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Battle of division leaders pits Capitals vs. Flyers

by Brian Compton
FLYERS (8-4-1) at CAPITALS (9-4-0)
Last 10:
Philadelphia 7-3-0; Washington 7-3-0
Season Series:
This is the first of four meetings between the teams. Washington went 3-0-1 against Philadelphia in 2009-10 and outscored the Flyers 22-13.
Big Story: Philadelphia continues to roll as it earned its sixth straight victory Saturday night, 2-1 over the New York Islanders. Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves, while Mike Richards had a goal and an assist. Washington, meanwhile, has won its last three games and finds itself atop the Southeast Division standings with nine wins in its first 13 contests.
Team Scope:
Flyers: They didn't play particularly well through the first 40 minutes, but the Flyers found their game in the third period and continued to pepper Dwayne Roloson until Andreas Nodl beat the Isles' goaltender with 6:25 remaining. Philadelphia then survived a delay of game penalty on Bobrovsky with 1:06 to go and hung on to extend the winning streak to six games.
"Once we killed the penalty at the start of the third, we got our heads screwed on tight," defenseman Chris Pronger said. "We were playing the way we know how and getting pucks in deep. We got our legs moving. We sustained pressure. We had a lot of good opportunities and great looks. We had them hemmed in there a number of times."

Philadelphia will also have Danny Briere back in the lineup after the highly-skilled forward served a three-game suspension for cross-checking New York Islanders forward Frans Nielsen in the head last Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Capitals: Washington extended its win streak to three on Friday night when it earned a 5-3 victory against the Boston Bruins at the Verizon Center. Five different players scored for the Caps, while Nicklas Backstrom chipped in with two assists.
"I feel great about the fact that we played tremendous the first two periods," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I'm not going to try to spin any negatives on this. That's a great team and we shut them down in [the first] two periods. They came out really hard in the third and they got two power-play goals and a couple of breakdowns. Then we righted the ship and I don't think they had more than one scoring chance after they tied it."
Who's Hot:
Bobrovsky has won six straight starts and can tie the Flyers' team record for consecutive wins by a rookie, set by Pelle Lindbergh almost three decades ago (1982-83). … Caps superstar Alex Ovechkin already has three game-winning goals and 17 points (8 goals, 9 assists) in 13 games, while Alexander Semin is 8-6-14 with a plus-5 rating.
Injury Report:
Michael Leighton (back), Matt Walker (hip) and Ian Laperriere (post-concussion syndrome) are all out for Philadelphia. … Tom Poti (lower body) and Semyon Varlamov (groin) are day-to-day for the Capitals. Marcus Johansson, who is recovered from a hip injury, was assigned to AHL Hershey on Saturday.
Stat Pack:
Washington outshot Boston 39-18 on Friday night, and every player but John Erskine had at least one shot on goal. The Caps scored three goals in the second period and another two in the third.
Puck Drop: "Bob's been steady. There's no question we were off a little bit and our goaltender was on. That's what good goaltending does -- it gives you an opportunity to win when you're not at your best. They hang on and they hold the fort. You get your legs under you and you can come back. When there are nights like that that happen, it's nice to see him stand tall for us for a while and let the guys dig deep, which they did." -- Flyers coach Peter Laviolette on Bobrovsky

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