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Flyers come out fighting, finally beat Capitals 3-2 @NHLdotcom

Mike Richards got bloody, and then his Flyers got busy.

Richards needed 12 stitches in and around his nose after a fight, and then returned to score the tiebreaking goal Friday night, helping Philadelphia finally beat the Washington Capitals 3-2.

"I don't look very good right now. I'm not too attractive," Richards said after scoring 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 said: "Twelve stitches does, for sure. ... It just seemed to get us going."

The Flyers won even though Alex Ovechkin scored for the eighth consecutive game against Philadelphia.

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 last season.

In other NHL games, it was: New Jersey 3, Toronto 2; Florida 4, Buffalo 2; Phoenix 5, Dallas 0; Nashville 4, Edmonton 1; and Los Angeles 5, San Jose 2.

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.

He has 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 were 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."'

At Newark, N.J., John Madden scored a short-handed goal to break a tie with 4:12 to play and Zach Parise added what proved to be a much-needed insurance tally minutes later for New Jersey.

David Clarkson added a goal and Martin Brodeur stopped 26 shots and picked up an assist as the Devils won consecutive games for only the second time this season.

Alex Steen scored a spectacular goal and Mats Sundin banked in a flukey one with 32 seconds to play for the Maple Leafs, who lost their second straight game.

At Buffalo, N.Y., Richard Zednik scored twice and Tomas Vokoun made 26 saves to help Florida win for the first time in its past four visits to Buffalo.

Radek Dvorak and Olli Jokinen also scored for the Panthers, who won for only the second time in seven road games.

Jochen Hecht and Thomas Vanek scored for Buffalo, which has lost five of its past seven including an overtime loss to Boston on Thursday.

At Dallas, Mikael Tellqvist stopped 35 shots for his fifth career shutout, and Radim Vrbata scored a short-handed goal for Phoenix.

Niko Kapanen, Daniel Carcillo, Shane Doan, and rookie Martin Hanzal added goals for the Coyotes, who had lost nine of their previous 10 meetings with the Stars.

At Edmonton, Alberta, Jason Arnott scored the winning goal in the third period and Nashville won its second straight on the road.

David Legwand, Radek Bonk and Vernon Fiddler also scored for the Predators, while Ales Hemsky had the goal for the Oilers.

At San Jose, Calif., Jean-Sebastien Aubin made 45 saves and Dustin Brown scored two goals in Los Angeles' fifth victory in six games.

Matt Moulson scored the go-ahead goal in his NHL debut, and Mike Cammalleri got his 11th goal and an assist as the first-place Kings ruined the Sharks' return from a 13-day road jaunt with just their third win in their past 15 trips to San Jose.

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