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Flyers 5, Capitals 4 @NHLdotcom

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Unlikely contributions from an enforcer and a fourth-line player gave the Philadelphia Flyers a much-needed lift.

Sami Kapanen scored the go-ahead goal and Brian Savage had two power-play scores, leading the injury-depleted Flyers to a 5-4 victory over the undermanned Washington Capitals on Friday night.

"Our role players came through," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "You had one team (Washington) playing reckless and the other trying to get away with playing careful."

Despite being without star center Peter Forsberg and six other regulars, the Flyers won their second straight game to remain one point behind the Atlantic Division-leading New York Rangers with one game left before the Olympic break.

Simon Gagne scored his 36th goal and Donald Brashear also scored for Philadelphia, which is 6-7-3 after a 9-0-2 stretch.

Rookie sensation Alexander Ovechkin scored his 35th goal and Brian Sutherby, Brian Willsie and Dainius Zubrus added goals for Washington, which is tied for the third-fewest points in the NHL.

"If we played the whole game the way we did the third period, we win," Capitals goalie Brent Johnson said.

While the Flyers were missing centers Keith Primeau and Petr Nedved, defensemen Kim Johnsson, Mike Rathje, and Chris Therien and forward Branko Radivojevic, the Capitals were without center Jeff Halpern, forwards Matt Bradley and Chris Clark and defenseman Steve Eminger.

Seconds after killing a two-man disadvantage, the Flyers went ahead 3-2 on Kapanen's power-play goal. Kapanen took a pass from Freddy Meyer and one-timed a shot from the right point past Johnson.

During a 98-second two-man advantage, the Capitals had several scoring chances, but goalie Robert Esche turned aside each attempt, including a pad save on a point-blank shot by Ovechkin.

"It was a huge turning point," Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said.

Philadelphia tied it at 2 early in the second period on a rare goal by Brashear, a tough guy not known for his offensive skills. Brashear picked up a loose puck near center ice, lumbered down the right side, eluded defenseman Bryan Muir and lifted a shot over Johnson's shoulder for just his second goal.

"It's a move I practice a lot," Brashear said of the fake. "I see good players do it. I just shot it."

In the first period, Brashear stuck to dropping the gloves, squaring off with Doug Doull. The teams were feisty, with two fights in the opening 10 minutes and a minor scrum at the end of the game.

Savage scored his first goal to put the Flyers ahead 4-2 midway through the second. Joni Pitkanen, who hit the post on a shot seconds earlier, sent a cross-ice pass to Savage, who shot it into a wide-open net. Savage scored again to make it 5-2 a few minutes later.

"I finally got some bounces to go my way," said Savage, who has six goals in 43 games.

Ovechkin's power-play goal in the second cut it to 5-3. The Capitals got within 5-4 with 7:44 left when Zubrus scored with a man-advantage.

But the Flyers tightened up on defense and Esche made several of his 39 saves to preserve the victory. The Capitals pulled their goalie for an extra skater and were on the power play in the final minute, but still couldn't tie it.

"Esche was outstanding. He was our best player," Hitchcock said.

Washington scored two goals 76 seconds apart to take a 2-1 lead midway through the first.

Sutherby took a behind-the-net pass from Boyd Kane and flicked a shot that went in off Esche's pad to tie it at 1. Willsie scored on the power play to make it 2-1.

Gagne, who missed Wednesday night's victory over the Islanders because of a stomach virus, gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead. He ripped a slap shot from just outside the right circle through a screen and past Johnson.

Notes: Forsberg, who has a groin injury, said he felt a little better after skating in the morning, but Hitchcock said the five-time All-Star will sit out his eighth straight game on Saturday. Forsberg still hasn't made a decision on playing for Sweden in the Olympics. "He's not going to play unless he's 100 percent," Hitchcock said. ... Washington called up five players from its AHL affiliate in Hershey. ... The Flyers have five power-play goals in the last two games after an 0-for-23 slump with the man-advantage.

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