Washington 4th Metropolitan40-31-6-5
Philadelphia 6th Metropolitan38-33-8-3

Washington @ Philadelphia preview

Wells Fargo Center

Last Meeting ( Mar 1, 2024 ) Philadelphia 2, Washington 5

Competition for a playoff spot comes down to the final game -- or maybe beyond it -- when the Washington Capitals visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.

By virtue of their 2-0 win against the Boston Bruins on Monday, the Capitals (39-31-11, 89 points) control their own destiny. A win against Philadelphia (38-32-11, 87 points) assures Washington the second wild card from the Eastern Conference for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Charlie Lindgren made 16 saves, and John Carlson and Nic Dowd (empty netter) scored for the Capitals in a game that featured playoff intensity. Washington has won three of four after a six-game losing streak.

"We understand what's on the line, and I think you can see the effort," Washington captain Alex Ovechkin said. "Huge goal by Carly. Great job by ‘Chuckie' obviously. So I think we played a solid 60 minutes, so right now we have to concentrate (Tuesday) on one game. The next game is going to be a big one."

The Detroit Red Wings also have 89 points with one game remaining, but the Capitals own the tiebreaker against them. A Washington loss in overtime would leave them dependent on other outcomes involving the Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins.

To have a shot at the playoffs, Philadelphia needs to beat the Capitals in regulation. That would tie them in points, and the Flyers own the tiebreaker. Philadelphia would then need losses by the Red Wings (Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens) and Penguins (Wednesday against the New York Islanders).

"Where we're at in the process here, these are important things for us to watch," Flyers coach John Tortorella said. "Also, we want to win, so yeah, I'm very happy for the team that they have grinded away and found a way to set themselves up for a game to maybe get in."

An eight-game losing streak (0-6-2) seemed to knock the Flyers out of contention, but they rallied for wins over the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils.

Travis Konecny scored a short-handed breakaway goal and Samuel Ersson stopped 20 shots in the 1-0 win against the Devils on Saturday. Ersson and company have had two days to get ready for Washington's visit.

"I don't think anyone really gave us a chance at the start of the year going into training camp," Flyers forward Owen Tippett said. "So to put ourselves in this situation is pretty incredible. We knew we could do it all along, and we knew we had the group to do it."

The Flyers haven't made the playoffs since the 2019-20 season. Washington had made it for eight straight seasons before missing the postseason in 2022-23.

One question for Washington will be does coach Spencer Carbery bring back Lindgren, his No. 1 goalie down the stretch, on Tuesday or go with Darcy Kuemper?

Lindgren earned his sixth shutout of the season Monday as his teammates blocked 14 shots, had 19 takeaways and doled out 41 hits.

"Tonight was a great one, just from start to finish," Lindgren said. "I thought the boys in red were all over them tonight. Probably one of our best games of the year, honestly. Love to see it. Enjoy it tonight and then obviously you've got to be 100 percent ready to go (Tuesday)."

The Flyers beat the visiting Capitals 4-3 in a shootout on Dec. 14, and Washington won 5-2 at home on March 1.

--Field Level Media

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