The 12 stitches Mike Richards needed in and around his nose provided a bit of a lift for him and the new-look Philadelphia Flyers.
Bloodied but unbowed by a fight, Richards returned to score the tiebreaking goal last night in Washington, helping Philadelphia finally beat the Capitals, 3-2, even though Alex Ovechkin scored for the eighth consecutive game against the Flyers.
"I don't look very good right now. I'm not too attractive," Richards said after registering his eighth goal, just three shy of his career high.
Asked if his fight with Brooks Laich late in the first period inspired him, Richards replied, "Twelve stitches does, for sure . . . It just seemed to get us going."
Daniel Briere and R.J. Umberger also scored for the Flyers, and Antero Niittymaki made 24 saves in his second start of the season for Philadelphia, which had not defeated Washington since February 2006. The Capitals earned the franchise's first sweep of the Flyers by winning all four games between the teams last season.
But as Capitals coach Glen Hanlon emphasized before the game, these Atlantic Division-leading Flyers are hardly the same club that finished last in the NHL in 2006-07.
"They're definitely a different hockey team," Capitals goalie Olaf Kolzig said after facing 23 shots over the last two periods. "They just seem like they're playing with confidence. They're definitely a better hockey team, but so are we."
Perhaps, but while Philadelphia is off to an 8-4 start, Washington has lost eight of its last 10 games after opening 3-0.
"Disappointing but not discouraging," Hanlon said. "We'll fight on."
Kings 5, Sharks 2 - Jean-Sebastien Aubin made 45 saves, Dustin Brown scored two goals, and Matt Moulson scored the go-ahead goal in his NHL debut as Los Angeles won in San Jose for its fifth victory in six games.
Not everything went poorly for the Sharks: Defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh got a rousing ovation when he was introduced in the starting lineup more than 12 years after his last appearance with the Sharks, and the seven-time All-Star played fairly well.
Devils 3, Maple Leafs 2 - John Madden scored a shorthanded goal to break a tie with 4:12 to play and Zach Parise added what proved to be a much-needed insurance tally 1:37 later to lead host New Jersey. David Clarkson added a goal and Martin Brodeur stopped 26 shots and picked up an assist as the Devils won consecutive games for only the second time this season.
Panthers 4, Sabres 2 - Richard Zednik scored twice and Tomas Vokoun made 26 saves to spark visiting Florida to just its second victory in seven road games. Radek Dvorak and Olli Jokinen also scored for the Panthers.
Jochen Hecht and Thomas Vanek scored for Buffalo, which has lost five of its last seven, including an overtime loss to the Bruins Thursday.
Coyotes 5, Stars 0 - Mikael Tellqvist stopped 35 shots for his fifth career shutout, Radim Vrbata scored a shorthanded goal, and visiting Phoenix handed Dallas its first shutout loss in almost four years.
Predators 4, Oilers 1 - Jason Arnott scored the winning goal in the third period and Nashville won its second straight on the road.