(New York, NY) – Mike Richards scored at 2:16 of overtime to give the Philadelphia Flyers a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night. Danny Briere tallied his 30th goal of the season in the win, while Martin Biron made 31 saves.
On the winning goal, Jason Smith found Richards with a perfect pass from the Flyers’ defensive zone after a brutal turnover from Sean Avery. Richards raced in on net with New York defenseman Marek Malik draped on his back, but managed to lift a backhand past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist for this 27th goal of the season.
"I was going to go forehand and try to go upstairs, but he was right there," said Richards. "The puck kind of hopped up on me and just trickled over his pads. We got a little bit lucky."
“We hung tough,” said John Stevens, whose team won its fourth straight game. “The Rangers are a very good defensive team and don’t give [up] much, and I thought our guys showed that patience and discipline necessary to hang in there and find a way to win.”
While every victory in the close Eastern Conference playoff race is big, this one was particularly so as the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins also secured two points on Tuesday night. The Flyers remain in seventh place in the standings with 88 points, one behind the sixth place Rangers and two ahead of eighth place Boston.
“We dropped a couple like that lately the same way, so it’s nice to get one back, especially at this time of the year where it’s so critical,” said Briere.
The eight-game season series between the Atlantic Division rivals ended with the Flyers going 3-3-2 against the Rangers. Five of the eight games went to either overtime or a shootout.
The Flyers were unable to generate many scoring chances throughout the first two periods and into the third, but tied the game on a pretty passing play between Briere and Vaclav Prospal.
Briere skated the puck towards the net and centered to Prospal, who quickly tapped it back to Briere for a goal at 7:32.
The pair has combined for 13 points in the last four games.
“Danny has been probably our best player lately, and it’s only fitting that he and Vinny got us back in the game there,” said Stevens.
“When you’re in a situation like we were tonight, down 1-0 and the game is right there to for us to have it, desperation sets in,” said Biron.
Jaromir Jagr scored the only goal through 47 minutes at 1:41 of the first period. His turn-around shot beat Biron for his 20th goal of the season to give New York the early lead which lasted for most of the game.
Philadelphia registered just six shots on goal in each of the first two periods.
Lundqvist was forced to make a couple key saves in the second period, stopping a deflection attempt by Scott Hartnell midway through and then smothering a one-timer from the circle by Braydon Coburn with 2:37 left.
The goaltender finished with 23 saves on the night in a losing effort.
The Flyers have three games remaining on their final road trip of the season. They are in New Jersey on Friday night (7:00 p.m., CW-57) and on Long Island on Saturday night (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet).
Defenseman Randy Jones remained out with a hip flexor. He has missed the last six games. … The Rangers were without leading scorer Scott Gomez, who suffered a rib injury during the team’s last game in Philadelphia on Friday. … Briere reached the 30-goal plateau for the third time. His career high is 32 set in 2000-01 and 2006-07. … The Flyers improved to 20-14-4 on the road. … Philadelphia is 9-4-5 in its last 18 games. … The Flyers snapped a four-game road winless streak. … The Flyers improved to 21-19-7 when getting outshot. … Philadelphia is 14-11-2 against the Atlantic Division.