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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.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 64 41 18 5 172 142 87
2 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
3 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
11 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

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2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 64 19 46 6 65
C. Giroux 63 18 42 2 60
W. Simmonds 64 25 18 -2 43
M. Streit 64 9 32 -5 41
B. Schenn 64 12 23 -6 35
S. Couturier 64 13 16 2 29
M. Del Zotto 52 8 17 -6 25
M. Read 64 6 18 -9 24
M. Raffl 49 14 5 6 19
V. Lecavalier 46 7 10 -9 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 12 13 8 .924 2.27
R. Emery 10 10 4 .893 3.15
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