The Philadelphia Flyers left the Wells Fargo Center Saturday after defeating the New York Rangers 4-2, then they traveled to face another Metropolitan Division rival. Craig Berube's third-place squad (68 points) will face off against the fourth-place Washington Capitals (67 points) at 12:30 p.m. EST on NBC.
The Flyers rebounded nicely from a 7-3 home loss on Thursday to the San Jose Sharks. Their win over the Rangers pulled them within one point of second place in the Metro. The Pittsburgh Penguins (84 points) continue to lead this year's hockey chase.
Berube responded to media questions about rookie backup goaltender Cal Heeter yesterday with understandable diplomacy. When asked if Steve Mason would play his third game in four days, or if Ray Emery's replacement (Heeter) would get the start, the head coached hedged his bets. He said that he had confidence in the 25-year-old netminder, who was recalled from Adirondack in response to a groin injury that Emery suffered in Thursday's Sharks' game, but that a decision hadn't been made as of then (postgame Saturday).
Capitals' head coach Adam Oates played 14 games for the Flyers during the 2001-02 season. The Hall of Fame defenseman, who was 39 at the time, was obtained in a trade deadline deal.
Bob Clarke sent then-goaltending prospect Maxime Ouellet, along with the Flyers first, second and third round 2002 draft choices to Washington in that deal. Bill Barber's orange and black team was bumped from Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals (4-1) by the Ottawa Senators that spring, which spelled the end of his short tenure behind the 'Bullies' bench.
As Wednesday's trade deadline approached the general managers of both teams will be looking to enhance their rosters, as both are primed to make a push toward post-season play.