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Capitals look to avenge home loss to Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

CAPITALS (29-23-10) at FLYERS (32-24-6)


Last 10: Washington 6-2-2; Philadelphia 7-3-0

Season series: The Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers will meet for the final time. Washington won the first two games, Philadelphia the next two. In their most recent game, Sunday in Washington, the Flyers rallied from a 4-2 deficit with two goals in the third and won 5-4 on Vincent Lecavalier's overtime goal.

Big story: Every game for these teams the rest of the way has Stanley Cup Playoff implications. With 20 regular-season games remaining, the Flyers, who enter this game second in the Metropolitan Division, want to do everything they can to cement that postseason spot.

The Capitals also have 20 games left and are two points behind the Flyers. Even with a win, however, Washington can't pass Philadelphia; the Flyers hold the tiebreaker by having eight more regulation/overtime wins.

Team Scope:

Capitals: Looking for an upgrade to their top-six forward group, the Capitals on Tuesday acquired left wing Dustin Penner from the Anaheim Ducks in a trade for a 2014 fourth-round draft pick.

Goal-scoring hasn't been Washington's most glaring need. The Capitals are a top-10 team in goals per game and have the League's top goal-scorer, captain Alex Ovechkin.

Finding a consistent left wing to play alongside Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom has been difficult for coach Adam Oates. Penner could fill that spot, the same as he did on a top line with the Ducks, where he slotted alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

Penner has 13 goals and 32 points in 49 games this season and is a four-time 20-goal scorer. He brings experience; he has 13 goals in 78 playoff games and his name on the Cup twice.

Flyers: Defenseman Chris Pronger can't help the Flyers on the ice but will provide some assistance ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline.

Pronger, who hasn't played in more than two years due to an eye injury and concussion issues, traveled to Philadelphia this week to meet with doctors and to help the team as it assesses potential trades.

With defense a particular area of need, Pronger can provide some strong input. However, he said he's not sure the team needs to do much before the deadline comes at 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The Flyers added Andrew MacDonald from the New York Islanders on Tuesday.

"I don't necessarily think they have to make a trade," Pronger said Tuesday. "At the end of the day they've climbed themselves out of a huge hole. Now they're in a great position and they’re holding all the cards.

"It's just a matter of how they continue to play. The consistency level has been a lot better. It can still be even better than it has been. Continuing to buy into the defensive system and structure and playing well defensively will translate into more offense for us and allow us to keep the puck out of our net and score some goals."

Who's hot: Ovechkin has three goals and two assists in three games after the Olympic break. He leads the League with 43 goals. … Flyers captain Claude Giroux has points in eight of his past 10 games (seven goals, eight assists).

Injury report: Capitals forwards Aaron Volpatti (upper body) and Mikhail Grabovski (ankle) are out. … Flyers goalie Ray Emery (lower body) is doubtful. 


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