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Caps beat Flyers in shootout for 7th straight win

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The surging Washington Capitals and their fans finally stood up to the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Capitals edged the Flyers 2-1 in a shootout on Tuesday night for their seventh straight win. The victory helped avenge the only loss they've had in a month and ease some of the sting from last year's first-round playoff series loss to Philly.

"Last time they beat us bad," goaltender Jose Theodore said. "We owed them a game."

Theodore made 33 saves and stopped all three shots in the shootout. Nicklas Backstrom scored on the power play in the first period for the Capitals, and Viktor Kozlov was the only player in the shootout to find the net.

Washington has won 12 of 13, its last defeat a 7-1 drubbing at Philadelphia on Dec. 20. The Capitals improved to an Eastern Conference-best 18-1-1 at the Verizon Center and have never had a better overall record at the midpoint of an 82-game season.

In other NHL games Tuesday, it was: Buffalo 4, Ottawa 2; Minnesota 1, Boston 0; Carolina 3, New Jersey 2; Pittsburgh 3, Atlanta 1; Detroit 3, Columbus 0; Florida 4, Toronto 2; Colorado 2, Nashville 1; Chicago 6, Phoenix 0; Anaheim 3, Los Angeles 1; and Calgary 5, San Jose 2.

In Washington, the most startling turnabout was the atmosphere in the arena, where a playoff-intensity Capitals crowd sold out the building for the sixth straight game.

"They're starting to get some fans now, I guess," Philadelphia center Jeff Carter said. "We can't buy all the tickets."

Perhaps the fans were feeding off Bruce Boudreau's comments Monday, when the Capitals coach said: "I don't know how much they like us, and you know we don't like them."

Braydon Coburn tied the score with a power-play goal early in the third for the Flyers, but Simon Gagne, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were all thwarted by Theodore in the shootout. Martin Biron was also outstanding in the game, making 33 saves for Philadelphia.

At Raleigh. N.C., Sergei Samsonov scored his 200th career goal to help Carolina withstand a late rally.

Cam Ward made 26 saves and Ray Whitney and Tuomo Ruutu also scored for the Hurricanes, who extended their winning streak to a season-high four games.

Paul Martin scored a power-play goal for the Devils in the third period to break Ward's shutout. Patrik Elias added another with 21.5 seconds left to bring the Devils within one.

At Boston, Niklas Backstrom stopped 28 shots for his second straight shutout and fifth of the season for Minnesota and Marek Zidlicky scored a power-play goal.

It was Boston's second straight loss, coming after its longest winning streak in nearly 36 years was stopped at 10 games on Saturday.

At Detroit, Ty Conklin made 23 saves for his eighth career shutout and Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and two assists for the Red Wings.

Marian Hossa and Henrik Zetterberg each added a goal as Detroit won its fourth straight. Conklin got his fourth shutout this season and stretched his home scoreless streak to 138 minutes, 46 seconds.

Steve Mason stopped 37 shots for Columbus.

At Pittsburgh, Petr Sykora ended host the Penguins' seven-game drought without a power-play goal and scored twice, and Evgeni Malkin came out of a slump with three assists.

The Penguins, outscored 10-1 in their previous two games, also got captain Sidney Crosby's first power-play goal in 26 games and ended a five-game losing streak.

At Buffalo, N.Y., Derek Roy had a goal and two assists and the Sabres avoided blowing a three-goal lead.

Matt Ellis, Drew Stafford scored and Thomas Vanek added an empty-netter in the final minute for Buffalo. Ryan Miller stopped 31 shots to win his fourth in five starts.

Jason Spezza scored both goals for the Senators 32 seconds apart in the second period.

At Toronto, Stephen Weiss, Ville Peltonen, Michael Frolik and Gregory Campbell scored to lift the Panthers.

Former Maple Leafs defenseman Bryan McCabe added an assist and goaltender Tomas Vokoun stopped 24 shots.

Alexei Ponikarovsky and Jason Blake scored for the Maple Leafs and Vesa Toskala made 30 saves.

At Nashville, Tenn., Wojtek Wolski scored both goals to send the Predators to their fifth straight loss.

Ryan Jones scored for Nashville.

At Glendale, Ariz., Adam Burish started a four-goal outburst in the opening period with his first score of the season and Cristobal Huet had 22 saves for Chicago.

Jonathan Toews had two late goals and an assist, and Kris Versteeg, Ben Eager and Colin Fraser also scored for the Blackhawks, who have won 11 of 13.

At Calgary, Alberta, Daymond Langkow scored twice and Curtis Glencross and Langkow also scored for the Flames, who also got a power-play goal from Mark Giordano.

Ryane Clowe and Mike Grier scored for the Sharks.

At Anaheim, Calif., Samuel Pahlsson and Bobby Ryan scored power-play goals, and Jonas Hiller made 17 saves for the Ducks.

Pahlsson snapped a tie with 10:15 remaining, redirecting a centering pass from Scott Niedermayer for his fourth goal. Rob Niedermayer added an empty-net goal with 7 seconds left.

Kyle Quincey scored for Los Angeles.

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