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Flyers return home to host Caps

by Dan Rosen /
CAPITALS (25-14-7) at FLYERS (29-11-5)


Last 10: Washington 5-2-3; Philadelphia 7-3-0

Season series: Third of four meetings between the clubs this season but the first at Wells Fargo Center. Each team has 3 points in the season series. The previous two games at Verizon Center went into overtime with the Caps winning, 3-2, on Nov. 7 and the Flyers taking a 5-4 decision in a shootout on Nov. 20.

Big Story -- The Flyers are playing only their second game at home since Christmas, but it's not as if they missed Wells Fargo Center too much. They went 7-3 during a stretch when they played nine of 10 on the road. In fact, they're a better team on the road right now than they are at home (16-5-3 road record as opposed to 13-6-2 home record). Washington is looking to get its road record up to snuff. The Caps are 9-9-2 away from Verizon Center.

Team Scope:

Capitals -- After losing three in a row and getting shut out for two periods against Ottawa, the Capitals offense finally returned in the third period Sunday. They scored three unanswered goals and rode 22 saves from Michal Neuvirth to a 3-1 win. The goals came from Brooks Laich (first in 13 games), John Carlson (first in 10 games) and Jason Chimera (first in 10 games). Alex Ovechkin was shut out for the fourth straight game and Nicklas Backstrom hasn't scored now in 20 straight games. However, rookie Marcus Johansson, who will be centering Ovechkin and Laich, played a season-high 22:16. It was nearly five minutes more than his previous season-high, a mark he set Friday against Vancouver with 17:30 of ice time.

"Just another solid game," Boudreau said of Johansson after Sunday's win. "He was good. He's getting better and better each night."

Flyers -- Chris Pronger is on the mend and very close to returning to the ice, but it's not going to be Tuesday. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Pronger will see the doctor Wednesday and at that point it'll be determined if his right foot is healed enough so he could return to the lineup Thursday against Ottawa. Pronger broke his right foot on Dec. 15. The Flyers are 8-4 in his absence. Meanwhile, the Flyers have won six of seven this month and seven of 10 overall. Six of their last seven wins have come on the road.

"We really put an emphasis on those 10 games," defenseman Matt Carle told "We kind of had them marked on the calendar. We knew if we did well in that stretch, we'd be in a good spot in the standings at the end of it, and we're pretty happy about it. But there's still 30-plus games to go."

Who's Hot -- Flyers wing Ville Leino is on a four-game point streak over which he has 2 goals and 4 assists. Leino has 2 goals and 7 assists in his last six games. Danny Briere had a five-game goal streak snapped Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Injury Report -- Pronger has the Flyers lone injury of note. The Caps will be without Matt Bradley (broken finger), Alexander Semin (lower body), Eric Fehr (shoulder) and Tom Poti (lower body)

Stat Pack -- This comes right from Caps' P.R. man Nate Ewell, who tweeted Monday that on Tuesday Washington will face a team equal to or above it in the standings for the fifth time in eight games. Last season, the Capitals didn't face a team higher than them in the standings after Dec. 30.

Puck Drop -- Tuesday's game is the first of three in a row on the road for the Caps, who haven't had a three-game road trip since late October.

"It's a huge challenge," Alex Ovechkin told reporters at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Monday. "Right now we win last game and we feel pretty good, but it's huge for everyone. We have to play our best. We have to play like how we played in the third period (against Ottawa). We have to start right away, be ready for pressure and be ready for a good atmosphere."

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