PHILADELPHIA – Captain Mike Richards and the rest of the surging Philadelphia Flyers are taking advantage of the bounces going their way.
Richards scored two goals for the second straight game, and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 28 shots to lead the Flyers to a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Monday night.
Jason Spezza scored for Ottawa.
“We’re starting to get a lot of the bounces,” Richards said. “In the beginning of the year, there was a lot of posts and pucks just seemed to be slipping off sticks. You are going to have that in a year, where you can’t seem to find a bounce, then you have stretches where pucks just end up on the sticks. That’s what happens when a team starts rolling.”
Danny Briere, Darroll Powe and Claude Giroux also scored for Philadelphia, which is 9-0-1 in its past 10 games, and hasn’t lost in regulation since losing a lacklustre 2-1 game to Columbus on Oct. 25, a defeat that stoked the ire of coach Peter Laviolette.
The game was stopped for a few moments in the first period when a young girl was struck in the head when an Ottawa pass was deflected into the stands. She received medical attention at the arena and was taken to a hospital for stitches. The team had no other information.
The Flyers have played inspired hockey since that loss to the Blue Jackets last month. They have scored 18 goals in three games, the most in a three-game span since they scored 19 from Oct. 28-Nov. 3, 2005.
Richards is the hottest Flyer at the moment. He scored five goals in his previous three games, including a two-goal game on Nov. 13 against the Florida Panthers. He had just one goal in his first 12 games.
Richards earned his 300th career point on Giroux’s goal, a power-play tally in the second period. He partially whiffed on his pass to Giroux in the slot, but the right wing gathered it and fired a shot past Brian Elliott who was screened by Ville Leino.
“I kind of muffed (the pass) and it went right on somebody’s stick,” Richards said.
Right to Giroux, who scored his team-leading 10th goal to go with 11 assists.
“I don’t think he was trying to do that, but you know, we’ll take it,” Giroux said. “It’s important to take advantage of that and enjoy it. Hopefully, we can keep going.”
Richards scored twice in a 90-second span in the third period to put the game away. He first scored at 6:13 on an unassisted short-handed goal, and kept the momentum firmly on Philadelphia’s side, beating two defenders, then faking Elliott with a backhand-to-forehand move.
“That was a big goal,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. “You’re in a game, and it’s tight (3-1 at the time). You’re thinking (that) you’re probably have to kill not only that penalty but maybe one or two more. He pulled away, and then under pressure-with somebody coming in from the backside of him, (scored). A beautiful goal.”
Ottawa came into Philadelphia on a hot streak of its own—with a 5-1-0 record in its past six games—but did little on Monday.
“We were playing from behind pretty much the whole game, so it changed the outlook,” Senators left wing Jarkko Ruutu said. “I don’t think that we were that poor. It wasn’t our best.”
Ninety seconds later, Richards took a Braydon Coburn shot off the boards and flicked it into the net at 7:43 to cap the scoring.
Briere opened the scoring for Philadelphia at 8:43 of the first period, when he redirected Andrej Meszaros’ wide shot into the left corner of the net and past Elliott, who had his personal five-game winning streak snapped.
Briere’s ninth goal of the season leaves him tied for second on the team with Jeff Carter, behind Giroux. The Flyers took a season-high 46 shots.
Spezza tied the game nearly two minutes later, shooting the puck past Bobrovsky, after it went off the skate of Flyers defenceman Matt Carle. Spezza maintained his point-per-game average, and has six goals and eight assists in 14 games this season.
Kimmo Timonen and Powe combined to retake the lead at 12:17 of a penalty-less first period. Timonen’s shot from the blue-line was deflected by Powe’s stick in the air, then bounced off the ice and over Elliott’s shoulder.
Bobrovsky stayed on a roll for the Flyers, stuffing many shots with his quick reflexes. Laviolette stayed with his hot 22-year-old goalie, who has started 10 straight games. Bobrovsky has 11 wins, tying him for the league lead.
“On one hand, physically it’s a little tougher,” Bobrovsky said. “On the other hand, with each game, you get into the game much faster. So I prefer to do it (play) as often as possible.”
Notes. The Flyers likely lost left wing Dan Carcillo to a left MCL sprain for at least two weeks, according to general manager Paul Holmgren. He will have a MRI on Tuesday. … Andreas Nodl was a scratch after blocking a puck with his big toe in Saturday’s game. He will likely play on Tuesday in Montreal. … Ottawa won three of four against the Flyers last season. … Richards has at least one point in nine of his past 10 games.