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Preview: Flyers at Capitals

T.J. Oshie returns for Washington; goalie Steve Mason starts for Philadelphia

by Katie Brown / NHL.com Correspondent

FLYERS (30-26-7) at CAPITALS (43-13-7)

7:30 p.m. ET; CSN-PH, CSN-DC, NHL.TV

 

Flyers team scope

Philadelphia Flyers forward Travis Konecny could return after missing nine games with a lower-body injury, and defenseman Brandon Manning will return from a two-game suspension. Konecny skated on a line with Chris VandeVelde and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare at practice Friday. The Flyers, who did not hold a morning skate, are four points out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. They are 4-6-1 in their past 11 games, including a 4-1 home loss to the Washington Capitals on Feb. 22. "They're one of the best teams in the League and it's not a secret," captain Claude Giroux said Friday. "But at the same time, we're fighting for our lives here and a game like this, it couldn't come at a better time. I've always said that when you play a team in the playoffs they're easier to play in the regular season after that because you have that little rivalry and we play them often. It's an intense game and this team every time it's an intense game, that's when we play our best." Forward Valtteri Filppula, acquired March 1 at the NHL Trade Deadline, scored in his Flyers debut on Thursday, a 2-1 shootout victory against the Florida Panthers. Goalie Steve Mason has won two consecutive starts and is expected to play.

 

Capitals team scope

Forward T.J. Oshie is expected to return after missing four games with an upper-body injury. The Capitals set a franchise record Thursday by winning their 14th consecutive home game, 1-0 against the New Jersey Devils. Their last regulation loss at home was Dec. 17. Washington, which held an optional morning skate, is 10-2-1 in its past 13 games and leads the Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins by seven points for first place in the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference. "We played them in the playoffs last year," coach Barry Trotz said. "They're right there. They're four points out from a playoff spot. You're gonna get their absolute, playoff-mode, best game. That'll be a good test right here. That hardens us that gets us prepared for hopefully what's ahead. I have not been to a game where Philly and the Caps have not been a little bit nose to nose. I think that's a good thing. Emotions always are running a little higher, so I think that'll be good for us." Braden Holtby is 17-0-1 with five shutouts in his past 19 starts and will start against the Flyers. Holtby earned his NHL-leading eighth shutout of the season on Thursday.

 

Flyers projected lineup

Jordan Weal -- Claude Giroux -- Wayne Simmonds

Brayden Schenn -- Valtteri Filppula -- Jakub Voracek

Nick Cousins -- Sean Couturier -- Dale Weise

Chris VandeVelde -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Travis Konecny

Ivan Provorov -- Andrew MacDonald

Shayne Gostisbehere -- Brandon Manning

Michael Del Zotto -- Radko Gudas

Steve Mason

Michal Neuvirth

Scratched: Roman Lyubimov, Matt Read, Nick Schultz

Injured: Michael Raffl (lower body)

 

Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Justin Williams

Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Jakub Vrana

Daniel Winnik -- Jay Beagle -- Tom Wilson

Karl Alzner -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Nate Schmidt, Taylor Chorney, Paul Carey

Injured: Andre Burakovsky (hand)

 

Status report

Burakovsky skated after practice Friday but still has not participated in a full practice with the team. He's wearing a new, lighter cast on his right hand.

 

Who's hot

Schenn has seven points (three goals, four assists) during a six-game point streak, Voracek has three points (two goals, one assist) in Philadelphia's past three games. … Backstrom has 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in his past 14 games, Johansson has 11 points (six goals, five assists) in his past 11 games, Kuznetsov has 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 15 games.

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