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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."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
S. Gostisbehere 6 1 1 0 2
B. Schenn 6 0 2 2 2
W. Simmonds 6 0 2 -1 2
S. Gagner 6 0 2 1 2
J. Voracek 6 1 0 -1 1
M. Raffl 6 1 0 0 1
R. White 6 1 0 0 1
C. VandeVelde 6 1 0 -1 1
A. MacDonald 6 1 0 0 1
B. Manning 6 0 1 -2 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 2 1 0 .981 0.67
S. Mason 0 3 0 .852 4.09
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