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Sat, Nov 20, 2010 - 7:00 PM ET
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Flyers-Capitals Preview

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Despite the top two offenses in the league, the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals may be more focused on defense in this matchup.

Both teams hope to rebound from disappointing defensive performances Saturday night when they meet at the Verizon Center.

The Flyers are first in the NHL with 70 goals and NHL-leading Washington is next with 69, but after getting shut out Friday night for the first time since Dec. 9, 2009, the Capitals (14-5-1) are eager to put their 5-0 loss to Atlanta behind them.

"Sometimes you have to play this game with a little bit of amnesia," said Brooks Laich. "Push it aside for now, move on, and look forward to preparing for tomorrow night."

Rookie Braden Holtby, who made 23 saves in Washington's 3-2 win over Philadelphia Nov. 7, was replaced by Michael Neuvirth midway through the first period after allowing three early goals.

Neuvirth, who has never faced the Flyers, is expected back in goal Saturday. The third-year netminder is 8-1-0 with a 2.82 goals-against average at home this season.

Alexander Ovechkin was held scoreless for the third time in four games as Washington had its nine-game point streak stopped. The Capitals had been 8-0-1 before Friday's loss.

"We lost it, but its done. Tomorrow is a new day," he said. "We didn't work how we are supposed to work, and we know it."

Ovechkin, tied for the team lead with 25 points, has 33 in 20 career games against Philadelphia, including seven goals and five assists during his six-game point streak against the franchise.

Capitals defenseman Tom Poti missed his fourth straight game with a groin injury and his status for Saturday is unknown. Washington may also be without forward Mike Knuble, who left Friday's game with an upper-body injury.

Philadelphia (12-6-2) was shut out in Montreal on Tuesday to end its 10-game points streak before losing 8-7 to Tampa Bay on Thursday night. The Flyers hope to avoid their second three-game losing streak of the season.

That task may be difficult to carry out, though, as Washington has won 10 of 11 on home ice, including seven straight.

After allowing a season-worst eight goals, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette knows his team needs to come out with a better defensive effort against the Capitals.

"Discipline again factored into the game (against the Lightning)," he told the team's official website. "Those are the things that seem to haunt us, the small things that add up to a tough night defensively.

"Again, a majority of their chances came on the power play so if we go to the box the way we did again last night, we'll shoot ourselves in the foot and we'll have to kill penalties against a very good Washington group, and you find yourself getting into trouble that way."

Neither Philadelphia goalie fared well against Tampa Bay. Rookie Sergei Bobrovsky allowed four goals on 11 shots in his 12th straight start before he was replaced by Brian Boucher in the second period despite a 5-4 lead. Boucher surrendered four goals on 22 shots.

The Flyers will be looking to get Claude Giroux, who leads the team with 22 points, back on track after he failed to register a point in his previous two games.

Philadelphia is 11-2-0 when he records at least one point.

The Capitals are 5-0-1 in the last six meetings, including four straight wins.

Tagged: Flyers, Capitals, Tom Poti

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