More than four months after an open-ice hit by Mike Richards forced David Booth to miss 45 games, the latter got even -- in more ways than one.
Not only did the Booth drop the gloves with the Philadelphia Flyers captain just 2:45 into the game, but the Florida Panthers forward scored a goal and added three assists in a 7-4 victory at the BankAtlantic Center on Wednesday night.
"I just wanted to get it off my chest," said Booth, who suffered a concussion from the hit on Oct. 24. "It wasn't cheap or anything. I just asked him if he wanted to. He didn't have to give me my shot."
The Booth-Richards bout may have been early, but it was the third of the night. Panthers forward Gregory Campbell fought with Ian Laperriere just 3 seconds into the game, and Florida's Nick Tarnasky battled Arron Asham two seconds later.
"We came out physical, and I think that's why we won tonight," Booth said. "We didn't back down. The times we've done that this year we've won, so maybe that's an identity we've got to establish. That was a fun game to play in … a lot of emotion."
Florida held a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes thanks to goals by Steven Reinprecht and Michael Frolik. Booth, Jason Garrison, Stephen Weiss and Frolik added goals in a wild second period that featured a total of seven tallies. Danny Briere, Jeff Carter and Ville Leino scored for Philadelphia, but the Flyers entered the third trailing 6-3.
Garrison's goal, which gave the Panthers at 4-2 lead at 12:40, prompted Flyers coach Peter Laviolette to replace Michael Leighton with Brian Boucher. Leighton allowed four goals on 26 shots.
"It just didn't seem like we got our legs under us," Richards said. "We made a lot of mistakes we normally wouldn't make, gave up a lot of odd-man rushes and they capitalized on their chances. We matched their physical presence, but we just weren't there in the mind frame."
Ryan Parent pulled the Flyers within two midway through the third period, but Bryan McCabe -- who already had three assists -- sealed the deal with an empty-net tally at 19:16. Tomas Vokoun made 38 saves for the Panthers in his first start since representing the Czech Republic at the Olympics.
"Hopefully we got off the schneid here and we consistently give Voky some goal support," McCabe said. "God knows he’s been unbelievable for us this whole season, it's about time we give him some goal support."
Wild 4, Flames 0 | HIGHLIGHTS
Mikko Koivu had a goal and an assist and Niklas Backstrom stopped all 29 shots he faced as Minnesota blanked Calgary at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
Kyle Brodziak, Andrew Brunette and Martin Havlat also scored for the Wild, who were not awarded a power play all night. The victory moved the Wild within four points of Detroit, which holds the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference but lost to Vancouver.
Jamal Mayers had arguably the Flames' best chance in the second period with an opportunity near the side of the net. However, Backstrom made an acrobatic glove save to keep Calgary off the scoreboard.
"It's a tough building for us, so it's a good start," Backstrom said after recording his fifth shutout of the season. "We kept it simple and played well."
Calgary, meanwhile, is 3-8-1 in its last 12 games at home. The Flames have been either shut out or held to one goal in nine of their last 17 games. Miikka Kiprusoff stopped only 17 of 21 shots in the loss.
"It's certainly disappointing," Flames coach Brent Sutter said. "You certainly expected more from the team here tonight. I was disappointed in our execution, I was disappointed in our intelligence in the game. I thought the emotional level as the game went on dropped off, and that was disappointing, too. It's unacceptable. Every game is such a big game for us. It was like a river hockey game out there tonight."
After Brodziak opened the scoring in the first period, the Wild stretched their lead when Brunette finished off a pretty tic-tac-toe passing play started by Koivu and Finnish Olympic teammate Anti Miettinen at 10:12 for his 18th of the season.
Less than four minutes later, Koivu blazed down the wing and ripped a slap shot inside the far post past Kiprusoff. It was Koivu's 17th goal of the season. Havlat made it 4-0 12:20 into the third.
"We did a lot of good things and I think we deserved the win tonight," Minnesota coach Todd Richards said. "We had a couple of spots -- maybe five, 10 minutes long -- where we weren't playing particularly well, but our goaltender was there to make some saves for us."
Ducks 4, Avalanche 3 | HIGHLIGHTS
After jumping to a 2-0 lead, Anaheim gave Colorado every chance to get back in the game. The Avs were only too happy to oblige.
Peter Mueller scored in his first game with his new club and Craig Anderson made 31 saves as the Avalanche ended Anaheim's home winning streak at 11 games.
To read the full Anaheim-Colorado recap, click here.
Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.