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Flyers-Capitals Preview @NHLdotcom
Flyers-Capitals Preview

GAME: Philadelphia Flyers (24-8-5) at Washington Capitals (12-20-3).

TIME: Saturday, 1 p.m. EST.

The Philadelphia Flyers have been unbeatable on the road lately. The Washington Capitals have had trouble winning anywhere.

In the midst of a franchise-record 11-game road trip, the Flyers look to match their longest winning streak of the season when they take on the last-place Capitals.

Philadelphia has won six straight on the road, including the first four games of its current trip.

The Flayers are 9-0-1 on the road since Nov. 19, and have won five straight overall. With a win over the Capitals, Philadelphia would match a six-game winning streak from Oct. 30-Nov. 12.

"I think there's a tremendous feeling of team in the locker room," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Nobody wants to be the person that lets the other person down right now. If you stay with that feeling, you can take a long run."

Sami Kapanen scored in overtime for the second straight game after NHL goal leader Simon Gagne tied it midway through the third period, lifting the Flyers to a 4-3 win at Carolina on Thursday.

Brian Savage also scored for first-place Philadelphia, which extended its lead in the Atlantic Division to five points over the New York Rangers.

Washington, at the bottom of the Southeast Division, is 4-8-3 since Nov. 22.

The Capitals suffered their second-worst margin of defeat Wednesday, 7-2 to the New Jersey Devils.

Washington has lost by seven goals twice this season.

Rookie Alex Ovechkin and Brian Sutherby scored for Washington on Wednesday. Ovechkin opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 9:44 of the first, his rookie-leading 22nd goal. He has four goals and four assists in his last four games.

With backup Brent Johnson suffering a groin injury in the second period Wednesday, Olaf Kolzig figures to start Saturday.

"I felt like I had no strength," Johnson said. "It was tough to squeeze the legs together. I didn't want it to get any worse."

Washington, which opens a six-game homestand Saturday, is 1-4-1 at MCI Center since Nov. 27.

STANDINGS: Flyers - 53 points, 1st place, Atlantic Division. Capitals - 27 points, 5th place, 23 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Flyers - Gagne, 27 goals; Peter Forsberg, 40 assists and 52 points; Donald Brashear, 47 PIM. Capitals - Ovechkin, 22 goals, 20 assists and 42 points; Brendan Witt, 91 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Flyers - Power play: 18 percent (42 for 234), 15th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.9 percent (176 for 223), 29th. Capitals - Power play: 13.5 percent (28 for 208), 29th. Penalty killing: 78 percent (198 for 254), 30th.

GOALTENDERS: Flyers - Antero Niittymaki (13-4-3, 1 SO, 2.80 GAA); Robert Esche (11-4-2, 3.14). Capitals - Kolzig (10-14-3, 3.45); Johnson (2-5-0, 4.91).

SEASON SERIES: Flyers, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 3; Flyers, 8-1. At Philadelphia, Gagne and Jeff Carter scored two goals apiece to lead the Flyers.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Flyers - 11-3-2 on the road; Capitals - 8-8-2 at home.

Associated Press
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