PREVIEW: Flyers, Capitals looking to snap two-game skids

Jan 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) during a break in the action against the Pittsburgh Penguins with Richard Panik (14) and T.J. Oshie (77) during the first period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals and the Philadelphia Flyers both will be looking to break two-game losing streaks when they meet Sunday afternoon in Washington, D.C.

The Capitals had not lost a game in regulation before Boston beat them 5-3 on Monday. Washington then traveled to New York and fell to the Rangers, 4-2, on Thursday. Their biggest problem this season has been not playing well for all three periods, and it’s something they’re looking to fix.

Alex Ovechkin tried to help Washington against the Rangers, notching his 709th career goal and vaulting over Mike Gartner (708) into seventh place in NHL history.

Ovechkin was happy with his goal but also thought the team eased up at times, and that it cost them.

“Just try to enjoy my time right now and try to enjoy this moment,” Ovechkin said. “Obviously it sucks we didn’t get the point, but, you know, beginning of the year just try to find our game. Any time we stop playing, it costs us some points, and it costs us the game.”

Rookie goalie Vitek Vanecek started again for Washington as Ilya Samsonov remains on the NHL’s COVID protocol list as of Saturday morning– along with teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov. Vanecek made 27 saves in New York and kept the Caps in the game.

The NHL announced three schedule changes for Washington on Saturday. The Capitals and Flyers are scheduled to meet in Washington again on Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET.

The Capitals’ March 1 road game at New Jersey was moved to Feb. 28 at 3 p.m. ET, and their April 13 home date with Buffalo was moved to Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. ET.

The NHL also made four changes to the Philadelphia schedule, each for a road game.

First, the Feb. 16 game at the Rangers will now be Feb. 14 at 6 p.m. ET. A Feb. 26 match-up at Buffalo was shifted to Feb. 27 at 1 p.m. ET. A March 30 game at Buffalo was moved to March 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET, and an April 20 game at New Jersey was shifted to April 1 at 7 p.m. ET.

Philadelphia is coming off back-to-back losses to Boston. The Flyers have lost all four games against the Bruins this season.

Friday’s loss was a tough one as the Bruins scored two goals just 27 seconds apart in the third period for a come-from-behind 2-1 victory.

James van Riemsdyk deflected an Erik Gustafsson shot into the net in the first minute of the third period to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. Van Riemsdyk now has points (three goals, eight assists) in his last six games.

“I liked the way we played, I like the way we competed,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. “I don’t like the final result, but for the most part I liked our 5-on-5 game.”

Injuries hurt Philly in Friday’s setback. Philippe Myers was out due to an upper-body injury. Vigneault said after the game that he hoped to have more information Saturday.

Also, goalie Carter Hart suffered back spasms during the team’s morning skate and did not play. His situation also was unknown as of Saturday morning.

–Field Level Media