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Capitals score 2 goals in 3rd, top Flyers 3-2

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Capitals score 2 goals in 3rd, top Flyers 3-2

WASHINGTON (AP) Troy Brouwer and Wojtek Wolksi scored third-period goals, and Braden Holtby made 29 saves in the Washington Capitals' 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night.

Niklas Backstrom had a goal and an assist for Washington (2-5-1), which had lost two straight.

Defenseman Bruno Gervais, and Brayden Schenn scored for the Flyers (2-6), who have lost three in a row.

Brouwer's third goal of the season at 3:57 of the third snapped a tie and put the Capitals ahead for good. He took a pass in the left circle from Mike Green and wristed a shot over goalie Ilya Bryzgalov's shoulder.

Less than three minutes later, Wolksi poked the puck away from defenseman Luke Schenn at the blue line, skated in alone, and beat Bryzgalov to make it 3-1.

The Flyers got back within a goal with 9:30 remaining when Brayden Schenn beat Holtby with a shot from the left circle.

The Capitals held on behind Holtby, who made his first start since Jan. 22. Bryzgalov finished with 23 saves.

The Flyers took a 1-0 lead when Gervais knocked a loose puck past Holtby at 11:43 of the second period for his first goal with the Flyers.

Washington tied it six minutes later. John Carlson poked the puck from Sean Couturier right to Backstrom, who was trailing the play. Backstrom broke in alone and lifted a backhanded shot over Bryzgalov's glove with 2:18 remaining in the second.

The Capitals, who came in off a 3-2 loss on Thursday at Toronto, dominated early against Philadelphia - which hadn't played since losing at the New York Rangers on Tuesday.

Midway through the first period, the Capitals held a 10-2 edge in shots, but Bryzgalov kept the game scoreless.

He made several tough saves, his best on a backhand attempt off the stick of Alex Ovechkin, who was alone in front after a feed from Wolski.

Late in the first period, Washington's John Erskine caught Wayne Simmonds in the face with an elbow that sent Simmonds to the ice with a bloody nose. No penalty was called, but Simmonds didn't return to the game.

Before the ensuing faceoff, Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo fought Matt Hendricks. Both players were ejected from the game.

NOTES: The Capitals were 0 for 5 on the power play. The Flyers were 0 for 3. . Former Capitals forward Mike Knuble made his return to Washington. The 40-year-old Knuble, who spent the previous three seasons with Washington, and signed with Philadelphia on Jan. 25.

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3 bold predictions: Message received? Capitals take on Sabres

3 bold predictions: Message received? Capitals take on Sabres

The Capitals have won two-straight, but they’re not happy with the way they’ve played. The team had a player’s only meeting after Wednesday’s game to address their issues. Will they take the message to heart or will we see the same sort of play Friday against the Buffalo Sabres?

Here are three bold predictions for Friday’s game (CSN, 7 p.m.):

1. Washington will have at least 15 shots in the first period

If this team is ready to put their recent struggles behind them, it needs to start with getting shots on goal. After taking a 3-0 lead against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, the Caps went through a stretch of 26:27 without a shot on goal and managed only seven total in the last two periods and overtime. How this team looks in the first period will be a major indication of whether they got the message from Wednesday’s meeting.

2. The Caps will score a power play goal

Buffalo’s 29th ranked penalty kill has been getting torched lately killing only 11 of the last 19 power plays they've faced. That's a rate an abysmal rate of 57.9 percent.

3. T.J. Oshie will register a point

Oshie made his return from an upper-body injury on Wednesday and registered 15:11 of ice time. He was the team MVP before suffering the injury and will begin returning to that form on Friday in Buffalo.

RELATED: CAPITALS CALL UP AARON NESS

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Capitals call up Aaron Ness from Hershey

Capitals call up Aaron Ness from Hershey

The Washington Capitals have recalled defenseman Aaron Ness prior to the team's trip to Buffalo.

Ness, who has been played 17 games with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League this season, has scored the most goals among defensemen on the team (3) and is third in points (9).

The 2008 NHL second round draft pick, has played in 37 NHL games with both the New York Islanders and the Capitals. Last season, the 26-year old played in eight games for Washington and recorded two assists. 

Ness joins the team after Matt Niskanen's upper body injury, which has him missing the team's Sabres matchup on Friday.

MORE CAPS: Caps not pleased after overtime win vs. Boston