CALGARY, Alberta - There are still two-plus months left in the regular season, but the Flyers tonight played their second straight game that had a tight-checking, playoff feel to it.
Sparked by Mike Richards' 100th career goal, the Flyers emerged with a victory, outlasting the Calgary Flames, 3-0, at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
Richards scored another goal on a power play late in the game. He had been goalless in his previous four games before he converted a Simon Gagne pass midway through the second period to make it 1-0.
"It feels good. It has taken a while to get there with the last couple of games," said Richards, who reached the milestone in his 344th game. "The goal was just a little bit of a scramble. I got lucky and the puck popped to me. I actually missed my shot and it went in."
Claude Giroux, sent in on a breakaway by Arron Asham, scored on a backhander inside the left post to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead 1 minute, 49 seconds into the final period.
Ray Emery, forced to make just 18 saves by the Flyers' strong backchecking game, notched his third shutout of the season.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren is working the phones before the March 3 trade deadline, but don't expect a blockbuster deal like Calgary made on Sunday. Atlanta left winger Ilya Kovalchuk could not fit under their salary cap unless they dealt someone like Jeff Carter.
"I don't know where this stuff comes from," said Holmgren, when asked about reports that the Flyers had interest in Kovalchuk (and his $6.4 million cap hit).
The Flames, meanwhile, were hoping their seven-player deal, made with Toronto, would invigorate a lineup that has struggled to score goals.
Before the game, Flames right winger Jarome Iginla was asked if he expected it to take time for Calgary to build chemistry with its new teammates.
"The quicker you win, the quicker the chemistry," he said with a smile. "There are no magic ingredients, but spending time together helps. We'll work on it starting tonight."
"We're fortunate to have a game tonight and to get right out there," said center Matt Stajan, one of the four players the Flames received in the deal that sent all-star defenseman Dion Phaneuf to Toronto.
Stajan started the night on a line with Iginla and left winger Eric Nystrom.
Midway through a scoreless first period, with Calgary on a power play because of a Scott Hartnell cross check, Stajan appeared to tip a Jay Bouwmeester shot off Emery and inches wide on the carom.
Richards snapped the scoreless duel with 9:44 remaining in the middle period, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead.
Gagne knocked a puck out of midair and found Richards in the slot, and the center rifled his 100th career goal past Kiprusoff. It was just Richards' second goal in the last 11 games. The Flyers spent most of the remainder of the period in the Flames' end.
It marked the 17th time in the last 19 games that the Flyers had scored first. Overall, they had a 24-7-3 record this season when scoring the initial goal.
Defenseman Chris Pronger said playing the Flames after their shake-up had little effect on the Flyers' approach to the game.
"They still have the same system. It's not like they changed coaches," Pronger said after the morning skate. "We can't get caught up in that. We have to focus on how we play."