Trio scores twice each as Flyers rout Islanders 6-2
Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 1:44 AMPHILADELPHIA --
Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren last week called Mike Richards
and Jeff Carter
, "the faces of our franchise." On Tuesday night, those faces were wearing bright smiles.
The Flyers' cornerstone centers each scored a pair of goals as the Flyers snapped a five-game losing streak with a 6-2 victory against the visiting New York Islanders.
"When your best players are your best players it usually means good things for you," goaltender Brian Boucher
said after stopping 22 shots.
also scored twice, and Kimmo Timonen
, Danny Briere
and Scott Hartnell
each had a pair of assists as the Flyers won for just the second time in their last 10 games -- and for the first time since the last time they beat the Isles 2-1 on Nov. 25.
Boucher, who inherits the starting role due to the injury to Ray Emery, made 21 saves. Emery will miss the next six weeks with a torn abdominal muscle. He'll have surgery Wednesday to repair the injury.
John Tavares scored a pair of power-play goals for the Islanders. It was the rookie's second two-goal game of the season. Kyle Okposo drew secondary assists on both goals.
The leadership abilities of Richards, the Flyers' 24-year-old captain, had been called into question during the Flyers' tailspin. No player was closer to former coach John Stevens than Richards, and he admitted to taking his dismissal last Friday extremely hard.
But Richards seems to have been able to channel that energy in a positive direction.
He started the Flyers' scoring binge with a power-play at 9:47 of the first period. Hartnell won a puck battle with the Islanders' Freddy Meyer and threw the puck to Timonen at the right point. Richards, cutting to the right post, tipped Timonen's wrist shot over goalie Martin Biron's right pad for his 12th of the season.
He made it 2-0 later in the period when he scored his first shorthanded goal of the season. Richards tipped a pass past Isles defenseman Mark Streit and steamed down the right side. He dragged the puck across the slot and lifted a shot over Biron's right pad at 15:14.
"I saw a guy take charge of a game tonight," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said after his first win with his new team. "On the ice he was pretty good -- on the penalty kill, five-on-five, on the power play. He played a pretty solid game. When you get into these situations where you haven't been having success you usually look to your leaders to get you out of it."
"It's obviously a huge effort," added defenseman Chris Pronger
. "He's a leader and he played like it. He got us off to a great start and continued to play both ends of the ice very hard. … I know over the last four years he's been highly regarded for his passion for the game and how he's played. Tonight is something to build on for him."
Richards said he hasn't felt any extra pressure to do more, but said his goal as a team leader is making sure there only are good feelings in the locker room.
"As an offensive player, I think we had to do more," he said. "Whenever you're an offensive player and you get held off the scoresheet for a while it gets frustrating. Leadership-wise, collectively we're doing a good job, Prongs and Kimmo (Timonen) and Danny (Briere) and Cartsy (Carter), too, are all chipping in and keeping things positive and making sure people weren't getting frustrated and squeezing the stick."
Carter scored the game's next two goals, getting to the net to score 2:43 apart in the second period.
Those goals were examples of how Laviolette wants the Flyers to play -- up-tempo, attacking and lots of traffic in front of the net. It was something they did a bit of Monday in Montreal, but got away from as the game wore on.
"I thought a lot of our game had a lot of that in it (Monday) night," Laviolette said, "we just didn't bring the rubber to the net. Tonight we did a much better job of that. Our (defense) was trying to get it there, our forwards did a great job. I thought our key players were pretty sharp tonight."
The players were unanimous in their feeling that this effort is one they can build on to reverse a slide that saw them fall to 13th in the Eastern Conference heading into the game.
"It's not something that you can say we won a game and put it behind us," Richards said. "We want to build on it and move on and focus for Thursday night (against Ottawa)."
After Carter put the Flyers ahead, 4-0, Tavares stationed himself on the right post and banged in a pair of power-play goals. On the first he got a fortuitous bounce on a two-man advantage when a blocked shot hopped over Timonen's stick and dribbled to him at 10:52. Just over four minutes later, he pounced on the rebound of Matt Moulson's redirection when Boucher left a juicy rebound in front.
The first pick of the 2009 Entry Draft now has League rookie-highs of 13 goals and 24 points. He also won 14 of 22 faceoffs.
The Flyers continued to press the attack as Giroux scored a pair of goals to put the game away. He one-timed a Richards pass past Biron at 17:29 of the second to make it 5-2, and finished a 2-on-1 with Hartnell 2:35 into the third to complete the scoring.