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Richards Helps Lead Flyers to 3-2 Victory Over Devils

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia, PA – R.J. Umberger, Brian Savage and Mike Richards all scored goals and Robert Esche made 16 saves as the Philadelphia Flyers improved to a perfect 5-0 in the preseason with a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils at the Wachovia Center.

Richards tallied the game-winning score late in the second period. On the play, Jon Sim took a shot from close range that sat in front of goaltender Ari Ahonen. Richards, who was charging the net, took the puck and make a quick move before sliding it in for his third goal of the preseason.

To hear Richards talk about his goal, click here.

The line of Sim, Richards and Mike Knuble has been together for virtually the entire exhibition schedule, and the trio now has a total of 22 points.

But it is rookie Richards who continues to impress.

I think the thing is, he was born for the NHL, said head coach Ken Hitchcock. He's a skilled guy that has really high competitive instincts. That's a good match, and he's playing with good players. There's good chemistry on that line.

He's incredible, said Donald Brashear. That's what I like about this game, there's always new players coming and you look at them and you know they're going to be stars.

Sergei Brylin scored a power play goal for New Jersey, but that was all they would get on Esche.

Philadelphia opened up a 2-0 courtesy of goals by Umberger and Savage. Umberger skated the puck into the zone on a power play, went around Devils defenseman Brian Rafalski and beat goaltender Scott Clemmensen at 10:25 for his first goal.

Savage also lit the lamp for the first time when his goal gave the Flyers a two-goal lead at 16:02. Simon Gagne tipped a puck towards the crease where Patrick Sharp tried to redirect it. It ended up on the stick of Savage on the other side of the crease, and Savage easily lifted it past Clemmensen.

David Hale scored just 24 seconds later to get New Jersey on the board to make it a 2-1 game at the intermission. Philadelphia outshot the Devils during the first 20 minutes, 16-4.

Flyers defenseman Derian Hatcher made his preseason debut for the Flyers, after missing the first four games with a strained left knee.

For his first game in a long time, I thought he looked really good, said Hitchcock. He's a guy who hasn't even had much time to practice with us. To play the way he did today was, I thought, excellent.

It felt really good for the first half of the game, then after that the legs started catching up with me a little bit, but that's to be expected, said Hatcher.

A heavyweight fight between Brashear and Krzysztof Oliwa delighted the over 18,000 fans in attendance early in the second period.

The Flyers have two preseason games remaining, both on the road. Friday night they play the Devils once again at the Meadowlands, before they travel to Washington to play the Capitals on Saturday night.

Philadelphia begins the 2005-06 regular season at home next Wednesday, October 5 against the New York Rangers.

Gagne and Richards scored in the post-game shootout, and Esche allowed one goal on two attempts as the Flyers won two goals to one … Kim Johnsson left the game in the first period and did not return due to a mild right groin strain … Jeff Carter also left the game, and will most likely be out for the rest of the preseason with a right elbow sprain. … The Flyers announced that tickets for the Lehigh Valley Daily Farms Family Section will go on sale on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. for home games in December. Tickets can be purchased at the Wachovia Center box office, all ticketmaster locations,, or by calling (215) 336-2000.
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