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Richards' Inspiration Continues to be Felt by Flyers

Thursday, 05.13.2010 / 1:22 AM / News
By Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com
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Richards\' Inspiration Continues to be Felt by Flyers
Flyers captain Mike Richards has proven during these playoffs that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, and his attitude alone has inspired his teammates in their fight back from a 3-0 series deficit against the Bruins.
(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."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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