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Flyers-Caps to renew Metro rivalry

PHILADELPHIA -- On Wednesday night in South Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Flyers (19-11-4) and Washington Capitals (19-8-3) will renew what has become a pretty intense Metropolitan Division rivalry.

"They are a good team and we know what they are about," Flyers center Brayden Schenn said. "Obviously, there's a little rivalry there and the teams don't really like one another. But that will get the guys going and hopefully it will be a bounce back game for us."

After a season-high 10-game win streak, the Flyers lost back-to-back games to the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators. The Capitals had their own six-game win streak snapped on Saturday with a 2-1 home loss to the Montreal Canadiens and have four games in hand on the Flyers.

The Capitals' power play, led by reigning Rocket Richard Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin, has heated up lately with at least one goal in 11 of the last 15 games, going 14-for-55 (25.4 percent). Nine different players have scored power-play goals in that span and six of Ovechkin's team-high 14 goals have come on the man-advantage.

"On the power play, we just weren't bearing down as much," right wing T.J. Oshie told CSNMidAtlantic.com. "We weren't hitting the net enough. And now we're working together, we're winning puck battles, we're getting goals from both units. It's trending up, but with how good this power play has been in the past, it was only a matter of time until we got that hard mentality, that work ethic back to win puck battles and get second chances and third chances."

The Flyers' power play, on the other hand, has run dry, going 0-for-11 the past four games after leading the NHL to start the season.

Flyers right winger Wayne Simmonds, who leads the team in goals (16) and power-play goals (8) said he's more interested in taking two points away from the Capitals.

"Every time we play a divisional opponent, they probably have a couple games in hand on us and our division is pretty strong this year," Simmonds told the South Jersey Courier-Post. "We want to be able to get every point, especially against our division."

Wednesday night could mark the return of Capitals left winger Andre Burakovsky, who has been scratched the past three games after managing just two goals and eight assists in in his first 27 games. Burakovsky practiced on a third line with center Lars Eller and rookie Jakub Vrana.

"If he gets in the lineup, hopefully he'll come in and be reset and go from there," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said.

Washington defenseman John Carlson skipped Tuesday's practice because he was under the weather but is expected to play against the Flyers, who were eliminated by the Capitals in six games in the first round of last year's playoffs. Carlson leads the Caps in ice time and is tied with Matt Niskanen for most points among defensemen (14).

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