Capitals regain top spot in Metro as Ovechkin scores NHL-best 35th goal

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Capitals regain top spot in Metro as Ovechkin scores NHL-best 35th goal

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Alex Ovechkin can stop fretting about what the Washington Capitals captain described as the worst game of his career.

He and the Capitals were much better in a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday, two days after a 7-1 meltdown at Chicago.

After being held without a shot against Chicago, Ovechkin responded by scoring his NHL-leading 35th goal, and Washington reclaimed the top spot in the Metropolitan Division

"Yeah, I think the last game I didn't play my game. I think it was the worst play of my career by myself. I take the blame on it," Ovechkin said. "I think we understand the game in Chicago was just forget about it, you know. We moved forward. We got two points."

Capitals coach Barry Trotz noticed how much more involved Ovechkin was against Buffalo, particularly after a few early exchanges with Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (see full recap.)

Marchand's OT goal gives Bruins win over Flames 
CALGARY, Alberta — Brad Marchand scored his 22nd goal 3:36 into overtime to give the Boston Bruins a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Monday.

After a turnover deep in the Flames end, Riley Nash sprung the Bruins' leading scorer on a breakaway and Marchand made no mistake, slipping the puck through the pads of David Rittich.

David Pastrnak also scored for Boston (36-13-8), which moved within one point of Tampa Bay for first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. Boston has two games in hand.

Matthew Tkachuk scored for the Flames (30-21-9), who fell to 1-3-4 in their last eight home games.

With the teams meeting for the second time in six days, Calgary was territorially outplayed by a wide margin in the first period but Rittich kept the Flames in it (see full recap.)

Cullen, Ennis star in Wild win against Islanders 
NEW YORK — Minnesota knows it needs to play better on the road to strengthen its push for a playoff spot. The Wild also want to do a better job of holding third-period leads than they have lately.

They accomplished both Monday against the New York Islanders.

Matt Cullen and Tyler Ennis scored in Minnesota's three-goal second period, and the Wild beat the Islanders 5-3. Jason Zucker added two goals, Joel Eriksson Ek also scored, and Devan Dubnyk stopped 32 shots as Minnesota improved to 4-1-2 in its past seven games.

The Wild just lost three of five on their homestand, including twice when they gave up the tying goal in the third period before falling after regulation.

"Having the lead in the second and keeping it is really good for us," Zucker said (see full recap.)

Arvidsson scores twice in Predators' win vs. Senators 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Viktor Arvidsson scored twice to reach 20 goals this season, and the Nashville Predators beat the Ottawa Senators 5-2 on Monday night.

Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Craig Smith also scored for Nashville, which ended a two-game skid and tied Winnipeg for first place in the Central Division.

The Predators recorded two power-play goals and scored on the man advantage in their second straight game after going six games without converting on the power play.

Pekka Rinne made 36 saves to earn his 30th win of the season.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Max McCormick scored for the Senators, who played catch-up most of the game. Craig Anderson stopped 36 shots (see full recap.)

Flyers vs. Penguins Stadium Series game remains on as scheduled, NHL releases weather contingency plan

Flyers vs. Penguins Stadium Series game remains on as scheduled, NHL releases weather contingency plan

Let the outdoor fun begin.

The Flyers-Penguins 2019 Stadium Series game Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field remains scheduled for an 8 p.m. start.

The NHL released the following statement at noon:

While we are expecting a chance of a relatively light amount of precipitation in and around the game window, current forecasts are indicating that we will have playable conditions. We will continue to monitor weather conditions throughout the day and if a different determination becomes necessary due to the weather conditions being worse than anticipated, we will adjust accordingly.

According to weather reports, the chance of rainfall is around 50 percent at puck drop and starts to increase closer to midnight. Obviously, rain can be one of the most problematic types of Mother Nature with outdoor hockey.

"If it starts to rain pretty hard, as far as wearing a visor, your vision, ice conditions, all that kind of stuff — that can come into play," Sidney Crosby said Friday. "To what extent it's going to rain, if it's light, it's not too bad, but if it starts to pour pretty good, that could be a different story."

Two of the biggest notables from the NHL's contigency plan:

If the game is started, then stopped permanently due to unplayable weather conditions, it will be deemed "official" once two periods have been played. The team leading at the time play is stopped will be declared the winner and will be awarded two points in the standings.

