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Flyers shoot for strong start against Caps
(Sports Network) - The slow-starting Philadelphia Flyers will try to rebound from their second loss in three games when they host the Washington Capitals in Wednesday's tilt at Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers have allowed the first goal in each of their last four games. Over that stretch, Philadelphia has yielded a total of nine goals before getting one of their own.
Philadelphia overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, but the Flyers couldn't make it two straight comeback wins in Monday's test against Toronto. The Maple Leafs led 2-0 at one point and wound up winning the contest by a 4-2 score, sending Philly to its fourth setback in seven trips to the ice.
Mikhail Grabovski scored the eventual deciding goal in the third period as Toronto held off the Flyers.
Philadelphia's Jakub Voracek continued his recent hot streak by recording a goal and an assist in the loss. Voracek, the NHL's reigning First Star of the Week, has amassed five goals and 14 points over his last six games.
Scott Hartnell netted his first marker of the season in the loss and Claude Giroux assisted on both Flyers' scores. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 18-of-21 shots and fell to 9-9-1 on the season.
"We need to learn to play 60 minutes a game, and that hurt us again tonight," said Giroux. "It's the same story. We need to play as a team and get four lines rolling and play a good 60 [minutes]."
The Flyers hope a familiar face can help get them on track, as the team acquired winger Simon Gagne from Los Angeles for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2013 NHL draft. Gagne is back with the Flyers, who selected him in the first round of the 1998 draft, after spending the last two years with the Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning.
"Simon is an experienced veteran who will help us in a lot of areas," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. "We are glad to have him back."
Gagne had 259 goals in 664 games (0.39 goals per game) with the Flyers, but he's had only 24 in 108 games (0.22 GPG) since leaving the organization. He had no goals and five assists in 11 tilts with L.A. this season.
Gagne, who will turn 33 years old on Friday, is expected to be in the lineup on Wednesday.
Washington, meanwhile, is coming off its second straight win, a 3-0 decision Tuesday night at Carolina. Braden Holtby stopped all 33 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season, as the Capitals followed up Saturday's 5-1 rout against New Jersey with their fifth victory in seven games.
The 23-year-old Holtby, who earlier this week agreed to a two-year contract extension, is 6-6-0 this season after winning five of his last seven starts.
"He's playing very well. [Carolina] had a few extra shots, but chances wise they didn't have a lot. A lot of those shots he sees from a long way out. I think he's feeling really good," said Capitals head coach Adam Oates of Holtby. "He's on a little roll, so we're riding him."
Holtby is 2-0-1 with a 1.62 goals against average in three career games against Philadelphia.
Nicklas Backstrom, John Erskine and John Carlson lit the lamp once each for the Capitals on Tuesday.
Washington recorded a 3-2 win over a visiting Flyers' team on Feb. 1, ending a three-game losing streak in this series. The Caps have three wins in their last five trips to the City of Brotherly Love.
The Capitals are just 2-5-1 as the visiting team this season,
02/27 11:05:52 ET