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FIVE THINGS: Flyers vs. Washington Capitals

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers are four points behind the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race with Boston, who has dropped six straight games, and is in action today against the Chicago Blackhawks at (3:30)… The Flyers have picked up points in the standings in 11 of their last 12 games, earning 18 of 24 points with a 7-1-4 record, and since the start of the New Year, have earned points in 15 of 22 games, going 11-7-4… The Flyers enter a stretch where they play three of their next four games against Metropolitan Division opponents, all in a span of the next seven days.

The Caps come into today also playing the second of games on back-to-back days, and also earning a shootout winner yesterday on Long Island… They have won four straight, outscoring their opponent 15-7 in that stretch, and have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games… Nicklas Backstrom is the NHL’s leading scorer with 64 points in 60 games - he also leads the NHL in assists (46) and has recorded 17 assists in his last 17 games… Goaltender Braden Holtby has a 7-2-1 record in his last 10 starts, posting two shutouts, a 1.49 goals-against average and .946 save percentage in that stretch… Holtby leads the NHL games played (51) and is fourth in GAA (2.14), tied for fourth in save percentage (.925) and wins (29).

The Flyers play the second of games on back-to-back days, with a previous record of 3-6-1, including 1-3-0 when the second game is played on home ice… The Caps have a 4-7-1 record in the second of back-to-backs, and a 1-5-1 record when that second game is on the road… Flyers forward Ryan White has a four-game point streak (2g-2a)… The Capitals are 13-4-4 against the Metropolitan Division this season and have outscored division opponents 62-43… Washington defensemen have earned a point in 26 of their last 30 games and the Capitals rank third in the NHL in points by defensemen this season (134)… The Flyers have received points from their defense in five straight games (1g-8a), and 13 of their last 14 contests with a total of 30 points in that span (10g-20a).

For the second straight game Simmonds has to be on everyone’s radar - he comes in with a career-high seven-game point streak posting five goals and nine points during that stretch… Simmonds had one of the Flyers two goals in the game and one of two goals in the shootout to help the Flyers to a win over Nashville yesterday… The Flyers improved their record to 11-4-4 when Simmonds scores a goal… Sitting at 23 goals with 23 games remaining, Simmonds is six goals shy of tying his career high in goals (29)… Against the Caps, Simmonds has just one goal in the three meetings this season, and nine career points (4g-5a) in 19 games against Washington.

Ovechkin comes in as the NHL’s leading goal scorer with 38 tallies through 60 games, and has now risen into the Top 5 of the NHL’s scoring race with 61 points, tying him with Jakub Voracek for fourth… Ovechkin had his six-game point streak snapped on Long Island yesterday, but has nine goals and 16 points in his last 11 games… Since the start of the New Year, Ovechkin leads the NHL with 21 goals in 24 games and tied for the NHL lead with 31 points… Ovechkin has had success against the Flyers specifically as well, posting two goals in the three games so far this year to improve upon his 29 goals and 46 points in 36 games against Philadelphia.

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