Upshall Scores Twice In Flyers Win

Tuesday, November 13th 2007, 7:21 am
By: News On 6

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Mike Richards was mad at himself for missing an earlier breakaway.

Once the Flyers got in position for Richards to thrive _ yes, that would be short-handed _ he made up for the muffed shot with a game winner and made another team pay on the penalty kill.

Richards knocked in his own rebound for the winner early in the third period to lead Philadelphia to a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on Monday night and help the Flyers remain undefeated at home.

``He's been playing great. He's been our best player so far,'' the Flyers' Scottie Upshall said. ``We need that out of all our guys every night to step up and score big goals like that. He stepped up and came through for us.''

The Flyers are 6-0 at the Wachovia Center and have re-established the home-ice advantage they wasted last season when they won only 10 times in front of the orange-and-black die-hards, who showed their appreciation with a standing ovation at the final horn.

``It was something we talked about doing,'' goalie Martin Biron said. ``To win big games against Pittsburgh (on Saturday) and then tonight at home against the Islanders, it definitely gives us a boost going into the rest of the week.''

In other NHL games Monday night, it was Nashville 4, Columbus 1; New Jersey 3, Pittsburgh 2; Carolina 4, Florida 3; and San Jose 5, Phoenix 0.

The Flyers won at home against the Islanders for the second time this season after dropping all four games against New York in Philadelphia last season.

Upshall scored twice for the Flyers and Biron was sharp again with 24 saves.

Mike Sillinger and Chris Simon scored for the Islanders, who had a four-game winning streak snapped.

Richards caught a break early in the third when goalie Rick DiPietro failed to cleanly handle a slap shot from just outside the circle. The puck bounced back right into a charging Richards, who netted the goal that gave Philadelphia a 3-2 lead.

``I saw the puck come out a little bit and I didn't want to skate into the corners,'' said Richards, who has three short-handed goals this season. ``It was just kind of laying there.''

Richards led the Flyers last season with four short-handed goals and has two career 3-on-5 goals. He was tied for first among NHL rookies with three short-handed goals in the 2005-06 season.

``He just kept whacking at it and it went in,'' said DiPietro, who finished with 14 saves. ``He just got a shot at whacking at it a couple of times and it was a goal. It ended up being an odd-man rush on a power play and it ended up costing us.''

Richards might not have been in position to score the winner if not for Upshall.

Upshall, playing in only his seventh game of the season because of a broken wrist sustained in the preseason, used some sharp stick work to maneuver the puck around the defense and slide it past DiPietro for a 2-1 Philadelphia lead in the second.

The Islanders used an odd play to tie it with 1:43 left in the period. Miroslav Satan's shot landed behind Biron's skate in the crease. Simon crashed into Biron, who fell on his back and was helpless as the puck scooted to the back of the net.

Upshall took advantage of a misplay off the boards to put the Flyers up 1-0 midway through the first. Philadelphia's Jeff Carter battled into the boards with Andy Sutton for the puck behind the net. The puck squirted free, and Islanders forward Ruslan Fedotenko tried to clear it down the ice, but swung it into Upshall's path.

Upshall knocked the puck past DiPietro for his second goal of the season.

DiPietro stopped Richards on a breakaway early in the second and the Islanders came right back after that sensational save to make it 1-1. Sillinger scored his second goal of the season on a backhander.

The Islanders wasted all four power-play opportunities.

``We didn't have any power on the power play,'' coach Ted Nolan said. ``You have to get some shots through and you have to create some havoc in front of the net to give any goaltender some trouble. We just didn't establish anything.''

Predators 4, Blue Jackets 1

J.P. Dumont had two goals and an assist, and visiting Nashville beat Columbus for the 10th consecutive time, and second in three days.

Martin Erat tallied twice _ including an empty netter _ and had two assists to record a career-high four points for the Predators, who have won seven of nine following a six-game losing streak. Nashville has earned a point in six straight games and eight of nine.

David Vyborny scored the lone goal for Columbus.

Devils 3, Penguins 2

Patrik Elias ended an 11-game slump without a goal when he scored with 5 1/2 minutes remaining to lead visiting New Jersey.

Despite goals by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins lost their fourth in a row and sixth in seven games to fall past the Devils and into last place in the Atlantic Division.

Zach Parise also scored for New Jersey and set up Travis Zajac's goal during the Devils' two-goal first period.

Kevin Weekes won his second in three decisions for New Jersey as Martin Brodeur, one victory away from becoming only the second NHL goalie to win 500 games, was held out.

Hurricanes 4, Panthers 3

Cory Stillman scored his second goal of the game with 1:09 left to lift Carolina over host Florida shortly after teammate Erik Cole was removed from the ice on a stretcher following a collision with Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun.

Jason Williams also scored twice for the Hurricanes, who beat Florida for the ninth time in 10 meetings. Ray Whitney had two assists, extending his point streak to 10 games, and Carolina coach Peter Laviolette earned his 200th NHL victory.

Jozef Stumpel, Stephen Weiss and David Booth scored for the Panthers.

Sharks 5, Coyotes 0

Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi scored two goals each and the Sharks beat Phoenix for the second time in three nights.

Mike Grier also scored and Evgeni Nabokov stopped 25 shots for his second shutout as the Sharks earned consecutive home wins for the first time.

Mikael Tellqvist stopped an early penalty shot but had trouble the rest of way. His three-game winning streak was snapped and Phoenix went on its first road losing skid this season.