Mike Halford

Detroit Red Wings v Philadelphia Flyers
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WATCH LIVE: Red Wings at Flyers

Big clash for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference tonight, as the Detroit Red Wings travel to Philly to take on the Flyers at Wells Fargo. You can catch the game on NBCSN (7:30 p.m. ET), or online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Some relevant linkage for tonight’s affair:

Mason makes fifth straight start, and third in last five nights

Game Preview: Detroit at Philly

Prized prospect Mantha to stick in Detroit ‘long term’

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    Goalie nods: Mason makes fifth straight start — and third in five nights — as Flyers host Wings

    In this Nov. 4, 2014 photo, Philadelphia Flyers' Steve Mason puts on his helmet before an NHL hockey game against the Edmonton Oilers in Philadelphia. Franny Drummond "zombified" several Flyers for Mason's latest helmet. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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    Steve Mason will be back in goal when Philly hosts Detroit in a crucial playoff jockeying match at Wells Fargo.

    It’ll be the fifth straight start for Mason, who’s 3-1-0 in his last four. That one loss came on Saturday in a 5-4 shootout loss to Florida, a game in which Mason faced 29 shots — normally not that high a total, but a bit of an anomaly for the Flyers, who held Tampa Bay (x2) and Columbus to under 20 shots in Mason’s three wins.

    So, it’ll be interesting to see what happens tonight.

    The Red Wings are coming off a game in which they fired 38 pucks at Toronto goalie Jonathan Bernier, who proceeded to stop all 38. Afterward, defenseman Danny DeKeyser bemoaned the lack of high-percentage shots fired in Bernier’s direction.

    “I didn’t think we had enough quality chances,” DeKeyser said, per MLive. “For the most part (Bernier) did a good job of not letting rebounds come off him. They did a good job of keeping a lot of our chances to the outside.

    “We didn’t have a whole lot of Grade A chances.”

    For the Red Wings, Petr Mrazek starts in goal.

    Elsewhere…

    Marc-Andre Fleury goes for the Penguins, who will host the Isles. Thomas Greiss was in goal for Monday’s come-from-behind win over Florida, so it could be Jean-Francois Berube‘s chance for a start tonight. No word yet.

    — It’s Eddie Lack versus Braden Holtby as the ‘Canes visit Washington.

    — After Ben Bishop started the last three games, Andrei Vasilevskiy gets the nod for Tampa Bay. The Leafs will counter with Bernier.

    Al Montoya looks to give Roberto Luongo the night off, after he played on Tuesday against the Isles. Montreal will go with Mike Condon.

    Devan Dubnyk versus Craig Anderson as the Wild take on the Sens in Ottawa.

    — No word yet if Jonathan Quick will get back in goal for L.A. following Tuesday’s shutout of the ‘Hawks (setting a U.S.-born goalie record in the process). Kari Lehtonen is likely for Dallas.

    James Reimer is going for the Sharks tonight. The visiting Bruins have yet to announce a starter.

    After missing 66 games, MacArthur (concussion) wants to play Sens’ final four

    Clarke MacArthur
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    Nobody would blame Clarke MacArthur for shutting it down, after spending most of this season plagued with concussion problems.

    MacArthur isn’t having it, though.

    “I would love to just get a few games in, to know going into the summer that things are going to be fine for next year,” he said, per the Ottawa Citizen. “You never know, I guess. There’s no certainty to when you’re going to get hit or what’s going to happen, but for me, mentally, it would be nice to play some games.”

    MacArthur has been out of action since Oct. 4 after suffering a concussion against Columbus. It’s believed to be a continuation of the head injury he suffered last season — one that cost him 18 games — and another he suffered during the preseason.

    According to the Citizen, the 30-year-old was set to return two weeks ago, but failed a baseline test on Feb. 29. He’s since been meeting regularly with doctors in the hope of getting cleared for the Sens’ final four games of the season — Apr. 2 versus Philly, Apr. 5 versus Pittsburgh, Apr. 7 versus Florida and the season finale on Apr. 9 against Boston.

    The Sens are no doubt hopeful MacArthur can get back into the mix, and be as productive as last season (when he had 36 points in just 62 games played).

    He’s in the first of a five-year, $23.25 million contract, one that carries through the 2020 campaign.

    ‘Caps can clinch playoff berth tonight, and here’s how…

    BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16:  Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates a goal against the Buffalo Sabres on March 16, 2015 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
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    Thanks to a stellar regular season in which they’ve won 49 times and suffered just 14 regulation losses, the Washington Capitals are on the verge of becoming the first team this season to book a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

    Not too shabby.

    The ‘Caps will go for win No. 50 tonight against the ‘Canes — to put that win total in perspective, Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago and L.A. are all tied for second, with 41.

    Here’s what the Caps need to punch their ticket to the dance:

    * If they get at least one point against the Hurricanes; OR

    * If the Flyers defeat the Red Wings in regulation; OR

    * If the Islanders defeat the Penguins in regulation; OR

    * If the Red Wings defeat the Flyers in regulation AND the Islanders defeat the Penguins in any fashion.

    With a 12-point bulge atop the NHL standings, it’s almost a lock that Washington will have home-ice advantage throughout the postseason.

    That bodes well for them, but not as well for teams visiting Verizon — the Caps are an NHL-best 26-6-2 at home this season.

    Prized prospect Mantha to stick in Detroit ‘long term’

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    Anthony Mantha isn’t going to be a one-and-done.

    Mantha, Detroit’s first-round pick (2oth overall) at the 2013 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight against the Flyers and — per head coach Jeff Blashill — will be sticking around Detroit for the foreseeable future.

    Per MLive, the plan is to keep Mantha around long term. This blueprint reveal comes one day after the club brought Mantha up from AHL Grand Rapids — despite the fact that, earlier this season, the Red Wings shot down the idea of recalling the 21-year-old.

    Things changed, however.

    For one, Detroit’s in the midst of a playoff fight, trying to hold off the aforementioned Flyers for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Wings also suffered a disheartening 1-0 loss to lowly Toronto on Sunday, a game in which they failed to score despite firing 38 shots on Jonathan Bernier.

    It would seem, at least from this morning’s line rushes, that Mantha will be leaned upon to do what he does best — score goals.

    The former Quebec Junior sniper was skating on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Tatar on Tuesday. That should bode well for Mantha — a two-time 50-goal scorer with Val d’Or, he has an impressive 21 goals and 45 points through 56 games with Grand Rapids this season.