Flyers get another shot at Capitals after 'wake-up call' loss

Posted: December 16, 2013

Six weeks ago, the Flyers took a 7-0 beating from the Washington Capitals.

Thank you very much, said the players on the team that was embarrassed.

"That was a big wake-up call for us when it happened," winger Scott Hartnell said after Saturday's practice in Voorhees, "and we went on a little bit of a run afterward."

After that game, which Washington won despite not having injured superstar Alex Ovechkin in the lineup, the Flyers went on a 7-1-2 spurt, and they have gone 11-6-3 since that Nov. 1 mismatch.

Most of those wins, however, have been against lower-level teams.

On Sunday at 3 p.m., the Flyers (14-15-3) get a chance at redemption, facing the Capitals (17-12-3) at the Verizon Center. The teams will also meet Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center.

"I like it; it's a little bit like the playoffs," captain Claude Giroux said. "When you play a team more than once in a row, you kind of get a little rivalry and kind of have matchups. It's good for us and good for the fans, too."

The last time the teams met, they combined for 31 penalties and 164 penalty minutes. In the third period, there were four almost-simultaneous fights, including one in which Flyers goalie Ray Emery dashed down the ice and went after his counterpart, Braden Holtby, who wanted no part of the confrontation.

"It was a frustrating game. It was an embarrassing game," Emery said. "And we have a good team, so we weren't happy with the way we were playing. And I think it was inevitable that we turned it around."

Steve Mason, not Emery, is expected to get Sunday's start.

Wayne Simmonds said he didn't know what type of game to expect.

"I don't know if we're going to attack this, or if they pursue us, or how it will work," the 25-year-old winger said. "But we play for one another in this dressing room. That will never change."

The blowout loss to the Caps "might be in the back of the head, but at the same time you have to forget about something like that," winger Steve Downie said. "You can use it for a little bit of extra motivation, but we shouldn't need that extra motivation."

Downie suffered a concussion in a fight against Washington's Aaron Volpatti in that loss and missed the next four games. He is now part of a productive third line, with Sean Couturier and Matt Read.

Couturier missed practice Saturday to attend his grandmother's funeral, but he will play Sunday, coach Craig Berube said.

Breakaways. Thirteen of the Flyers' fathers are making the trip to Washington. . . . Ovechkin leads the NHL with 26 goals but is minus-11.


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