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Flyers-Capitals Preview

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The last time the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals met, the result was a very one-sided game - both on the scoreboard and in the penalty minute totals.

While a home-and-home series is sure to produce some more physical play, another fight between goaltenders seems highly unlikely.

Philadelphia seeks a measure of revenge - in the final score only - Sunday when it tries to end a three-game road skid in a matchup with the Capitals.

Having already changed coaches a little less than a month earlier, the Flyers' season hit a low point Nov. 1 with a 7-0 home loss to a Washington team playing without Alex Ovechkin.

That game featured a melee in the third period that resulted in 114 penalty minutes and a fight between Philadelphia goalie Ray Emery and Washington's Braden Holtby. Emery received the highest total with 29 penalty minutes as part of 99 overall for the Flyers, while the Capitals were whistled for 65.

Philadelphia coach Craig Berube doesn't believe there will be any carryover Sunday.

"We are going to try and win the game," Berube told the team's official website. "They should have in the back of their mind that we got embarrassed 7-0. That's it though. You don't want to lose a hockey game like that at any time. That's the way you have to approach it and nothing more than that."

Capitals forward Jason Chimera knows the Flyers will have that ugly loss on their minds.

"It's going to be a physical affair," he said. "They're looking forward to getting back at us. We beat them pretty handily in their building, hockey players don't forget too easily."

Of bigger concern for Berube is his team's three-game road losing streak, during which it has been outscored 17-7.

Those defeats came at the end of a six-game trip before the Flyers (14-15-3) avoided a fourth straight loss with Thursday's 2-1 victory over Montreal. Michael Raffl and Claude Giroux scored and Steve Mason made 20 saves in Philadelphia's sixth home win in a row.

''It's good to see we can put things behind us and move on,'' Giroux said. ''Guys were pretty excited to play home again. Our fans give us a boost. That was one of our best 60-minute performances.''

Mason is expected to start despite going 0-3-1 with a 3.51 goals-against average in his last four appearances against Washington.

Holtby is likely to be in net for the Capitals (17-12-3) after Phillip Grubauer started in a 3-2 shootout loss at Florida on Friday. Holtby was pulled in the first period of his last start Monday after allowing three goals on eight shots in a 6-5 shootout win over Tampa Bay.

Since dropping a season-high four straight, the Capitals are 5-1-1 and have scored 10 goals in their last two home games - both wins. Ovechkin has accounted for five of those goals.

Philadelphia will have to deal not only with Ovechkin - the NHL leader with 26 goals - but also Nicklas Backstrom, who has 10 points in his last six games. He's also recorded at least one point in 18 of 22 games against the Flyers, totaling 11 goals and 24 assists.

The Flyers had won five of six against the Capitals before Joel Ward keyed the November rout with his first career hat trick.

These teams meet against Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Tagged: Flyers, Capitals, Alex Ovechkin, Joel Ward

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