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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Saturday, December 20th (All times eastern)

Washington Capitals (20-10-3) at Philadelphia Flyers (17-8-6), 1 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will aim for their sixth straight victory today as they make the trip up I-95 to visit the Philadelphia Flyers for a matinee at the Wachovia Center.

The Capitals have won five straight games to match their longest winning streak of the year. Washington also rattled off five victories in a row from November 6-14.

Washington has also won seven of its last eight contests and is leading the Southeast Division with 43 points.

This afternoon's matchup marks the first meeting between the Flyers and Capitals since Philly won Game 7 of last year's opening-round playoff series in overtime.

The two franchises split their four-game series last season, but Washington has won six of eight and seven of the last 11 versus the Flyers. The Capitals have also won four straight in Philadelphia since going winless in 16 games there.

The Caps earned their most-recent victory in Thursday's home tilt against St. Louis. Viktor Kozlov posted two goals and an assist, as Washington remained dominant on its home ice with the 4-2 decision over the Blues.

The Capitals improved to 13-1-1 at the Verizon Center, but will begin a brief two-game road trip tonight. Washington is just 7-9-2 as the visitor, but has won two straight and three of its last four road tests.

Tomas Fleischmann and Alexander Ovechkin also scored for the Caps. Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom come into today's test with six-game point streaks, while Alexander Semin has recorded a point in five straight outings.

Semin was injured by a cross-check on Thursday and defenseman Mike Green aggravated a shoulder injury. Neither player finished the game and are listed as day-to-day.

Rookie Simeon Varlamov stopped 29-of-31 shots for his second win of the season in as many tries. Varlamov is filling in for the injured Jose Theodore, who has been sidelined since last week with a hip flexor. Brent Johnson, who is 10-4-2 on the season, is expected to get the start for Washington this afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Flyers had a five-game winning streak halted their last time on the ice as the club was slammed by a 5-2 count Thursday in Montreal. Sergei Kostitsyn, Steve Begin and Guillaume Latendresse each posted a goal and an assist, as the Canadiens knocked off Philadelphia at the Bell Centre.

Arron Asham registered a goal and an assist for the Flyers, while Antero Niittymaki allowed five goals on 31 shots in defeat. Niittymaki was starting in place of No. 1 goaltender Marty Biron, who is battling the flu. Biron is questionable for today's contest.

Flyers captain Mike Richards was kept off the scoresheet and had his point streak snapped at eight games. Jeff Carter also had a five-game point streak halted.

Philly is 10-4-3 as the host this year and has won four straight and five of its last six tests at the Wachovia Center. The Flyers will face the Devils in New Jersey on Sunday in what will begin a stretch of seven of eight games on the road for Philadelphia.

12/20 10:24:18 ET

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