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Handicapping Caps' likely first-round opponents


Handicapping Caps' likely first-round opponents

With five days remaining in the NHL’s regular season, the first-round playoff opponent for the Capitals has been narrowed down to four teams – the Flyers, Red Wings, Bruins and Islanders.

And the next two nights could go a long way in determining which of those teams will begin the post-season in the nation’s capital.

Here’s the breakdown:

Islanders: 97 points – 39 ROWs – 3 games remaining

Flyers: 91 points – 36 ROWS – 4 games remaining

Red Wings: 91 points – 38 ROWs – 3 games remaining

Bruins: 91 points – 37 ROWS – 2 games remaining

Here’s a quick thumbnail on each team:

ISLANDERS: Essentially, the only way the Caps could face the Islanders in the first round of the playoffs is if the Isles lose their final three games and the Flyers win their final four games in regulation time. The Isles can still catch the Rangers (99 points, 2 games remaining) for the third spot in the Metro standings but the Rangers can fall no lower than the seventh seed.

Remaining games:

Thursday: at NY Rangers

Saturday: BUFFALO


FLYERS: With four games remaining, the Flyers have the greatest chance of facing the Caps in Round 1. They can finish no higher than seventh in the Eastern Conference standings and would need to win all four of their remaining games to do so. The Flyers could put a dagger to the hearts of the Red Wings with a Rivalry Night win tonight on NBCSN. If the Flyers find a way into the playoffs, they can face one of two opponents: the Capitals or the Atlantic Division champion Florida Panthers.

Remaining games:

Tonight: at Detroit

Thursday: TORONTO


Sunday: at NY Islanders

RED WINGS: No matter what happens tonight against the Flyers, if the Red Wings beat the Bruins in regulation Thursday night, they’ll clinch the third spot in the Atlantic Division and a date with the Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 1. Back-to-back losses of any kind to the Flyers and Bruins would drop the Red Wings into ninth place in the conference standings. Of the three teams fighting for the two remaining playoff spots in the East, the Red Wings have the most difficult schedule.

Remaining games:


Thursday: at Boston

Saturday: at NY Rangers

BRUINS: Boston’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night was a crushing one. With two games remaining, the Bruins likely will need to win both of their remaining games to clinch a playoff spot. Boston fans will be rooting for the Flyers to beat the Red Wings in regulation tonight and for the Bruins to beat Detroit in regulation Thursday night. If that happens, the Bruins would need a season-ending victory over the Senators on Saturday to have a legitimate chance of grabbing that third spot in the Atlantic Division.

Remaining games:

Thursday: DETROIT

Saturday: OTTAWA 

RELATED: After heartbreaking loss, Caps need to regroup for Penguins

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3 stars of the game: A lethargic loss in Philadelphia


3 stars of the game: A lethargic loss in Philadelphia

Playing three games in four days takes a toll on even the fittest athletes, and it was their sluggish start that doomed the Capitals in a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. 

After being noncomittal about his starting goalie all weekend, Coach Barry Trotz put Philipp Grubauer in net. Grubauer ended up making 29 saves on 34 shots. Offensively, the Caps got goals from Alex Ovechkin, Chandler Stephenson, and John Carlson. Carlson's third period goal cut the Flyers' lead to two with a little over three minutes to go, but a Jakub Voracek empty-netter a few moments later was the nail in the coffin. 

Here are your three stars from the game: 

1. Travis Boyd had the play of the game for the Capitals. Boyd carried the puck into the Flyer's zone, cut through multiple defenders and fired a slick shot to a streaking Ovechkin, who burried the puck in the back of the net. Check it out: 

Not only was the play nice on its own, but it was Boyd's first NHL point. Not a bad way to get it. 

2. Shayne Gostisbehere​ got the Flyers going with his goal in the first period. The defenseman had one goal on five shots along with being an intimidating force in the defensive zone. After going six weeks without scoring, today's goal was Gostisbehere's second goal in three games. 

3. Wayne Simmonds was the best offensive player on the ice on Sunday, scoring twice - both in the final period. It was the 22nd and 23rd goals of the season for the 29-year-old winger. It was also the first multi-goal game for Simmonds since Opening Night, when he had two against San Jose. 

The Caps hit the ice next on Tuesday, when they welcome the Dallas Stars to the Capital One Center. 

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Game 72 Capitals at Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 72 Capitals at Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.

When: 5:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Flyers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Flyers game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.


The Capitals (41-23-7) take on the Flyers (36-25-11) Sunday, March 18 at 5:00 p.m. ET in Philadelphia.


The Capitals-Flyers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

4:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
4:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
5:00 p.m. — Capitals at Flyers
7:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
8:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
9:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


The Capitals-Flyers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.