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Associated Press
11/24/2006 3:48:57 PM


PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Mike Richards scored his first goal of the season early in the third period Friday, helping the Philadelphia Flyers beat Columbus 3-2 and spoiling former coach Ken Hitchcock's debut with the Blue Jackets.

Richards scored on a tough-angle shot 2:02 into the period as the Flyers overcame a pair of comebacks by the Blue Jackets.

Peter Forsberg and Freddy Meyer added goals for the Flyers, who snapped a club-record six-game home losing streak and stopped a three-game overall skid. Antero Niittymaki finished with 39 saves.

Jason Chimera and Rick Nash scored for the Blue Jackets, whose struggles continued, even with Hitchcock at the helm. Pascal Leclaire stopped 19 shots for Columbus, which tied a franchise record by losing its eighth straight.

The game was a matchup of teams with five wins each, the fewest in the NHL, and the play, at least early on, reflected that stat.

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