Carter’s big game helps Flyers sting Jackets 5-3

PHILADELPHIA- The are in the midst of the most important stretch of their season. They need to go at least 4-2 in this six-game homestand to even have a chance of making an impact in this playoff race. Because of Jeff Carter’s two goals, one being a drop-of a-puck surprise wrister, beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3 at the Wachovia Center. The Flyers took game one of this homestand and did it rather convincingly.

At this very moment, Columbus starting goalie last night Martin Garon still has no explanation on how the Carter shot went through him. Directly off the faceoff at 11:32, took a shot off the right circle when the ref dropped the puck and it sailed past Garon, he had no time to react.

That was Carter’s second goal of the night and the winning one, giving the Flyers a 3-2 lead. Carter had a few chances to net the hat-trick on orange-hat giveaway night; however, it didn’t come to fruition. Moreover, Carter now leads the team in points (42) and game-winning goals (5).

“I don’t do it every game but it’s something to try and catch them off-guard a little bit,” said Carter about his second goal off the faceoff. “I came close and hit the goalies in the pads but never scored on it.”

“It’s a heads-up play by him, trying different things,” said captain Mike Richards. “He’s a smart player with quick hands on his shot. A nice goal. A big goal.”

Carter’s first period breakaway goal just 58 seconds into the game put the Flyers in the early lead 1-0. The goal was a pretty backhand that he roofed over Garon. Coach Peter Laviolette went into tonight’s game with different lines. One of those lines seen Claude Giroux paired with James van Riemsdyk and Arron Asham.

That line came through for Laviolette’s club. Asham took advantage of a beautiful side-board pass from Giroux to make it 2-0 Flyers. It was a crossing pass that all Asham had to do was bury the shot with a wide-open net.

Just under two minutes following Asham’s goal, former Flyer favorite R.J. Umberger made it 2-1 when he snuck a rebound past Ray Emery.

Umberger tied it up with his second goal at 10:04 when he pounced on a rebound and put it past Emery. It began to look shaky for Philadelphia.

Carter’s quick shot off the faceoff put the Flyers ahead 3-2 and that goal bailed them out of what would’ve been another nail biter.

Chris Pronger added a goal after joining the rush on the power-play when Danny Briere found Pronger sitting alone back-door on the left post for an easy tap-in to go up 4-2.

“We go back-door sometimes,” Pronger said. “Sometimes, we’re off to the side. It depends on what the defense is giving you. I’ve done it a few times, but it was the first time I’ve been able to connect.”

Dan Carcillo finished Columbus off when he added his fifth of the season with a wrist-shot that went top-shelf past Garon. That was it for Garon’s night as he was pulled for disappointing sophomore Steve Mason.

Rick Nash would add a goal to make it 5-3 on a deflection up front that the Philadelphia crowd thought Umberger redirected for his hat-trick. Hundreds of orange-hats filled covered the Wachovia Center ice until PA announcer Lou Nolan provided the important news that Umberger did not in fact score the goal.

“That just goes to show you how the fans of Philadelphia are, they appreciate hard-working players,” said Richards. “RJ (Umberger) was a hard-worker player who brought it everyday and the fans seen that and appreciate it.”

Carter just missed his hat-trick late in the third when he rang a seething wrister off the top-right post.

The Flyers had about a 10 minute coma where things went array. But they quickly regrouped and made it happen. The Flyers will faceoff against the New York Rangers tomorrow at the Wachovia Center.

My view on the ongoing Richards comments phenomenon:

Let the guy play and focus on bringing this team out of the basement and into a decent playoff run. Stop worrying about what he says off the ice in a magazine that nobody reads, and continue to focus on his performance on the ice. That’s all that matters in sports and especially here in Philadelphia, results.

It’s been a tough season so far for not just him, but for the team. He isn’t Pronger, so stop comparing him to him. That’s what I don’t get about all this. Richards is the captain on the ice where Pronger is the captain off the ice. It works both ways. I wish people would focus their views about on-ice results more than off-ice comments that could have been misinterpreted. Who knows, all speculation at this point on whether what Richards said were his words or the hockey news mis-quoting him.

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