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Grueling OT Win Satisfying for Richards, Flyers

Monday, 04.19.2010 / 9:03 AM / News
By Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com
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Grueling OT Win Satisfying for Richards, Flyers
Mike Richards was physically and emotionally spent following Game 3, the result of willing the Flyers to a 3-2 win over the Devils with his goal-scoring and overall play on the ice.
(Philadelphia, PA) - Philadelphia Flyers center Mike Richards was emotionally and visibly spent as he stood at his locker and answered questions from reporters following his team's dramatic overtime victory over the New Jersey Devils in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal on Sunday.

And really, who could blame him?
Mike Richards battles New Jersey's Mike Mottau during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on April 18, 2010 at the Wachovia Center. The Flyers won in overtime, 3-2. (Getty Images)

The Flyers captain topped all forwards on his team in ice time (21:49) and notched a goal and an assist with a plus-2 rating in his biggest game to date -- a 3-2 triumph that gave the underdog and seventh-seeded Flyers a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series against the second-seeded and Atlantic Division champion Devils.

"I'm pretty exhausted right now," Richards said. "I think emotionally, it's draining, but it's nice to get the win. We would have been that much more tired if we got the loss, so you try to leave it all out there every night. You don't want to save anything for the next day, so you try your best on game day."

Richards did that and his teammates just followed along.

"He's our leader," Flyers forward Ian Laperriere said. "We're going to go as far as Richie is going to take us. It doesn't matter if it's a goal, an assist or a big hit. It's great to be on the same team as a player like that -- it's contagious. To see your young captain do stuff like that brings you a reality check that you should do the same if your captain, who's an All-Star, is doing it."

Richards gave the Flyers their first lead of the game at 1:15 of the second when he took a feed from Daniel Carcillo and fought off a check in the slot before roofing his second goal of the series over the blocker of Devils goalie Martin Brodeur.

He'd play a big role on the game-winning goal 3:35 into overtime, too, when he somehow controlled a feed from Simon Gagne at the right post and took a jab at the puck before sending a perfect feed to Carcillo in the left circle for the clincher.

"I thought everyone played hard," Richards said. "If you go in the change room, you'll probably see a dozen guys sitting on the couch sprawled out, so it's nice to see how hard everybody is working and finishing hits. I'm sure people have ice bags. This is the best time of the year to play hockey."

Richards felt his team played well enough to win, outshooting (34-19) and outhitting (40-36) New Jersey and generating more turnovers (11-8) over the course of the 63-minute, 35-second contest.

"We played well in the third period, stayed out of the box and played extremely well 5-on-5; we just wanted to get pucks to the net," Richards said. "There wasn't a whole lot of that needed to be said (during the third intermission)."

So would it have been a disappointment if they didn't come out on top?

"Yeah," he said. "We played well and executed our game plan, with the exception of taking penalties at bad times. We played with energy and emotion and fed off the energy provided by the crowd."

Despite the great team effort and win, Richards knows the Flyers can ill afford to continue to give the Devils opportunities on the power play. New Jersey finished 2-for-8 with the man advantage and is now 3-for-16 for the series.
"It's nice to see how hard everybody is working and finishing hits. I'm sure people have ice bags. This is the best time of the year to play hockey." - Mike Richards

The reason is elementary: More time in the box translates into many more tired bodies on the bench.

"Lappy (Laperriere) and (Blair) Betts get hit with a lot more pucks so they're probably feeling it even more, but it is draining throughout the game when you're on the penalty-kill," Richards said. "It's a lot easier and a lot more fun to play offense than it is defending, so it's something we have to address and something we have to be aware of. But I did like our enthusiasm and energy. But there's a line we have to draw."

Richards, who also chipped in with three hits and won 53 percent of his faceoffs, leads the Flyers with 6 points in three playoff games against the Devils. His career best in the postseason was in 2008, when he had 7 goals and 14 points in 17 games.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 PIT 32 22 6 4 102 72 48
2 NYI 33 23 10 0 104 91 46
3 MTL 34 21 11 2 92 83 44
4 TBL 35 20 11 4 113 93 44
5 DET 34 17 8 9 94 84 43
6 TOR 34 19 12 3 114 102 41
7 NYR 31 17 10 4 93 81 38
8 WSH 32 16 10 6 95 85 38
9 BOS 34 17 14 3 86 88 37
10 FLA 31 14 9 8 69 79 36
11 OTT 33 14 13 6 89 92 34
12 PHI 33 13 14 6 92 99 32
13 CBJ 32 14 15 3 79 102 31
14 NJD 35 12 17 6 77 102 30
15 BUF 34 13 18 3 66 109 29
16 CAR 33 9 20 4 68 92 22

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 33 14 30 15 44
C. Giroux 33 10 30 11 40
W. Simmonds 33 14 9 1 23
B. Schenn 33 9 13 4 22
M. Streit 33 4 17 8 21
S. Couturier 33 8 9 -1 17
M. Read 33 3 10 -6 13
M. Raffl 25 9 3 4 12
V. Lecavalier 19 4 4 -4 8
N. Grossmann 33 3 5 9 8
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 6 10 5 .921 2.49
R. Emery 6 4 1 .894 3.13
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