Surging Philadelphia looks to increase its conference lead Tuesday night when it hosts the Capitals, losers of four of six.
The Flyers (29-11-5) are three points ahead of Atlantic Division rival Pittsburgh after a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Sunday, as they survived a late charge to win. Mike Richards scored his 15th goal for the Flyers, who jumped ahead 3-0 but allowed two third-period goals.
"We made it interesting, but we got the win," Richards said. "We've done a good job all year closing hockey games off. (Sunday) was no different."
Philadelphia has won two in a row and six of seven, pulling it within a point of Vancouver for the best record in the NHL. The Flyers are opening a three-game homestand after going 7-3-0 during a stretch in which they played nine times on the road.
"Things are so tight, things can change in 3-4 games," goaltender Brian Boucher told the NHL's official website. "We're happy with where we're at, but we know there's still a lot of work to be done. We can't sit back. We need to keep pressing, keep going and finish strong here before the All-Star break."
The Flyers dropped the first meeting of the season with Washington 3-2 in overtime Nov. 7 but won 5-4 in a shootout Nov. 20. Both matchups were at the Verizon Center.
Washington (25-14-7) is tied atop the Southeast Division despite struggling over the past two weeks.
The Capitals ended a three-game losing streak with a 3-1 win over Ottawa on Sunday. Washington, which came in 1-2-2 in its last five, recorded three goals in the third period as John Carlson and Brooks Laich scored 45 seconds apart to start a rally.
"This year, it seems like we are going to the 30-40 minute mark before we score," Laich said. "(Sunday) it's even further, but once we got one, the crowd gets into it, and the guys start rolling."
One Capitals player who surprisingly isn't rolling is Alex Ovechkin, who was held without a point for the third straight game and has one goal in his last seven. History suggests he has a good chance to break out of those slumps Tuesday.
Ovechkin has recorded seven goals and six assists during a seven-game point streak versus the Flyers and has 19 goals and 15 assists in 21 career meetings with them. The forward has totaled three goals and two assists in his last two games in Philadelphia.
"They're a complete team and we'll have to be at our absolute best," coach Bruce Boudreau said of the Flyers. "This isn't the Caps of last year where we want to get in a run-and-gun with anybody right now."
Washington will be without winger Eric Fehr, who will be out three to four weeks with an upper-body injury suffered Friday.
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