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Capitals continue to ride goalie Holtby vs. Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

CAPITALS (33-17-10) at FLYERS (25-23-11)


PHILADELPHIA -- Goalie Braden Holtby will start his fourth straight game for the Washington Capitals against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. It will be his NHL-high 51st start.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz said he isn't worried about Holtby getting tired, even after he made 30 saves Saturday in a 3-2 shootout win against the New York Islanders.

"I don't see it as an issue," Trotz said Sunday of Holtby's playing time. "I thing we've been managing it pretty well. When you give him days off he spends two hours on the ice anyway. I'm not worried about him right now."

Trotz did say, however, that at some point he would back off Holtby's playing time. But that isn't right now.

"I want to make the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs," he said. "We're not in the playoffs. Once we get in the playoffs we'll get rest."

The Flyers also will go with the same goalie they used Saturday, with Rob Zepp back in net after he made 20 saves in the Flyers' 3-2 shootout win against the Nashville Predators.

The Flyers are 7-1-4 in their past 12 games, and have gone from 13 points out of a playoff spot to four points behind the Boston Bruins for the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

"They're playing really well in terms of their forecheck and the details," Trotz said of the Flyers. "They're urgent on the puck. They've got good structure through the neutral zone. Defensively they're playing really well, keeping everything to the outside. They're boxing out really well. They've got a really good game."

Here are the projected lineups:


Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Andre Burakovsky

Marcus Johansson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Troy Brouwer

Brooks Laich - Eric Fehr - Joel Ward

Jason Chimera - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson

Brooks Orpik - John Carlson

Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen

Cameron Schilling - Mike Green

Braden Holtby

Justin Peters

Scratched: Michael Latta, Aaron Volpatti, Jack Hillen

Injured: Dmitry Orlov (wrist), John Erskine (neck)


Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek

Ryan White - Brayden Schenn - R.J. Umberger

Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Zac Rinaldo

Nick Schultz - Mark Streit

Michael Del Zotto - Braydon Coburn

Nicklas Grossmann - Andrew MacDonald

Rob Zepp

Ray Emery

Scratched: Vincent Lecavalier, Luke Schenn, Carlo Colaiacovo

Injured: Kimmo Timonen (blood clots), Steve Mason (knee)

Status report: Holtby will start for the 12th time in the past 15 games. … Zepp will make his second straight start since being recalled from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League on Feb. 16.

Who's hot: Backstrom has points in four straight games, and two goals and eight assists in his past seven games. ... Simmonds has points in seven straight, a career-best; he has five goals and three assists in that span.


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