Flyers beat Isles without Gagne, Forsberg

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Mike Richards needed a fluky bounce, a lucky
break and an empty net to get his first career hat trick.

Richards scored three goals and Robert Esche made 20 saves,
leading the undermanned Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-2 victory over
the New York Islanders on Wednesday night.

Playing without their two leading scorers, Peter Forsberg and
Simon Gagne, the Flyers snapped a three-game losing streak and won
for just the fifth time in 15 games to remain one point behind the
Atlantic Division-leading New York Rangers.

R.J. Umberger and Jeff Carter also scored for Philadelphia,
which used eight first-year players.

"We had a lot of key guys out of the lineup and everybody
stepped up," Richards said.

Trent Hunter and Miroslav Satan scored for the Islanders, who
lost for the third time in four games.

Gagne, who was second in the NHL with 35 goals, sat out with a
stomach virus and Forsberg, who has 62 points, missed his sixth
straight game with a groin injury.

Defenseman Eric Desjardins returned for the injury-depleted
Flyers after missing the previous 29 games following shoulder
surgery. However, center Petr Nedved left the game after
aggravating his groin injury, and former captain Keith Primeau
(concussion), defensemen Kim Johnsson (concussion symptoms), Mike
Rathje (groin) and Chris Therien (head) and forward Branko
Radivojevic (ankle) remained out.

"They responded and took the challenge," coach Ken Hitchcock
said of his young players.

After Philadelphia took a 2-0 lead in the first period, the
teams traded four goals in the second.

A crisp pass from Esche set up Carter's power-play goal that
gave the Flyers a 4-2 lead. Umberger took Esche's outlet pass,
streaked down the right side and dropped a perfect pass to Carter,
who lifted a shot into the top corner.

The Flyers needed help from the replay booth on their third
goal. Richards one-timed a shot just inside the post. A video
review showed the puck crossed the line before goalie Garth Snow
smothered it.

"I didn't know where it was, but everybody said it went in,"
Richards said.

Just 2:04 earlier, Hunter's power-play goal cut the score to
2-1. Hunter put in a rebound after a shot by Brent Sopel 7 seconds
into the man-advantage.

Satan also scored on the power play to make it 3-2 in the
second. He one-timed a fluttering shot past Esche for his 24th

Richards scored a short-handed goal to give the Flyers a 1-0
lead early. Turner Stevenson's shot from the slot hit Islanders
forward Mike York, bounced off Richards' stomach and appeared to
hit off his skate before it trickled past Snow.

Richards was stoned on a short-handed, 3-on-1 break late in the
game. But the rookie scored a short-handed goal into an empty net
in the final minute.

"This guy plays beyond his years," Islanders coach Brad Shaw
said. "He has poise and awareness with the puck that he certainly
doesn't look like a first-year player."

Umberger's power-play goal made it 2-0 in the first. Freddy
Meyer ripped a shot from the point that deflected off Carter's
skate and went to Umberger, who lifted it into a wide-open net.

The Flyers were 0-for-23 with a man advantage over the last
five-plus games before Umberger scored.

"We didn't show up the first 20 minutes," Islanders forward
Mark Parrish said. "We couldn't do anything from there."

Game notes
Philadelphia is 5-8-2 since a 9-0-2 stretch. ... Flyers C
Michal Handzus played in his 254th consecutive game, despite a bone
bruise in his left foot. ... The Flyers called up Ryan Ready and
Stefan Ruzicka from the AHL's Philadelphia Phantoms to fill in at
forward. ... Islanders D Alexei Zhitnik missed his fourth straight
game with a sprained ankle. ... Snow had missed the last 14 games
because of sprained ligaments in both knees.