Richards gets rave reviews

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

The Kenora Kid was the talk of the Philadelphia Flyers' dressing room last night.

Heading into their game against the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre, the Flyers had not scored a goal while two men short since defenceman Terry Carkner accomplished the feat back on Dec. 5, 1991, against the Washington Capitals.

For the record, Mike Richards was just six years old at the time.

Fourteen years later, Richards, the highly-coveted rookie from Kenora, managed to emulate Carkner by beating Leafs goaltender Ed Belfour while Toronto was enjoying a 5-on-3 advantage.

The goal, which came at 17:21 of the second period, snapped a 1-1 tie in a game the visitors would go on to win 5-2.

"We were down 3-on-5 and you expect (Toronto) to score," forward Peter Forsberg said. "For (Richards) to score, that was unbelievable, just great.

"If they had scored it would have been hard. Instead we scored. It was just huge."

Not a bad way for Richards, 20, to make his debut on Hockey Night in Canada.

"I was a little surprised when it went in," he said. "You could tell by my reaction.

"Growing up, you'd always watch Don Cherry and other guys on that show. To get this out of the way and finally be on there, it was pretty cool."

Give linemate Michal Handzus credit on the play for poking the puck off the stick of the Leafs' Jeff O'Neill at the Philly blue line.

Richards gobbled it up and flew down the left wing before unleashing a blast that eluded Belfour high to the stick side.

It was a shot that Belfour usually stops.

Forsberg, meanwhile, chipped in with two assists, giving him 12 for the season. Yet even with that impressive total, he still hasn't scored a regular-season goal in a Flyers uniform.

"I haven't started like this with this many assists and no goals," Forsberg said. "One year it took me about nine games to get a goal.

"I want to get one soon. This is frustrating. But at least other guys are scoring."


Photos