If the game is started, and stopped permanently due to unplayable weather conditions, and fewer than two periods of regular time has been played, the game will be officially "postponed" and, if possible, will be played in its entirety at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, Feb. 24. If the game cannot be replayed at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, Feb. 24, it will be rescheduled at Wells Fargo Center on a date to be determined later in the season.

The rest of the weather-related game procedure contingencies are below:

For the latest updates on the weather forecast, visit NBC Philadelphia right here.

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Flyers vs. Penguins: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Penguins: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Let’s take it outside.

In what’s expected to be a heated battle in the Keystone State Rivalry, the Flyers (28-26-7, 63 points) will host the Pittsburgh Penguins (32-22-7, 71 points) Saturday in the first-ever hockey game to be played at Lincoln Financial Field — home of the Eagles.

The Flyers come into this game trailing the Penguins by eight points for the final wild-card position in the Eastern Conference with both teams down to their final 21 games in the regular season.

Let's take a look at tonight's essentials:

• When: 8 p.m. ET with the The Big Outdoor Hockey Pregame Show at 7:30 p.m.
• Where: Lincoln Financial Field
• Broadcast: NBC
• Live stream: and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• This game is a rematch of the Stadium Series game played two years ago at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh in front of 67,318 fans. The Penguins knocked off the Flyers, 4-2, behind goals from Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel.  

Saturday’s game will mark the fourth time the Flyers have played outdoors and the fifth time for the Penguins. The Flyers are still searching for their first win (0-3) in an outdoor venue, while Pittsburgh is 2-2. 

• In a surprise move, interim head coach Scott Gordon on Friday chose Brian Elliott to start over Carter Hart. A day after, the Flyers announced Hart will miss at least 10 days with a lower-body injury (see story). This will be Elliott’s first start since sustaining a core muscle injury on Nov. 15 against the Devils.

Elliott has appeared in relief the past two games and has stopped 51 of 54 shots for a .940 save percentage.

It's always a tough situation. I found out right before [Friday’s] practice, so I didn't have the morning at all, just kind of right before we went out. For me, personally, I've fought back from an injury. I was just really happy to be out there, back in the element. You kind of feel back at home and you kind of have a new zest for life.

— Elliott

Elliott will be the third different Flyers goaltender the Penguins have faced this season. Anthony Stolarz came up big with a 30-save performance in a 4-2 Flyers win at PPG Paints Arena on Dec. 1. Most recently, the Penguins defeated Hart and the Flyers, 4-1, at the Wells Fargo Center on Feb. 11.

• Could this be Wayne Simmonds' final game with the Flyers? The NHL trade deadline is Monday and Simmonds addressed trade rumors following Friday’s practice at Lincoln Financial Field.

It could be a possibility, but I think up until this point I've just tried to go about my business as normally as possible. I’m going to be thinking about winning the game, not if it's my last game or not with the Flyers. We have points to get to get back into this playoff race, and that's all my brain is processing right now. The other stuff is, you know, it is what it is, right? All I can control is I'm a Philadelphia Flyer right now and I've got to prepare for a game [Saturday].

• Flyers captain Claude Giroux will be playing in his 800th career game tonight, becoming just the third player to participate in that many games in a Flyers sweater. Only Bobby Clarke (1,144) and Bill Barber (903) have played more.

In 46 career regular-season games against Pittsburgh, Giroux has scored 47 points (15 goals, 32 assists).

• Defenseman Radko Gudas will serve the second and final game of his suspension after coming across the head of Nikita Kucherov with his stick. 

In the games Gudas has missed, the Flyers are 0-3-0 and have been outscored 13-3 in those three losses.

• After playing just 9:53 in his NHL debut against the Red Wings on Dec. 17, Flyers defenseman Philippe Myers more than doubled his playing time in Montreal. Myers was on the ice for 20:53, the third most of any Flyers blueliner.

Myers also led the Flyers with nine shot attempts — one on goal, five were blocked and three more that missed the net.

Projected lineup

Claude Giroux-Nolan Patrick-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Michael Raffl-Scott Laughton-Wayne Simmonds
James van Riemsdyk-Phil Varone-Justin Bailey

Ivan Provorov-Travis Sanheim
Robert Hagg-Andrew MacDonald 
Shayne Gostisbehere-Philippe Myers

Brian Elliott
Cam Talbot

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