Richards, Gagne help red-hot Flyers jolt Avalanche

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) — Captain Mike Richards and Simon Gagne
recorded a goal and two assists apiece as the Philadelphia
Flyers notched their fifth straight victory with a 5-2 triumph
over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.

Mike Knuble scored a goal and set up another and Joffrey Lupul
also tallied for Philadelphia, which improved to 13-1-3 in its
last 17 games.

Jeff Carter netted the Flyers’ league-leading 12th shorthanded
goal as they improved to 8-0-2 in their last 10 games at the
Wachovia Center.

“If you take advantage of these points early in the year,
hopefully you can bank them and get some on the road, too,”
Richards said. “These games that we are getting are going to be
big points-wise down the stretch.”

Antero Niittymaki turned aside 29 shots for Philadelphia, which
snapped a five-game losing streak to the Avalanche.

Paul Stastny scored a power-play goal and David Jones also
tallied for Colorado, which fell to 8-2-1 in its last 11 visits
to the City of Brotherly Love.

“It wasn’t really a 5-2 game. I thought that we did a lot of
things that we wanted to early in the game, but they found a way
to hang in there,” Colorado coach Tony Granato said. “Their
goalie made the saves when he had to. We tried, we just ran out
of gas a little bit toward the end.

“Philadelphia has won a lot of hockey games lately for a reason,
so they are a good hockey club.”

Peter Budaj turned aside 19 shots for the Avalanche, who are
2-4-1 in their last seven games.

“I don’t want to take anything away from Philadelphia, but I
thought that we outplayed them,” Budaj said. “They got
power-play goals and a couple of lucky bounces to win the game.
The guys worked hard and really competed hard and they deserved
a better fate.”

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After the teams traded goals just over two minutes apart in the
first period, Carter accepted a feed from Gagne and beat Budaj
for his 22nd goal of the season with 1:48 remaining in the

Lupul and Richards scored 78 seconds apart in the second period
to net the Flyers a 4-1 lead with 7:18 remaining in the session.

Richards was credited with the tally, although Colorado
defenseman Scott Hannan inadvertently knocked the puck into the

“I don’t how it went in, but it did,” Richards said. “When
you’re playing well, you are getting bounces. If it hit the
glass, I don’t think that it is going to go in, but that is what
happens when things are going well.”

“At the start of the year, we couldn’t get a break and win a
game – and now we’re getting goals like Richie’s (Mike Richards)
that bounces off the glass and come back and hit the goalie,”
Lupul said. “It’s a nice feeling. You know it’s not going to
last forever, but there is a lot of confidence in this dressing
room. When we get down, we still feel that we can come back –
and now it’s just a matter of trying to keep that in here.”

Philadelphia coach John Stevens credits the Flyers’ fortune to
hard work.

“I’ve always been a believer in the harder you work, the more
bounces you get,” Stevens said. “We have had some good bounces

“I thought the first six games of the season, we had some
unfortunate bounces. It just seemed like the harder you worked,
the bounces turn in your direction. They have a way of evening
themselves out.”