WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers begin a home-and-home series Sunday at Verizon Center that will have sizable Metropolitan Division implications.
The Capitals, winners of four straight, trail the Flyers by one point and could overtake them for third place in the division with a regulation victory. Washington has not held that position since Jan. 16.
Though the two-game set holds significant importance for both teams' postseason aspirations, the Capitals are focusing on what lies in front of them Sunday.
"Obviously it's an important game, but if we win, great, and then we've got to play them again [Wednesday]," coach Adam Oates said. "Right now, we're still, I think, in the process of playing every game as it is. Today, we play Philly. Let's worry about Philly today."
Each team enters the first matchup this week having won Saturday matinees. Washington earned a 4-2 victory against the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia defeated the New York Rangers by an identical score.
Philadelphia will be tasked with slowing down a Washington offense that has rediscovered its potent touch. In winning seven of 10, the Capitals are averaging 3.7 goals per game over that span compared to 1.14 during the seven-game winless streak that preceded it.
Specifically, Alex Ovechkin has dispelled any concerns of a 2014 Sochi Olympics hangover. The NHL's leading goal scorer has three goals and five points in two games after scoring just once in five Olympic games for Russia.
Here are the projected lineups for the Flyers and Capitals:
Scott Hartnell – Claude Giroux – Jakub Voracek
Vincent Lecavalier – Brayden Schenn – Wayne Simmonds
Steve Downie – Sean Couturier – Matt Read
Zac Rinaldo – Michael Raffl – Adam Hall
Mark Streit – Nicklas Grossmann
Kimmo Timonen – Braydon Coburn
Andrej Meszaros – Luke Schenn
Scratched: Jay Rosehill, Hal Gill, Erik Gustafsson
Injured: Ray Emery (lower body)
Brooks Laich – Nicklas Backstrom – Alex Ovechkin
Martin Erat – Marcus Johansson – Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera – Eric Fehr – Joel Ward
Nicolas Deschamps – Jay Beagle – Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner – John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov – Mike Green
John Erskine – Connor Carrick
Scratched: Casey Wellman
Injured: Mikhail Grabovski (left ankle), Aaron Volpatti (left shoulder), Jack Hillen (fractured tibial plateau)