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Capitals-Flyers Preview

By JEFF BARTL

STATS Writer

(AP) -- Alex Ovechkin's clutch performances have helped the Washington Capitals rally for a pair of victories during their recent surge.

The Philadelphia Flyers' inability to hold a lead has contributed to their slump.

Washington seeks its fifth win in six tries as it completes a home-and-home set with host Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

The Capitals (18-12-3) are 4-0-1 over their last five after beating the Flyers 5-4 in a shootout Sunday, as Ovechkin again helped lead a third-period comeback. He scored four goals and tied the game with 32.4 seconds left in a 6-5 shootout win over Tampa Bay last Tuesday, then netted the equalizer with 48 seconds left against Philadelphia.

The Flyers led 4-1 midway through the third.

"I think we had luck on our side, especially at the end of the game," Ovechkin said. "I'll take it and the team will take it."

Ovechkin leads the league with 27 goals, and he added an assist on Marcus Johansson's first-period tally Sunday.

"A guy who's a goal scorer, when you go to the right spot you're going to get them," coach Adam Oates said. "Obviously there is a unique quality about the guy. He gets that puck that far out and he finds the lane to get it through."

Linemate Nicklas Backstrom scored the shootout winner Sunday, and he has nine points over the last three games.

While Washington has shown the ability to fight back lately, the Flyers are having trouble maintaining consistency.

Philadelphia (14-15-4) has won six straight at home, but it is 1-2-2 in its last five overall despite scoring first in the first four games before being done in by an awful third period against Washington.

The Flyers have lost twice in regulation and three times in overtime or a shootout when leading after two periods.

"We need to press the issue more with the lead," coach Craig Berube said. "We have to keep attacking, getting pucks in their end, keep putting pressure on them and keep getting shots on net."

The Flyers, though, have gotten plenty of production lately from the line of captain Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and rookie Michael Raffl. Giroux had a goal and an assist, Voracek scored and Raffl had three assists Sunday, and the trio has combined for 11 points over the last two games.

"I think chemistry is good," said Giroux, who has three goals and four assists in his last four versus Washington. "I think when you start playing with new players it takes a little while for a little chemistry. I think slowly our four lines are getting built to play well together, but we've got a lot of work to do."

Steve Mason made 29 saves, but his turnover helped lead to Ovechkin's tying goal. He's 1-1-2 with a 3.37 goals-against average in four starts and one relief appearance during the Flyers' slump.

It's unclear if Mason, 0-2-2 with a 4.05 GAA in his last four starts against Washington, will be in net for this contest. He allowed three goals on 17 shots before being pulled in a 7-0 defeat to the Capitals on Nov. 1. Mason, though, has won five straight starts at home while allowing eight goals for Philadelphia, which hasn't won seven consecutive home games since Oct. 23-Nov. 15, 2010.

Philipp Grubauer stopped 24 shots for Washington on Sunday, but Braden Holtby could get the nod Tuesday. Holtby made 30 saves in the first meeting with the Flyers and is 3-1-2 with a 2.46 GAA in six career starts against them.

Updated December 16, 2013

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