PHILADELPHIA – Mike Richards and the Philadelphia Flyers’ top line had a lot of fun at the Buffalo Sabres’ expense.
Richards had two goals and three assists for a career-high five points, and Mike Knuble broke a third-period tie to help the Flyers win their third straight game, 6-3 over Buffalo on Thursday night.
Knuble poked the puck past goalie Ryan Miller on a power play with 6:09 after taking a pass from behind the net from Simon Gagne, who contributed two assists.
“It’s always nice to have that chemistry,” Richards said about his line that contributed eight points for the night. “I pretty much know where Gagne is going to be, and I think everyone in the building knows where Knuble is going to be.”
Richards added an empty-net goal with 42 second left, and Darroll Powe scored another empty-netter with 10 seconds left.
Glen Metropolit and Braydon Coburn also scored.
“He’s our puck thrower and distributor of the puck,” Knuble explained about Richards. “We want to make sure the puck is in his hands as much as we can.
“He has great vision all over the ice. He is so responsible defensively and, at the same time, so good offensively.”
Richards also picked up his NHL-leading sixth short-handed goal and second in two games.
His score on a 5-on-3 disadvantage against the New York Rangers on Sunday was his third such career goal, making the Philadelphia captain the only player in NHL history to accomplish this feat.
“He is an unbelievable player,” said Coburn, who benefited from one of Richards’ assists. “He is a heart and soul kind of guy, to score the kind of goals he scores. He’s definitely our leader.”
Jaroslav Spacek had two goals, and Derek Roy added a goal and assist for the Sabres, who had won two of their previous three games. Drew Stafford had two assists.
“We probably didn’t put enough pucks on the net, but just tried to get a couple of chances” Spacek said. “You try to be cute and make the extra pass.”
Philadelphia’s Martin Biron made 39 saves. Miller stopped 31 shots.
Metropolit put Philadelphia ahead at 12:42 of the first period, redirecting Arron Ashman’s shot from the point while standing to the side of the net.
Spacek pulled the Sabres even with his first goal at 3:16 of the second period with a wrist shot that bounced off Biron’s glove.
After Coburn regained the lead for the Flyers with a one-timer at 8:57 – his first goal in 14 games – Spacek tied it at 2 with a long slap shot on a power play at 12:11.
Richards scored the Flyers’ NHL-leading 15th short-handed goal of the season at 14:03 when his shot from in close hit the post and bounced off Miller’s leg into the net.
Kimmo Timonen set the play up after Roy turned the puck over deep in the Flyers’ zone, skating in and hitting Richards with a pass.
Roy pulled the Sabres even again at 3-3 with 31 seconds left in the period, hammering in a rebound during a scramble in front of the net on a power play.
“Mentally we weren’t ready for the penalty kill,” said Roy about Knuble’s game-winner in the third period.
Notes: Buffalo C Paul Gaustad returned after missing six games with an upper-body injury. … Philadelphia G Antero Niittymaki was back after being sidelined for two games because of the flu.