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Caps' homestand continues against Flyers

by Brian Compton
FLYERS (35-21-7) at CAPITALS (32-27-5)


Last 10: Philadelphia 5-5-0; Washington 4-6-0.

Season Series: This is the third of four meetings between the teams. They've split the first two games, as Philadelphia evened things up with a 5-1 win at the Verizon Center on Dec. 13.

Big Story: Despite their rocky start that ultimately cost Bruce Boudreau his job as coach, the Capitals still have an awfully good chance of having home-ice advantage in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Washington, which dropped a 5-0 decision to the New Jersey Devils on Friday, enters Sunday's action just three points back of the first-place Florida Panthers in the Southeast Division.

"You don't want to wake up in the morning and see that you're not in the playoffs," forward Brooks Laich said. "There's a lot of hockey left. Sometimes you're gonna lose hockey games. That's the way it goes. We've got to rebound."

Team Scope:

Flyers: Philadelphia has alternated wins and losses over its last seven games, as it followed last Tuesday's 1-0 loss at San Jose with a 6-3 victory against the Islanders at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday. Matt Read scored twice for the Flyers, while Jaromir Jagr tallied the go-ahead goal.

"It is a very nice and important two points for the standings ... (we're) trying to climb," goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov said. "Especially the last couple of games against the Islanders were tough. It wasn't that much easier tonight, but the team put in a very good effort and I think we deserved the win."

Capitals: It's the third of a five-game homestand for Washington, which rallied to beat the Islanders in overtime last Tuesday before Friday's dud against the Devils. With 18 games remaining in their regular season, the Caps know they can't put forth any more performances like the one against New Jersey.

"Obviously, you don't want to lose a game like that," defenseman Dennis Wideman said. "We played right into their hands. The one thing you can't do when you're playing the Devils is turn the puck over. You can't put anything in the middle. Pretty much all of their goals, except their power-play goal, we turned the puck over."

Who's Hot: Flyers center Claude Giroux had 3 assists against the Islanders and has a goal and 6 assists over his last five games. … Alex Ovechkin has 2 goals and 2 assists in his last four contests.

Injury Report: Philadelphia will be without James van Riemsdyk (foot) and Tom Sestito (groin). … Washington will be missing Nicklas Backstrom (concussion symptoms) and Tom Poti (groin).

Stat Pack: Philadelphia has scored at least four goals in five of its last seven games but was shut out in the other two. … With Friday's loss, Washington fell to 4-19-1 when Ovechkin is held without a point.

Puck Drop: "I thought we packed it in. We looked like a real timid, beaten-down hockey team. We have to address that and make sure there is no quit in us, ever." -- Caps forward Troy Brouwer after Friday's 5-0 loss to New Jersey

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