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Flyers eager to get back at it

Ready for Capitals after tough loss to Rangers

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

The Philadelphia Flyers certainly weren't in a good mood when they got on the train to head south for their game Sunday at the Washington Capitals (12 p.m. ET; NBC). 

But after their shootout loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday, having to get ready for a game 24 hours later can be a good thing.

"The nice thing about hockey is you can get right back out tomorrow and you can put it behind you pretty quickly," Flyers goalie Steve Mason said. "We'll have a train ride to Washington and be ready for another tough test." 

Philadelphia had a 2-1 lead until New York's Keith Yandle scored with 12.9 seconds remaining in regulation. Then the Rangers won it in the shootout. 

Video: Rangers top Flyers in shootout

The Flyers played most of the game without leading goal-scorer Wayne Simmonds, who was assessed a match penalty at 10:36 of the first period. A match penalty brings an automatic review by the NHL Department of Player Safety for potential suspension. 

As if playing the team with the best record in the League wasn't already enough of a challenge. 

"We'll see tomorrow," forward Jakub Voracek said. "Hard to say right now. We played great hockey today. We have to make sure we bring the same intensity tomorrow." 

Though the Flyers aren't happy with the outcome of their game Saturday, defenseman Michael Del Zotto said they did a lot of good things. 

"I think our first [period] and especially our second, our assertiveness on the forecheck, hunting pucks, our compete level," he said. "When we play like that on our forecheck, we play as a group, we're a tough team to beat. Doesn't matter who we're playing in this league. You can see we're one of the toughest teams when we're playing like that. Just a matter of doing that for 60 minutes and doing it consistently each game." 

That sustained forecheck pressure has driven the Flyers' scoring. They're 24th in the League at 2.38 goals per game, but in 13 games dating to Jan. 5, they have 41 goals (3.15 per game), sixth-most in the League. 

Leading the surge has been the emergence of rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who had a goal and an assist Saturday. He is on a seven-game point streak, a record for Flyers rookie defensemen; he has two goals and eight assists in that span. He leads NHL rookie defensemen with nine goals and 26 points in 32 games. 

Also playing well is the top line of Claude Giroux between Simmonds and Voracek. Simmonds had six goals in four games, including back-to-back two-goal games, entering Saturday. Giroux, who had an assist Saturday, has four goals and 14 points in his past 10 games. Voracek had an assist Saturday to extend his point streak to six games; he has three goals and 11 points in that span. 

The Flyers defeated the Capitals 4-3 in overtime in Washington on Jan. 27, the final game before the All-Star break. Although that provides a bit of extra confidence, the players know it won't make the game any easier. 

"We definitely like the way we played against them when we played them last time," Del Zotto said. "With the way we're forechecking right now, we're a tough team to play against. If we continue to do that ... those guys aren't too interested in playing defensively. They want to play with the puck. If we keep it in their end, it makes it a tough game for them." 

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