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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, November 1st (All times Eastern)
Washington Capitals (5-7-0) at Philadelphia Flyers (3-8-0), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Capitals will try to avoid a third straight loss when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers for Friday's battle at Wells Fargo Center.
However, Washington will have to halt its slide without the services of superstar winger Alex Ovechkin, who did not make the trip to Philadelphia due to injury and is day-to-day.
The Capitals are completing a five-game road trip on Friday and are 2-2-0 on the swing, having won the first two tilts in Winnipeg and Edmonton before losing to Calgary and Vancouver.
After absorbing a 5-2 loss Saturday against the Flames, the Caps were handed a 3-2 setback Tuesday in Vancouver. Washington grabbed a 2-1 lead less than two minutes into the third period, but Ryan Kesler and Daniel Sedin answered with goals for the Canucks to grab the close decision at Rogers Arena.
Jason Chimera had a goal and an assist while Mikhail Grabovski scored the other goal for the Capitals. Michal Neuvirth made 38 saves in defeat.
"They put a lot of pucks on net and it wasn't an easy game," Neuvirth said. "They are a pretty good team around the net and we took too many penalties and I think we got tired a little."
Ovechkin suffered an unspecified upper-body injury in Tuesday's loss, but head coach Adam Oates did say it wasn't a concussion. Ovechkin, who is second in the NHL with 10 goals this season, suffered the injury in the first period, but returned to the contest and was on the ice as time expired in the third.
Ovechkin has missed only 21 games during his standout NHL career and just 12 of those absences have been due to injuries. Since Ovechkin entered the league in 2005-06, Washington is 11-8-2 when playing without No. 8.
The Flyers won't miss Ovechkin, who has torched Philadelphia for 24 goals and 39 points over 29 games. Philadelphia is aiming for a bounce-back performance on Friday after blowing a 2-0 lead in Tuesday's 3-2 setback against the visiting Anaheim Ducks.
Matt Read and Vincent Lecavalier hit the back of the net in the first period for the Flyers, but Andrew Cogliano scored for the Ducks in the middle stanza and Kyle Palmieri tallied the tying and winning goals in the third period for Anaheim.
Wayne Simmonds recorded assists on both goals, but Steve Mason fell to 3-6-0 despite making 34 saves.
"You always want to come away with the two points, but there are things out of your control that happen during the game that affect the outcome," said Mason. "Tonight we blew another lead, and we keep digging ourselves a hole that we can't get out of."
The Flyers had won two straight for the first time this season prior to Tuesday's loss and the home setback against the Ducks dropped Philly's record at Wells Fargo Center to 2-5-0 this season.
Philadelphia made a trade on Thursday, swapping forwards with the Colorado Avalanche in a deal that sent Max Talbot to Denver in exchange for Steve Downie, who is now in his second stint with the Flyers. Philadelphia selected Downie with the 29th overall pick of the 2005 draft and remained in the organization until being traded to Tampa Bay on Nov. 7, 2008.
Downie, 26, totaled one goal and six assists in 11 games with the Avalanche this season. Talbot has one goal and an assist in 11 games with the Flyers.
Friday's tilt is the first of five meetings between the Flyers and Caps this season. The longtime geographical rivals are both in the Metropolitan Division this season following the onset of the NHL's realignment plan. Philadelphia had previously played in the Atlantic when Washington was in the Southeast, but the clubs used to be members of the old Patrick Division from 1979-1993.
Philadelphia has won two straight and five of the past six meetings against the Capitals and Washington has dropped three in a row in the City of Brotherly Love.
11/01 10:38:53 ET