Philadelphia at Washington

Flyers finally get over Capitals hump in 3-2 win wire reports

WASHINGTON -- The 12 stitches Mike Richards needed in and around his nose provided a bit of a lift for him and the new-look Philadelphia Flyers.

Bloodied but unbowed by a fight, Richards returned to score the tiebreaking goal Friday night, helping Philadelphia finally beat the Washington Capitals 3-2, even though Alex Ovechkin scored for the eighth consecutive game against the Flyers.

"I don't look very good right now. I'm not too attractive," Richards said after registering his eighth goal, just three shy of his career high.

Asked if his fight with Brooks Laich late in the first period inspired him, Richards replied: "Twelve stitches does, for sure. ... It just seemed to get us going."

Daniele Briere and R.J. Umberger also scored for the Flyers, while Antero Niittymaki made 24 saves in his second start of the season for Philadelphia, which had not defeated Washington since February 2006. The Capitals earned the franchise's first sweep of the Flyers by winning all four games between the teams last season.

But as Capitals coach Glen Hanlon emphasized before the game, these Atlantic Division-leading Flyers are hardly the same club that finished last in the NHL in 2006-07.

"They're definitely a different hockey team," Capitals goalie Olaf Kolzig said after facing 23 shots over the last two periods. "They just seem like they're playing with confidence. They're definitely a better hockey team, but so are we."

Perhaps, but while Philadelphia is off to an 8-4 start, Washington has lost eight of its past 10 games after opening 3-0.

"Disappointing but not discouraging," Hanlon said. "We'll fight on."

Ovechkin's goal, on a slap shot 3 seconds into a power play, cut Philadelphia's lead in half with a little more than 4 minutes left in the penalty- and fight-filled game, but Washington couldn't tie it.

His is the longest active scoring streak by any player against one team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Things didn't look good early for the Flyers. The Capitals took 14 of the game's first 17 shots, and the pressure paid off 7½ minutes in, when Tomas Fleischmann scored his second goal of the season by knocking the puck out of the air from near the right post to make it 1-0. Rookie Nicklas Backstrom earned his sixth assist.

"That kind of warmed me up a little bit," said Niittymaki, who evened his record at 1-1.

There was a total of 46 minutes in penalties and no fewer than four outright fights, plus plenty of pushing and shoving after nearly every whistle. After fighting with Washington's Brian Sutherby in the second period, Flyers enforcer Ben Eager appeared to make a throat-slashing gesture as he sat down in the penalty box.

"We play the game hard, but within the rules. Other than a couple of minor blips, we just try and outwork the teams," Richards said. "We play a hitting style, a checking style where we try to turn pucks over. I don't think it's 'Bullies."'

He left the ice with blood streaming down his after his skirmish with Laich. Less than 30 seconds later, Kolzig used his stick to take a whack at Briere's leg in front of the net, drawing a penalty.

Briere, booed every time the puck was on his stick because of his battles with Ovechkin last season, tied it at 1 about 8 minutes into the second period. Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn intercepted the puck and redirected it up to Briere to start a Flyers rush the other way. Briere passed off to his left to Umberger, then skated unimpeded between two Capitals to tap in a return pass for his fifth goal.

Philadelphia went ahead on a similar sequence. Joffrey Lupul passed to Richards, who sent the puck over Kolzig's shoulder to make it 2-1 with about 5 minutes remaining in the second period. It was Richards' third consecutive game with a goal and his eighth score overall.

Umberger added an insurance goal on a power play 1½ minutes into the third period.

"We feel like we have a really good skating team. We have size. We have speed," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "We try to push people off the puck. Our goal is to do that."


  • Flyers D Randy Jones completed his two-game suspension.
  • The Capitals again were missing three key injured players: D Tom Poti (groin) and Ws Alexander Semin (ankle) and Chris Clark (ear).
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Rory Fitzpatrick congratulates goalie Antero Niittymaki after the Flyers wrap up their victory.  (AP)
Rory Fitzpatrick congratulates goalie Antero Niittymaki after the Flyers wrap up their victory. (AP)
Philadelphia  (8-4-0) «0213
Washington (5-8-0)1012
Three Stars
M. Richards

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
R. Umberger

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
M. Nylander

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2

Related Video

Scoring Summary
07:29Tomas Fleischmann (2), Tip-In. Assist: Nicklas Backstrom, Michael Nylander
08:03Daniel Briere (5), Tip-In. Assist: R.J. Umberger, Braydon Coburn
15:52Mike Richards (8), Wrist Shot. Assist: Joffrey Lupul
01:33Power Play - R.J. Umberger (2), Slap Shot. Assist: Braydon Coburn, Jeff Carter
15:52Power Play - Alex Ovechkin (9), Slap Shot. Assist: Michael Nylander
Penalty Summary
10:51Pettinger, 2 min, Slashing
10:51Lupul, 2 min, Slashing
13:23Hartnell, 2 min, Boarding
13:23Bradley, 2 min, Roughing
17:34Laich, 5 min, Fighting
17:34Richards, 5 min, Fighting
18:02Kolzig, 2 min, Tripping
03:23Erskine, 2 min, Boarding
12:14Sutherby, 5 min, Fighting
12:14Eager, 5 min, Fighting
12:14Eager, 2 min, Elbowing
17:03Green, 2 min, Tripping
19:51Pothier, 4 min, High-Sticking
05:51Pettinger, 2 min, Slashing
08:23Erskine, 2 min, Tripping
15:49Smith, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
Shots On Goal
Antero Niittymaki59:21242
Olaf Kolzig59:01263
Game Information
Attendance - 16055
Referees - Eric Furlatt, Greg Kimmerly
Linesmen - Derek Nansen, Scott Cherrey
Other Games
Fla 4 Final
Buf 2
Pho 5 Final
Dal 0
Tor 2 Final
NJ 3
LA 5 Final
SJ 2
Nash 4 Final
Edm 1