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Flyers-Capitals Preview @NHLdotcom
Flyers-Capitals Preview

GAME: Philadelphia Flyers (26-8-6) at Washington Capitals (13-22-3).

TIME: Friday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Philadelphia Flyers hope to remain unbeaten in regulation on their franchise-record 11-game road trip as they visit the Washington Capitals at the MCI Center.

Philadelphia improved to 6-0-1 on its extended swing Thursday at Madison Square Garden as Simon Gagne, the NHL's leading goal scorer, tallied just seven seconds into overtime to lift the Flyers to a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers.

Gagne's 28th goal of the season was the second-fastest in the history of NHL overtime and the quickest since the extra frame was changed in 1999 to feature four skaters per side.

"It would be fun to see," Gagne said. "I don't know how many seconds, but that was a quick one."

Gagne took the puck after Peter Forsberg won the center-ice faceoff and skated to the right of goalie Kevin Weekes, beating him between the pads just off the short-side post.

Forsberg is second in the NHL with 41 assists, behind San Jose Joe Thornton (43).

Philadelphia has earned at least one point in 16 of its last 18 games (13-2-3). It leads the second-place Rangers by seven points in the Atlantic Division midway through the season.

The Flyers' only blemish on the trip thus far was a 4-3 shootout loss to the Capitals at the MCI Center on Sunday.

Washington has lost two straight since, and four its last five overall.

The Capitals managed one goal against Ottawa goaltender Dominick Hasek in a 3-1 loss to the Senators on Wednesday. Matt Pettinger scored for Washington in the third period, but it was the only shot to get by Hasek, who finished with 23 saves.

Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin went scoreless, ending a six-game goal-scoring streak - a franchise record for a rookie. Ovechkin leads all rookies with 24 goals and 46 points.

STANDINGS: Flyers - 58 points, 1st place, Atlantic Division. Capitals - 29 points, 5th place, 25 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Flyers - Gagne, 28 goals; Forsberg, 41 assists and 54 points; Mike Knuble, 50 PIM. Capitals - Ovechkin, 24 goals, 22 assists and 46 points; Brendan Witt, 103 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Flyers - Power play: 18.7 percent (47 for 251), 10th in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.8 percent (190 for 238), 28th (tied). Capitals - Power play: 13.5 percent (31 for 230), 28th. Penalty killing: 78.2 percent (219 for 280), 30th.

GOALTENDERS: Flyers - Antero Niittymaki (15-4-4, 2 SO, 2.69 GAA); Robert Esche (11-4-2, 0, 3.14). Capitals - Olaf Kolzig (11-16-3, 0, 3.43); Brent Johnson (2-5-0, 0, 4.91).


LAST MEETING: Sunday; Capitals, 4-3 (SO). At Washington, Brian Willsie beat goaltender Antero Niittymaki low and to the stick side with the deciding shot in the shootout to lift the Capitals to victory. Ovechkin had a goal and an assist, and Dainius Zubrus also scored for Washington.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Flyers - 13-3-3 on the road; Capitals - 9-10-2 at home.

Associated Press
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