Although he has a league-best 43 goals and a team-leading 77 points, the NHL’s reigning MVP has none against Philadelphia in two meetings this season. Given his history against the Flyers, he could break that drought Tuesday night as the first-place Capitals continue a season-high, five-game homestand.
Ovechkin had a three-game goal-scoring streak and a 10-game point streak ended in Friday night’s 4-1 loss to Colorado, but had a goal and an assist Sunday as Washington (38-17-5) beat visiting Pittsburgh 5-2.
“We all understand we played terrible against Colorado,” Ovechkin said. “We didn’t play our game. We didn’t play our system. We tried to play so cute, and you see the results. Tonight, we played simple. We played our system and played with energy.”
Ovechkin, who has 12 goals and 18 points in the last 12 games, even mixed it up with Penguins star Sidney Crosby after the Capitals (38-17-5) scored the game’s final goal with 6:39 remaining in the second period.
Ovechkin hasn’t put up much of a fight this season against the Flyers, who along with Columbus are the only teams to hold the Washington star without a point in two games this season. In 12 meetings with Philadelphia before this season, Ovechkin had 12 goals and 21 points, scoring in all but two games.
Center Nicklas Backstrom has also been hot, with two goals and seven assists during a six-game point streak.
With a 4-1-0 record and a 2.02 goals-against average in his last five appearances against Philadelphia, Jose Theodore figures to make his fifth straight start Tuesday. Theodore is 4-1-1 with a 2.60 GAA in his last six games, but will have to contain an offense that has scored 20 goals in its last four contests.
However, the Flyers (31-17-9) had a three-game win streak snapped Saturday with a 5-4 home loss to the Penguins as Crosby scored with 2:45 left on Martin Biron’s miscue.
The Philadelphia goalie drifted away from the crease to stop a Pascal Dupuis breakaway but failed to clear the puck. Dupuis stole it and fed Crosby, who scored on an empty net.
“I made a bad play and it ends up in the net,” Biron said. “Looking back, you say, ‘Just get it to the corner. Get it to the boards. Even let it stay alive and let the guys recover,’ but I just kind of got anxious and got rid of it. … It ends up losing the game.”
However, Jeff Carter, among the NHL leaders with 34 goals and tied with Richards for the team lead with 60 points, is in a season-high five-game drought, and has two assists in that span.
The teams have split their last six meetings and both games this season. Philadelphia routed the Capitals 7-1 at home Dec. 20 but suffered a 2-1 road shootout loss Jan. 6.
The Flyers are 2-0-1 in their last three trips to the Verizon Center.