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Richards' Inspiration Continues to be Felt by Flyers

Thursday, 05.13.2010 / 1:22 AM ET / News
By Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com
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Richards\' Inspiration Continues to be Felt by Flyers
(Philadelphia, PA) - Maybe Ian Laperriere was right. Maybe watching Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards go to work really is motivation enough to put it all on the line each and every shift.

Laperriere, of course, has been sidelined with a brain contusion he suffered while blocking a shot in Game 5 against the New Jersey Devils in the opening round of the playoffs. But when he was in action, he constantly credited Richards and his insatiable appetite to succeed as a stimulus each and every shift.
Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards, left and goalie Michael Leighton, right celebrate at the end of Game 6 of a second-round NHL playoff hockey series with the Boston Bruins, Wednesday, May 12, 2010, in Philadelphia. The Flyers won 2-1. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

Laperriere wasn't kidding, either. Sure, Richards is leading the team in scoring and has logged the most minutes and shifts of any forward on the team, but it's the things that don't show up on the scoresheet that have made a profound impact.

He's made life miserable for Boston's Marc Savard. He took out a top-three center in David Krejci with a thunderous body check in Game 3 and has made it a point to target Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara at every opportunity despite the 10-inch height disparity.

"He plays with an edge," Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said. "He plays hard. He's a pain in the ass to play against."

Richards was at it again on Wednesday, with his team facing elimination for the third straight game. His goal 6:58 into the first opened the scoring, and not only ignited the bench but the 19,929 in attendance on the way to a 2-1 triumph that sets the stage for a dramatic Game 7 at TD Garden on Friday.

"For us, it was all about the start and we wanted to initiate and not sit back and see what they were going to do," Richards said. "We were ready for this game. We had a sense of calmness, but I think we were a little bit nervous and prepared."

He'd log 20:52 of ice time on 27 shifts, block three shots and notch four shots on Boston goalie Tuukka Rask.

"It's been a tough battle," he said. "Chara is a big man and he plays the game hard. I think for everybody it's been a tough series -- it's been physical. It's great hockey out there. It's fast and it's the type of hockey you like playing."

As he did for Team Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Richards is the obvious thorn in the opponent's side. Whether working the point on the power play, killing penalties or preparing to throw a big body check while five-on-five, Richards has firmly established himself as a player to be reckoned with this postseason.

If the Flyers are victorious in Friday's series finale in Beantown, the club will become only the third in League history to rally from a 3-0 deficit to win a Stanley Cup Playoff series. Despite being on the verge of that remarkable feat, the Flyers captain would prefer to go back to the drawing board.

"It's nice, but we haven't done anything yet," he said. "We've fought all the way back to tie it, but we still need one more win. Obviously, it's a Game 7 and it's going to be tough. We have to be prepared for it."

Richards has liked what he's seen in his team -- the fight, the passion and the determination when the odds were against them.

"We're doing everything for each other," he admitted. "We're helping each other out, talking, and even when they had a lot of chances at our net, I thought we were defending well. When we needed the saves, (Michael) Leighton was there as well.

"Our confidence has been growing and we've built momentum. It's not an easy task and to battle back this far … we have to be prepared Friday because that's going to be the toughest."

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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
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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

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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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