyers in the standings. The Flyers hold the tiebreaker by having eight more regulation/overtime wins.