PHILADELPHIA -- This was the kind of old-style NHL fighting that could have sold a pay-per-view.
Flyers vs. Senators: Brawl for it All!
Hey, the haymakers were wildly more entertaining than another Philadelphia blowout.
Mike Richards scored twice in a performance overshadowed by a fight-filled third period and the Flyers trounced the Ottawa Senators 6-2 on Thursday night.
"The fans like it," said Flyers forward Claude Giroux, smiling. "It's a good time."
The game turned nasty in the third with the Flyers cruising toward their NHL-high 31st victory. There was plenty of pushing and punching after a quiet first two periods. The ice was littered with helmets and sticks -- there were two simultaneous fights late in the game that surely would have made the old Broad Street Bullies proud.
The teams combined for 126 penalty minutes; Ottawa had 15 penalties for 69 minutes and the Flyers 13 for 57.
"When the game gets out of hand, sometimes it gets a little hot and emotional out there," Flyers forward Danny Briere said. "It's going to happen. I don't think it's a big deal. Guys did what they had to do and you move on."
Chris Pronger was back in the lineup for Philadelphia five weeks after breaking his right foot. Pronger, the 2000 NHL MVP with St. Louis, was injured Dec. 15 against Montreal and missed 13 games. He started against Ottawa and was paired with Matt Carle.
Richards and Briere made it 2-0 only 4:14 into the game, sending Senators goalie Brian Elliott on the way to his 10th straight loss. Scott Hartnell and James van Riemsdyk each scored in the third to break open a one-goal game.
Tempers flared after the two quick goals in the third and Jeff Carter, not known for fighting, exchanged blows with Ottawa's Jesse Winchester. Carter and Winchester each got 5 minutes for fighting.
"I wasn't doing much else out there, so I figured I'd do something," Carter said.
The penalties were being announced when the Flyers scored again, this time from Andrej Meszaros for a 6-2 lead. The public address announcer then resumed rattling off a lengthy list of players who were sent to the penalty box in the scrum that was highlighted by the Carter-Winchester brawl.
There was the bout, the rout, then Elliott was subbed out after allowing six goals. Elliott, who has two career shutouts against the Flyers, hasn't won since Dec. 26 vs. Pittsburgh.
"At least we're not rolling over and playing dead. We have a lot of fight in us," Foligno said. "It's just frustrating we're not getting the wins."
By then, the Flyers had built enough of a cushion for rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. He was cruising until the second period when he had a brief lapse that let Ottawa pull to 3-2. Milan Michalek scored on a short-handed breakaway and Foligno followed less than 90 seconds later with a rebound to make it 3-2.
When the Senators couldn't score any more, they dropped their gloves.
The crowd started chanting "Goalie fight!" because the two goaltenders were about the only two players left who hadn't gone toe-to-toe.
"It's a tough building to play in," Senators coach Cory Clouston said. "We showed a lot of character. We didn't lay down."
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette wasn't thrilled his skill players were the ones jostling on the ice.
"It's probably not something you want to see on a regular basis," he said. "I think you're always worried when you see something like that."
Briere was the topic of a mini-controversy in Philadelphia when he was snubbed from the NHL All-Star game. He got the spot Wednesday when Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla withdrew so he could spend time with his grandmother.
The Flyers made quick work advertising Briere All-Star gear before the game and he wasted no time showing why he was worthy of a spot. He opened the game with a slap shot only 2:03 in for his 25th goal, and has scored a point in eight of his last nine game.
Richards followed with a goal and he scored on the power play in the second to make it 3-0.
"We're playing with confidence right now, and confidence is a scary thing in the NHL when you have it," Richards said.
The Flyers won their 999th career home game. They will become the first expansion-era team to hit 1,000 when they reach that milestone. ... The Flyers lead the Eastern Conference with 67 points a year after they lost in the Stanley Cup finals to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Arena: Wells Fargo Center Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Referees: Paul Devorski, Paul Devorski Linesmen: Derek Amell, Tim Nowak
Attendance: 19,721 (101.1% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Daniel Briere (25)
Assists: Andrej Meszaros, Sean O'Donnell
Mike Richards (16)
Assists: Braydon Coburn, Andreas Nodl
Mike Richards (17)
(Power Play) Assists: Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen
Milan Michalek (11)
(Shorthanded) Assist: Jarkko Ruutu
Nick Foligno (8)
Assists: Mike Fisher, Daniel Alfredsson
Scott Hartnell (16)
Assists: Daniel Briere, Ville Leino
James van Riemsdyk (11)
Assists: Mike Richards, Chris Pronger
Andrej Meszaros (3)
(Power Play) Assists: Claude Giroux, Mike Richards
Tonight's Flyers-Senators game featured 10 fighting majors in the 3rd period alone. It's the 2nd time this season, and 7th time since 2003-04 that two teams have combined for at least 10 fighting majors in a period. This isn't the first time the Flyers and Senators have gone at it though as the two teams combined for 21 fighting majors in the 3rd period of their game in March of 2004, a game also played in Philadelphia. That contest, the teams combined for 409 penalty minutes in the 3rd period, which is an NHL record for most in any period in NHL history. Tonight the teams combined for only 126 penalty minutes in the final period. 4 players played in both games, with all 4 being members of the Senators.
* 4 Players Participated In Both Games (All 4 on Senators)
From Elias: The Flyers picked up their 999th home victory as a franchise tonight in their win against the Senators. With their next home victory they will become the first NHL expansion team to reach the 1,000 win mark at home. NHL expansion first occurred in 1967 when 6 teams were added which doubled the leagues size to 12 teams.
* The Flyers next home game comes Saturday against the Devils.