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Capitals' Ovechkin resumes pursuit of record at Flyers

by Mike G. Morreale /

CAPITALS (10-4-0) at FLYERS (5-7-3)


PHILADELPHIA -- Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will take another crack at passing Hockey Hall of Fame member Sergei Fedorov for most goals scored by a Russian in the NHL on Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center.

Ovechkin was unable to do it in a 1-0 loss at the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday despite matching a career high with 15 shots on goal. Ovechkin took nine shots against Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek in the third period.

T.J. Oshie, who plays right wing on Ovechkin's line, said there isn't any pressure on the Capitals to see him score the record-breaker.

"We haven't really been talking about it too much," Oshie said. "I don't think we're really too worried about it. We know what he can do, we know he'll eventually reach that, so we really don't have to focus on it. We just have to play our game. The more we focus on the right things we have to do the more goals he'll get."

Ovechkin enters the game tied with Fedorov with 483 goals in 772 games. Fedorov scored his record total in 1,248 games. If Ovechkin fails to score the record-breaker against the Flyers, his next chance comes Friday at home against the Calgary Flames.

Flyers goalie Steve Mason, who will make his first start in five games, said players must be aware when Ovechkin steps on the ice.

"Like any star player in the League, he's a special talent with a great shot and great offensive instincts," Mason said. "When he's on the ice, you definitely are aware of it just because he's so dangerous."

Ovechkin is also 17 goals away from becoming a member of the 500-goal club. There are 42 players in NHL history who have scored 500 goals. The only active player closer than Ovechkin is Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa, who has 487 goals in 1,184 games.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz said Ovechkin is so good because he gets himself in such good position.

"He gets himself in an area for a good release and he gets pucks through when there are people right in his face," Trotz said. "He changes the puck position; he gets it by a players' skate and when he comes down off the wing and cuts to the middle, he has that uncanny ability to get it around the defender or get it through the defender. There's a reason he's scored as many goals as he has and it's because he has that talent to get pucks through."

While Ovechkin continues his pursuit of the goal-scoring mark, Flyers right wing Jakub Voracek is just hoping for a goal. Voracek has taken 56 shots on goal but has yet to score in 15 games.

"In the beginning of the season we were winning games so I wasn't really having a tough time but we had a tough road trip and I had no goals, and that's when you get a little frustrated when you know the team is losing and you're not helping," Voracek said. "I've been in scoring slumps before. I just have to find a way. I'm a professional so I have to find a way to produce. Nobody on the other team is feeling sorry for me, that's for sure."

Voracek has had success against the Capitals in his career, scoring nine goals and 16 points in 21 games. The only opponent against which he has scored more goals is the Pittsburgh Penguins (11).

The Flyers have lost seven of their past eight games and have scored 12 goals, including one into an empty net, over that span.

Here are the projected lineups:


Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Andre Burakovsky

Jason Chimera - Jay Beagle - Justin Williams

Brooks Laich - Michael Latta - Tom Wilson

Brooks Orpik - John Carlson

Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen

Dmitry Orlov - Nate Schmidt

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Injured: Brooks Orpik (lower body)

Scratched: Taylor Chorney, Chandler Stephenson


Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Wayne Simmonds

Sam Gagner - Brayden Schenn - Vincent Lecavalier

Ryan White - Scott Laughton - Chris VandeVelde

Evgeny Medvedev - Mark Streit

Michael Del Zotto - Radko Gudas

Nick Schultz - Luke Schenn

Steve Mason

Michal Neuvirth

Injured: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (lower body), R.J. Umberger (lower body)

Scratched: Brandon Manning

Status report: Trotz said Orpik will be a game-time decision. Orpik exited the loss Tuesday 1:23 into the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return. In Orpik's absence at the morning skate, Chorney was paired with Orlov. "[Orpik] has a minor injury and we didn't want to aggravate is at the morning skate so we'll see where he's at after warmup and make the decision then," Trotz said. … Grubauer sustained a minor facial injury during the morning skate but will be able to serve as the backup to Holtby. … Beagle is back on a line with Chmira and Williams. … Medvedev, who missed the past five games with an upper-body injury, will return to the lineup alongside Streit. … Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said Umberger will miss 7-10 days.

Who's hot: The line of Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Oshie has combined for 17 goals and 39 points. … Gudas is fourth in the League with 63 hits; he also has 21 blocked shots.

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