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Capitals hope to keep rolling against Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

CAPITALS (7-10-1) AT FLYERS (9-11-1)


Last 10: Washington 5-5-0; Philadelphia 5-5-0

Season series: This is the second of three meetings. The Capitals won 3-2 in Washington on Feb. 1.

Big Story: Can the Capitals continue to build on their recent success? Or will the Flyers finally figure out a way to cure their early game woes? The Flyers have allowed the game's first goal 12 times in their 20 games.

Team Scope:

Capitals: Washington's 3-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday was their fifth in the last seven games, and after their 2-8-1 start, they're 5-2-0.

"I think it's been going great," Capitals defenseman John Carlson said. "The best part of the whole scenario is that from day one, everyone stuck to it. When we were losing games and we were playing bad, guys didn't come in the room and question anything. We stayed as a team and we did the right things. Clearly it took a little bit longer than any of us would like, but in the end hopefully it works out for the better."

The biggest reason for the change could be the team's play defensively. In their first 11 games, they allowed 41 non-shootout goals, an average of 3.73 goals-allowed per game. But in their seven-game hot streak, they've allowed just 14 goals, for an average of 2.00 goals-allowed per game, including a pair of shutouts by Braden Holtby.

Flyers: Philadelphia dipped into its past to fill another injury-related hole in its lineup, acquiring Simon Gagne from the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. The Flyers needed an extra forward when it was revealed rookie forward Tye McGinn had sustained a broken orbital bone and would be out at least two weeks.

Gagne had spent his first 10 NHL seasons with the Flyers, the team that picked with the 22nd pick of the 1998 NHL Draft. Gagne had five points in 11 games this season, his second with the Kings, but had been a healthy scratch the last four games and said he was nearing the point of asking for a trade when Tuesday's move happened.

It's the second time in Gagne's 13-season career that he's been traded, but returning to Philadelphia certainly softens the blow.

"It's always a shock first of all getting traded," Gagne said, "but when they told me the place I was going, the place I was there for more than 10 years and where everything started, so it's going back to the place where I'm really familiar and really excited to go back to Philly."

Who's hot: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has five points in his last two games. … Flyers forward Jakub Voracek has 14 points in his six-game scoring streak.

Injury Report: For the Capitals, forwards Brooks Laich (groin) and Marcus Johansson (upper body) and defenseman Jack Hillen and Dmitry Orlov (upper body) are out. … Besides McGinn, the Flyers are missing forwards Jody Shelley (hip) and Matt Read (torn rib-cage muscles), defenseman Andrej Meszaros (shoulder) and goalie Michael Leighton (finger).

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