(Sports Network) - The Flyers were able to score enough goals on Thursday night to overcome another defensive lapse. Facing a Ducks team that will be without Ryan Getzlaf could be just what the team needs. Philadelphia continues its longest road trip of the season tonight, while Anaheim returns to the Honda Center to start up a six-game homestand.
The Flyers began this five-game swing with a 6-2 loss in Vancouver on Tuesday. In danger of dropping a third straight contest, Philadelphia responded with a 7-4 victory in Los Angeles last night to improve to 11-3-3 in its last 17 games and pull within two points of Pittsburgh for the NHL lead of 53. One of Mike Richards' two goals came during a four-goal second period and the Flyers captain finished with his fifth career four-point game, one off his career mark. Scott Hartnell, Jeff Carter and James van Riemsdyk all added goals in the second period, while Claude Giroux set a career high with three assists.
Philadelphia's offense helped make a winner of Michael Leighton in his season debut. Leighton played in an NHL game for the first time since a Game 6 loss to the Stanley Cup-champion Blackhawks on June 9. Leighton underwent back surgery in late October and ended with 32 saves. "It was good to get back and, obviously, I'm not too excited about the way I played," Leighton said. "We got a win and the team really saved my butt tonight and we did a great job. They scored some goals for me and that was that. I felt better in the third period and hopefully I just build off of that."
Philadelphia, which has allowed 15 goals in its last three games, is also carrying goaltenders Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky on the roster and it is unknown who will start tonight. Boucher did dress as the backup last night, while Bobrovsky made 19 saves in a 3-2 home loss to the Ducks on Oct. 21.
That victory was Anaheim's second in a row over Philadelphia, but the Flyers have won two straight and three of their last four at the Honda Center. Getzlaf scored the game-winning goal when the Ducks and Flyers met early this season, but he won't play this weekend due to multiple nasal sinus fractures suffered when he was hit in the forehead by a puck in Tuesday's 3-1 victory over Phoenix. The 25-year-old captain leads Anaheim with 24 assists to go along with 13 goals over 40 games, but won't know how long he will be out until visiting a specialist on Friday.
Instead, the Flyers can focus on Corey Perry, who had a goal in Tuesday's win and has eight goals and 14 points over his last 10 games. He has a goal and five helpers in five career games versus the Flyers, including a pair of assists in the last meeting. Former Flyers Luca Sbisa and Joffrey Lupul also scored in Tuesday's win, with Sbisa netting the first of his career. Jonas Hiller ended with 31 saves for the Ducks, who ended a two-game slide and finished 3-4-0 on their road trip.
"I thought the first period we were better than we were in the second period," Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. "We started turning the puck over in the second period and it gave them momentum." Anaheim now begins a six-game homestand and is 11-6-1 as the host this season. Philadelphia is 11-3-3 as the visiting club. Hiller is 1-1-0 with a 2.42 goals-against average in his career versus the Flyers and did not face them in October.
Richards had a goal and four assists in five career meetings with Anaheim for Philadelphia, which will again be without Jody Shelley. The forward concludes a two-game suspension tonight for post-whistle punch delivered to Vancouver's Andrew Alberts on Tuesday.
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