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Grueling OT Win Satisfying for Richards, Flyers

Monday, 04.19.2010 / 9:03 AM ET / News
By Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com
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Grueling OT Win Satisfying for Richards, Flyers
(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
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
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