(Philadelphia, PA) – Mike Richards and Jeff Carter scored shootout goals while Martin Biron shut the door on the Rangers’ two attempts in a 4-3 Philadelphia victory at the Wachovia Center on Friday night.
Richards also had one in regulation, while Danny Briere scored twice in the third period.
The Rangers erased a pair of Flyers leads in the third period and tied the game with 1:51 left in regulation, but Philadelphia came through in the shootout for just the second time in seven tries this season.
With the win, Philadelphia moved past the idle Boston Bruins for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers have seven games remaining; one fewer than Boston which plays in Montreal on Saturday.
The Flyers took a 2-0 lead in the third period on Briere’s goal midway through, but New York battled back to knot the score. Marek Malik’s wrist shot found its way past Biron through traffic at 12:01, while Nigel Dawes’ blast bounced in off of Patrick Thoresen less than two minutes later.
Briere’s second goal of the night gave the Flyers back the lead at 16:23 when he converted a pass from Scott Hartnell while diving headfirst into the net, but Jaromir Jagr beat a diving Biron from a near impossible angle to force overtime. Each team had a power play in the overtime, the Flyers for two minutes and the Rangers for the final 36 seconds, but neither team could score.
Richards snuck the puck through Steve Valiquette’s legs to start the shootout, while Carter went to the backhand before lifting in his attempt.
Biron stopped Brendan Shanahan and Dawes to secure the crucial two points in the standings for the Flyers. The victory snapped a seven-game winless streak at home against New York.
Richards, who netted his 26th goal of the season, said the Flyers remained calm even after losing two separate leads.
“I felt we controlled most of the game and we played well,” he said. “The opportunities they had were ones that we gave to them, so we were still confident.”
“I could not [be] happier with just the resilience this group showed,” said head coach John Stevens. “I know it’s not the way we want to finish a hockey game, we want to keep the lead, but to me it really could be a turning point for this group that they just would not go away.”
Briere, in one of his best games as a Flyer, recorded his third multiple-goal game of the season. His linemate, Vaclav Prospal, assisted on both goals.
“There were a couple of goals there in the third period that our line needed, and that’s what we’re here for,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for a while for a game like that to happen. I’m hoping it’s just the beginning of it.”
Valiquette entered the game with consecutive shutouts on the Wachovia Center ice, but it didn’t take long for the Flyers to solve him. Richards blocked a Malik shot at his own blue line and raced in for a breakaway goal at 4:37 of the first period.
That would be all the scoring through two periods, despite some prime scoring chances throughout the 40 minutes. The Flyers had the better of the chances, but Valiquette stopped Mike Knuble on two-on-one rush, and Thoresen couldn’t quite find the handle on a pass from Richards on another rush in the first period.
Philadelphia had a two-man advantage in the second period for 33 seconds, but could not increase its lead. Briere had the best chance, but his slam dunk try on a pass from Prospal jumped over the blade of his stick to the corner of the ice surface.
The Flyers won for the second time in seven games against the Rangers this season (2-3-2). The eighth and final game is on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m., Versus).
Philadelphia hosts the New York Islanders on Sunday (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet).
Both teams suffered injuries to key players during the game. Kimmo Timonen left with a lower body injury, but Stevens called him a “likely player” for Sunday. New York’s Scott Gomez left early after falling into the boards with an apparent shoulder injury and did not return.
The Flyers are 15-2-2 when leading after the first period, and 27-1-3 when leading after two. … Philadelphia is 16-8-3 when outshooting its opponent. The Flyers had 30 shots to the Rangers’ 26. … Philadelphia has secured a point in the standings in 12 of the last 16 games (7-4-5). … The Flyers are 32-23-10 against the Eastern Conference, and 12-11-2 vs. the Atlantic Division.
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