Flyers beat Maple Leafs, 5-2

Flyers Ville Leino and Mike Richards celebrate in front of Maple Leafs goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere after Leino's first-period goal gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead.
Flyers Ville Leino and Mike Richards celebrate in front of Maple Leafs goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere after Leino's first-period goal gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead.
Posted: October 24, 2010

Even amid a three-game losing streak during the Flyers' longest homestand of the season, coach Peter Laviolette struggled with the decision to tinker with his lines.

Laviolette ultimately chose to go with a line of Darroll Powe, Claude Giroux, and Mike Richards.

The move paid dividends.

Richards broke out of a slump, scoring his first goal of the season and adding two assists to help lead the Flyers to a 5-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Recently, Richards had been on a line with Jeff Carter and Nik Zherdev. Richards' new line with Powe and Giroux combined three natural centers.

Danny Briere's line with Ville Leino and Scott Hartnell was the only one that Laviolette did not change Saturday night.

"I wrestled with the idea" of changing the lines, Laviolette said. "I thought that the lines were good, and I thought Mike had a terrific game. Just seems like things weren't dropping for us, they weren't going in. And tonight it seems like we finally got the result to pull away from throwing pucks away on offense."

The Flyers (3-3-1) have had difficulty this season scoring, going into Saturday's contest with just 13 goals through six games. Against Toronto, the Flyers put up two goals in the first period, and added two more in the third.

If not for a review that credited a Richards goal to Leino on a power play in the first period, Richards would have had the 14th two-goal game of his career.

Nonetheless, it did little to take away from Richards' night.

"I think we played with a lot of desperation tonight," Richards said. "We were ready for the game. I think you could feel the energy before the game in the locker room - just a sense that everyone was ready and decided to play the game. Just showed up tonight and played well."

Leino's goal, on which Richards assisted, gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead. Just over a minute into the third period, Richards fed Hartnell, who recorded his second goal of the season.

"It's nice to have a game like this, everyone contributing," Hartnell said. "I think everyone scored. We were relentless. It was a complete game. Our last game was good, but we didn't get the result we wanted. But tonight we got the points."

The Flyers had their highest offensive output of the season, closing out their homestand with a 2-2-1 record at the Wells Fargo Center. They beat a Maple Leafs team (4-2-1) that entered Saturday in first place in the Northeast Division.

With Richards, the Flyers were able to take their fifth consecutive win at home against Toronto.

"He needed a big game," Hartnell said of Richards. "He came up with this big game after a three-game losing streak here at home. He's going and we're following."

Hartnell's new look. A trip to the barbershop Friday left Hartnell nearly unrecognizable. The Flyers forward donated his hair to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that supplies hairpieces to lower-income children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.

"I looked on their website and read that my hair had to be 10 inches long," said Hartnell, who also trimmed his beard. "So I went over to the [barbershop] and had the barber chop off my hair, place it in a package, and ship it."

Sent down. Defenseman Oskars Bartulis, scoreless in two appearances for the Flyers this season, was sent to the team's American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms.

Contact staff writer Mario Aguirre at 215-854-4550 or

comments powered by Disqus