PHILADELPHIA -- Mike Richards scored a power-play goal at 12:02 of the third period to complete a Philadelphia rally from a 2-0 deficit and snap a two-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory Monday night against the New Jersey Devils at the Wachovia Center.
Zach Parise and Anssi Salmela scored for New Jersey, which lost for the fourth time in its last five games.
After the Devils took a 2-0 lead, the Flyers scored three straight, capped by the winning goal by the Philadelphia captain. Kimmo Timonen dragged the puck around the outside and down behind the New Jersey net. As he held off Colin White, he found Richards in front, and he pushed it past Martin Brodeur to give the Flyers their first lead of the night.
"Kimmo made a good play, settled the play down a little bit," said Richards. "He was patient with the puck and made a good pass to me and I just threw it at the net."
The Flyers' offense has been lacking a lot lately, especially in their two losses, a 1-0 loss in Edmonton followed by a 2-1 defeat in Minnesota that saw the Flyers pile up 72 shots, but just the one score.
Prior to the game the club had been preaching getting bodies and pucks to the net, which is exactly how Richards scored his goal.
"It's not easy scoring goals," said Richards. "It seems like the last couple games it's been even tougher. When you get into that slot area, the rough spots, you're going to eventually have a puck on your stick. It happened a couple times beforehand. You keep throwing it at the net something good is going to happen."
That could define the Devils' first goal, just seven minutes into the game. With the Devils on the power play, Parise shot the puck from the goal line off Pronger's leg and into the net for his 26th goal of the season.
Salmela made it 2-0 when he scored shorthanded 61 seconds into the second period, but he paid a mighty price for it. Salmela led a shorthanded rush into the Philadelphia end, bulled around Richards and beat goalie Michael Leighton, but as he followed through on his shot, Carter hit Salmela in the head with his shoulder. The Devils defenseman was knocked out by the shot as he spun in the air and landed face-first just to the right of the Philadelphia net. He remained down for several minutes before being removed from the ice on a stretcher. After the game he was sporting a few fresh stitches on the bridge of his nose and he was missing the bottom half of his left top front tooth, but otherwise said he was OK.
Salmela did not go to the hospital and was not taken for X-rays. He did say he would see Devils team doctors Tuesday for a follow-up exam.
"I didn't even remember at first that I scored," Salmela said. "But now I'm getting little more clear. … I'm getting better now. Just a bit of a headache, but I think everything else is good. Just lucky."
The Flyers tied the game with a pair of goals in a 1:12 span late in the second period.
van Riemsdyk stepped between two Devils players as he rushed the puck into the New Jersey end, then used Andy Greene as a screen as he fired a wrist shot past Martin Brodeur with 1:36 left in the period.
Moments later, Leighton stopped a hard Jamie Langenbrunner shot, and Pronger spun and fired a pass out of the zone to Scott Hartnell at the New Jersey blue line. Hartnell and Carter created a 2-on-1 with just Mike Mottau back, and Carter finished for his 23rd of the season with just 23.2 seconds left in the period.
After the Richards goal, the Flyers had to kill a boarding penalty to Timonen with 1:52 left, but New Jersey was held to one just one shot by Ilya Kovalchuk.
"They had five forwards out there, lot of shooters," said Richards. "You just not try to run around, keep it composed. They have skilled players so you just try to block shots, get in the away little bit, make them make shots."
Kovalchuk finished with a game-high nine shots, but still is looking for his first goal as a Devil.
"He is trying so much to score and you know he is squeezing the stick a little bit," New Jersey coach Jacques Lemaire said. "He is so anxious to contribute the way he can by scoring goals. But his game is fine. Just a matter of time that he is going to start feel better and get better shots."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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