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Philadelphia
Flyers
42-29-11
Washington
Capitals
43-31-8

29 SOG
26 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
PHI
WSH
game recap

Flyers 3, Capitals 2

Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:33 AM

Associated Press

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Flyers 3, Capitals 2
Philadelphia Flyers 3, Washington Capitals 2

WASHINGTON (AP) -The 12 stitches Mike Richards needed in and around his nose provided a bit of a lift for him and the new-look Philadelphia Flyers.

Bloodied but unbowed by a fight, Richards returned to score the tiebreaking goal Friday night, helping Philadelphia finally beat the Washington Capitals 3-2, even though Alex Ovechkin scored for the eighth consecutive game against the Flyers.

"I don't look very good right now. I'm not too attractive," Richards said after registering his eighth goal, just three shy of his career high.

Asked if his fight with Brooks Laich late in the first period inspired him, Richards replied: "Twelve stitches does, for sure. ... It just seemed to get us going."

Daniele Briere and R.J. Umberger also scored for the Flyers, while Antero Niittymaki made 24 saves in his second start of the season for Philadelphia, which had not defeated Washington since February 2006. The Capitals earned the franchise's first sweep of the Flyers by winning all four games between the teams last season.

But as Capitals coach Glen Hanlon emphasized before the game, these Atlantic Division-leading Flyers are hardly the same club that finished last in the NHL in 2006-07.

"They're definitely a different hockey team," Capitals goalie Olie Kolzig said after facing 23 shots over the last two periods. "They just seem like they're playing with confidence. They're definitely a better hockey team, but so are we."

Perhaps, but while Philadelphia is off to an 8-4 start, Washington has lost eight of its past 10 games after opening 3-0.

"Disappointing but not discouraging," Hanlon said. "We'll fight on."

Ovechkin's goal, on a slap shot 3 seconds into a power play, cut Philadelphia's lead in half with a little more than 4 minutes left in the penalty- and fight-filled game, but Washington couldn't tie it.

His is the longest active scoring streak by any player against one team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Things didn't look good early for the Flyers. The Capitals took 14 of the game's first 17 shots, and the pressure paid off 7 1/2 minutes in, when Tomas Fleischmann scored his second goal of the season by knocking the puck out of the air from near the right post to make it 1-0. Rookie Nicklas Backstrom earned his sixth assist.

"That kind of warmed me up a little bit," said Niittymaki, who evened his record at 1-1.

There was a total of 46 minutes in penalties and no fewer than four outright fights, plus plenty of pushing and shoving after nearly every whistle. After fighting with Washington's Brian Sutherby in the second period, Flyers enforcer Ben Eager appeared to make a throat-slashing gesture as he sat down in the penalty box.

"We play the game hard, but within the rules. Other than a couple of minor blips, we just try and outwork the teams," Richards said. "We play a hitting style, a checking style where we try to turn pucks over. I don't think it's 'Bullies."'

He left the ice with blood streaming down his after his skirmish with Laich. Less than 30 seconds later, Kolzig used his stick to take a whack at Briere's leg in front of the net, drawing a penalty.

Briere, booed every time the puck was on his stick because of his battles with Ovechkin last season, tied it at 1 about 8 minutes into the second period. Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn intercepted the puck and redirected it up to Briere to start a Flyers rush the other way. Briere passed off to his left to Umberger, then skated unimpeded between two Capitals to tap in a return pass for his fifth goal.

Philadelphia went ahead on a similar sequence. Joffrey Lupul passed to Richards, who sent the puck over Kolzig's shoulder to make it 2-1 with about 5 minutes remaining in the second period. It was Richards' third consecutive game with a goal and his eighth score overall.

Umberger added an insurance goal on a power play 1 1/2 minutes into the third period.

"We feel like we have a really good skating team. We have size. We have speed," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "We try to push people off the puck. Our goal is to do that."

Notes: Flyers D Randy Jones completed his two-game suspension. ... The Capitals again were missing three key injured players: D Tom Poti (groin) and Ws Alexander Semin (ankle) and Chris Clark (ear).

scoring summary
1st Period
07:29
WSH
Tomas Fleischmann (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Nicklas Backstrom (6), Michael Nylander (8)
1 - 0 WSH
2nd Period
08:03
PHI
Daniel Briere (5) Tip-in - ASST: R.J. Umberger (5), Braydon Coburn (3)
1 - 1 Tie
15:52
PHI
Mike Richards (8) Wrist shot - ASST: Joffrey Lupul (7)
2 - 1 PHI
3rd Period
01:33
PHI
PPG - R.J. Umberger (2) Slapshot - ASST: Braydon Coburn (4), Jeff Carter (3)
3 - 1 PHI
15:52
WSH
PPG - Alex Ovechkin (9) Slapshot - ASST: Michael Nylander (9)
3 - 2 PHI
penalty summary
1st Period
10:51
WSH
Matt Pettinger  Slashing against  Joffrey Lupul
10:51
PHI
Joffrey Lupul  Slashing against  Matt Pettinger
13:23
PHI
Scott Hartnell  Boarding against  Mike Green
13:23
WSH
Matt Bradley  Roughing against  Scott Hartnell
17:34
PHI
Mike Richards  Fighting (maj) against  Brooks Laich
17:34
WSH
Brooks Laich  Fighting (maj) against  Mike Richards
18:02
WSH
Olie Kolzig  Tripping against  Daniel Briere
2nd Period
03:23
WSH
John Erskine  Boarding against  Jim Dowd
12:14
WSH
Brian Sutherby  Fighting (maj) against  Ben Eager
12:14
PHI
Ben Eager  Fighting (maj) against  Brian Sutherby
12:14
PHI
Ben Eager  Elbowing against  Brian Sutherby
17:03
WSH
Mike Green  Tripping against  Scott Hartnell
19:51
WSH
Brian Pothier  Hi stick - double minor against  Sami Kapanen
3rd Period
05:51
WSH
Matt Pettinger  Slashing against  Joffrey Lupul
08:23
WSH
John Erskine  Tripping against  Sami Kapanen
15:49
PHI
Jason Smith  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
goalie stats
Antero Niittymaki
SA: 26TOI: 59:21
Saves: 24EV: 24 - 25
PIM: 0PP: 0 - 1
SV%: .923SH: 0 - 0
Olie Kolzig
SA: 29TOI: 59:01
Saves: 26EV: 11 - 13
PIM: 2PP: 15 - 16
SV%: .897SH: 0 - 0