Alex Ovechkin will try to make some history when his Washington Capitals take on the visiting Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.
Ovechin recorded a natural hat trick in Tuesday's 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. He scored three straight goals during the third period in just 4 minutes, 24 seconds. That turned a 2-1 Los Angeles lead into a 4-2 Washington edge.
And now, Ovechkin has 698 career goals, leaving him two shy of becoming the eighth player ever to score 700 career goals. He has scored 14 in his past seven games, as the Capitals' captain has been hot.
After Thursday's games, Ovechkin led the NHL with 40 goals, thanks to the hat trick that sunk the Kings.
"In less than five minutes, he took over the game," Capitals coach Todd Reirden said on NHL.com. "We win the game because of that. That's what superstars do. ... This is a real, real special player."
The team's website also said Ovechkin became the first NHL player to register three hat tricks in six games since 1992-93.
The Caps also received a strong game in net from Braden Holtby (29 saves in 31 shots faced against the Kings), who had been struggling of late. Rookie goalie Ilya Samsonov had played the previous two games, although Reirden cautioned people not to read too much into that, but got hurt when a high shot hit him during a game-day workout on Thursday.
Washington scratched him from the Kings game, and there was no word on Friday morning of his status for this contest. Holtby now has won 20 games for the eighth straight season.
John Carlson continued being an offensive-minded defenseman. He had a goal and two assists in that Los Angeles win. Carlson now has 14 goals and 51 assists for a team-high 65 points this season. He also set a new record for fewest number of games needed by a Caps defenseman to get 50 assists.
Former Capital Mike Green set the previous record of 63 games 10 years ago, according to the team's website.
The Flyers are coming in after the New Jersey Devils handed them an ugly 5-0 loss on Thursday night.
Philadelphia had won two in a row before this game, which New Jersey clinched with three-third period goals for a big road victory. The Flyers certainly had their chances, finishing with 46 shots, but Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood stopped all of them.
In fact, the Flyers outshot New Jersey 46-19 but could not use it to their advantage. They gave up a goal in the first minute and never caught up.
"At the end of the day, everything that could go wrong did," Philadelphia coach Alain Vigneault said in a postgame press conference. "They made us pay for our mistakes."
In fact, the Devils scored 13 seconds into the game and on the first shot of each period, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. That kept stopping the Flyers from making any major runs.
The Flyers had two players set individual marks as Ivan Provorov played in both his 300th consecutive and 300th NHL game, according to the team's site. That site also noted that Claude Giroux also extended his streak to 300 consecutive games played.
Now, Philadelphia will be playing several Eastern Conference foes, something that could become important as the team is battling with Carolina for the final playoff spot.
The Capitals won the season's first meeting against the Flyers on Nov. 13, prevailing 2-1 in a shootout. The Flyers recorded an impressive 3-2 on Jan. 8, with both matchups in Philadelphia.
--Field Level Media