Richards' wrister with 3 seconds left in OT beat Tim Thomas and gave the Philadelphia Flyers a 2-1 victory at Boston on Saturday night in their first visit to TD Garden since winning Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals last spring.
It was the third time Richards had scored what looked like an OT winner this season, but the first one that actually ended up winning the game. His potential game-winner against San Jose on Wednesday night was disallowed after video replay showed the puck crossed the goal line a split-second after time expired. He lost another apparent winner on Nov. 26 when the goal was waved off because teammate Chris Pronger was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for blocking the goalie's view with his glove.
"I guess the third time is a charm," Richards said. "I didn't know what was on the clock, so I'm glad I didn't wait. ... I kind of surprised him with the shot."
The game appeared headed for a shootout before Richards picked off a bad pass by Bruins center Marc Savard, skated down the right side on a 3-on-1 break and wristed a shot from the circle past Thomas for the win.
"I didn't think he wasn't going to shoot. I was trying to be ready for that, too," said Thomas, who made 32 saves. "When he did shoot, he got it off really quick. He didn't telegraph it, let's put it that way."
Brian Boucher stopped 35 shots, and James van Riemsdyk also scored for Philadelphia.
Nathan Horton scored for the Bruins, who led the Flyers 3-0 in the second round of the playoffs before losing three in a row to force a seventh game. Boston led 3-0 in Game 7 before the Flyers rallied to win -- they eventually reached the Stanley Cup Final before losing to Chicago in six games.
Boston beat the Flyers 3-0 in Philadelphia on Dec. 1 in the first meeting this season.
Boucher said the sellout crowd of 17,565 was conscious of what happened last spring.
"I felt like (the fans) wanted to get back at us for what happened last year," Boucher said. "It definitely had that playoff feel. It's a great atmosphere. ... That game could have gone either way. It was a game where two teams played well, and we were fortunate to get the two points."
It was the fifth consecutive game that Thomas has allowed two or fewer goals. He made a big save with less than two minutes remaining in overtime by sprawling to knock away a trickling puck that was rolling across the crease after it was deflected in front by van Riemsdyk.
Flyers forward Jody Shelley was given a major penalty and a game misconduct 5:08 into the second period when he took out Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid when both players were chasing the puck as it rolled toward the Philadelphia end. Shelley's two-handed shove knocked McQuaid off his skates; the Bruins defenseman was just able to get his hands up and avoid hitting the boards headfirst.
McQuaid stayed down for several minutes; a trainer was helped onto the ice to help him. When he got to his knees, the fans -- and the Flyers bench - began cheering, but he stayed there for a couple of minutes before standing up and getting an escort off the ice, with a teammate on each arm.
Shelley apologized to McQuaid once on the ice and again in the hallway outside the dressing rooms, McQuaid said.
"When I was coming off the ice, he was waiting for me there," said McQuaid, who returned in the third period. "He said he was sorry and he didn't mean to, so I've just got to take what he says."
McQuaid said he had the wind knocked out of him and that it was not a head injury.
"They did a few tests and I got checked out and everything," he said.
The Bruins managed only five shots during the penalty and failed to score.
The Flyers broke the scoreless tie at 18:39 of the second period when Jeff Carter brought the puck down the left side and fed van Riemsdyk, who one-timed a shot inside the right post. But Boston got even with 10:17 left in the regulation when David Krejci sent the puck into the middle, where Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and Pronger were all fighting for position. Pronger knocked the puck down, but Horton wound up with it and wristed a shot past Boucher.
Material from wire services was used in this report
|Power Play %||16.9%||32.4%|
|% on Road||17.6%||27.3%|
|% at Home||16.2%||37.1%|
|Daniel Carcillo Interference against Marc Savard|
|Jody Shelley Checking from behind (maj) against Adam McQuaid|
|Jody Shelley Game misconduct against Adam McQuaid|
|Mark Recchi Hooking against Mike Richards|