The Flyers should have played Saturday's game with unwashed uniforms, because they turned the contest into a dirty business during their 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils at the Wells Fargo Center, and it had nothing to do with violating the rules.

It had everything to do with solving their recent scoring funk.

"Pretty much all the goals were not very pretty," Claude Giroux said after the Flyers rediscovered the net following a three-goals-in-three-games stretch that resulted in zero wins. "My goal wasn't pretty, but I'll take it for sure, and anytime you're not scoring like we were, you have to go harder to the net and try to get those dirty goals."

On the Flyers' first four goals - Jeff Carter shot into an empty net with 2 seconds remaining - Giroux, Mike Richards, James van Riemsdyk, and Danny Briere were so close to New Jersey goalie Johan Hedberg they could probably tell what he had for breakfast.

After the game, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said crowding the net was "a point of emphasis" at practice since the 3-0 loss to Boston Wednesday. The point was well taken by the Flyers, and it led to two points in the standings as they try to keep pace with torrid Pittsburgh in the Atlantic Division.

"I thought we were in there [around the net]," Laviolette said. "We had 65 chances at the net and that's why we scored some goals."

The Flyers' power play is another matter. They went 0 for 3 despite a slight shakeup - Carter and Briere switched spots - leaving them with a paltry two goals in their last 41 power-play attempts.

But there was little hand-wringing about the power play Saturday after the Flyers twice came back from one-goal deficits against a club that goes into a defensive shell when it gets a lead.

When it comes to getting down and dirty, the Flyers have the right guy to lead the way in Richards. The Flyers had started slowly in their three previous games and Richards, their captain, made certain that wouldn't happen again by getting the attention of his teammates with some solid hits shortly after the opening face-off.

"When you do that you feel like you're part of the game," Richards said of his physical play. "Especially against them when they play a trap game, and they try to lull you to sleep and capitalize on turnovers."

Richards was the best player on the ice from start to finish. He made it possible for van Riemsdyk to score by creating a little turbulence in front of Hedberg. Even though he got knocked over by Devils defenseman Henrik Tallinder, Richards kept the puck alive. Van Riemsdyk tumbled forward and pushed the puck into the net to give the Flyers a quick answer to Ilya Kovalchuk's early power-play goal.

Early in the third period, Richards tipped in a Chris Pronger drive from just inside the blue line for his 10th goal. It gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead that grew when Briere jammed in a pass from Carter.

The final 1 minute, 23 seconds became precarious for the Flyers after Scott Hartnell went to the penalty box for tripping. The Devils pulled Hedberg, and Patrik Elias made it 4-3 with the two-man advantage. But Kimmo Timonen pushed the puck ahead for Carter, who cinched the win with his empty-net goal.

During a jam-up in front of the Flyers' net before Carter's goal, Richards got away with a high stick that bloodied the mouth of the Devils' Jamie Langenbrunner.

Asked if he thought he'd escaped a penalty, Richards smiled and said: "Not sure. Didn't see what happened."

It turned out to be the final piece of damage Richards did to the Devils.

"Mike's been on his game," Laviolette said. "His line has been excellent. He's been excellent. Especially in times when you've lost a few and you need to get a win, you look for your captain to step up and have a big game."