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Carter leads Flyers past Blue Jackets

by John McGourty

PHILADELPHIA -- Jeff Carter was humble. Scott Howson thinks he might have seen it once before, maybe. Samuel Pahlsson was amazed -- and Ken Hitchcock was livid.

All four men were talking about Carter's second-period faceoff goal against Pahlsson, one that left Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Mathieu Garon wondering where the puck went.

"Five-hole, maybe?" Garon asked after the Flyers' 5-3 win over the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. For the record, it beat him to the far side.

Carter scored a pair of unassisted goals and Ray Emery made 25 saves to help the Flyers end a two-game losing streak that had dropped them out of an Eastern Conference playoff position. Arron Asham, Chris Pronger and Danny Carcillo also scored for Philadelphia. Former Flyer R.J. Umberger had a pair of goals for Columbus.

The Flyers, who have scored first in 12 of their past 13 games, jumped on the Blue Jackets 58 seconds into the game when Carter scored unassisted. Scott Hartnell dumped the puck into the Columbus zone from center ice. Marc Methot fumbled the puck and Carter pushed it past him. With Jan Hejda chasing, Carter beat Garon and put the puck into the upper right corner.

The Flyers struck quickly again at the start of the period when Asham's 20-foot shot from the slot eluded Garon. James van Riemsdyk's shot was deflected by Garon toward the left boards. Claude Giroux chased it and fed Asham in the slot for a shot past Garon to make it 2-0 at 2:16.

The goal proved important when Ian Laperriere went off for hooking at 2:29 and the Blue Jackets had several good chances before former Umberger tipped home a rebound of Anton Stralman's shot from the right point for a power-play goal at 4:22 to make it 2-1. Stralman had just missed on a similar shot and Umberger had re-directed a point shot wide before that.

Umberger scored again at 10:04 to tie the game, beating Emery from 10 feet after Flyers center Blair Betts collided with his goaltender and defenseman Matt Carle made a weak clearing attempt.

Shortly after the faceoff, Laperriere and Mathieu Roy fought in center ice, Roy knocking Laperriere down twice.

"You have a two-goal lead like that and you let it slip, you want to bounce back as quickly as possible," Pronger said. "'Lappy' had the good fight there toput the momentum back on our side, kind of get things rolling."

Carter then put the Flyers ahead on one of hockey's rarest plays, scoring right off a faceoff against Pahlsson at 11:31 to put the Flyers up 3-2. It was Carter's 19th goal of the season.

"He fooled me. I didn't think he was going to shoot it," said Pahlsson, the NHL's 18th-best faceoff man with a 53.6 winning percentage. "I thought he might go ahead with it. I didn't see it go in and I don't know if he hit it good or not. It was the first time that's ever happened to me. It's not something you see a lot."

Carter said he'd never scored a goal like that before in his career.

"I've come close a couple of times but I never scored on it before," Carter said. "I just do it. If I feel like doing it, I do it. I like to go to the net and catch him off-guard."

"I might have seen it once, maybe," said Howson, the Jackets' GM. "You?"

Hitchcock said Carter's goal turned the game around.

"The third goal was the difference," Hitchcock said. "We came back and were really playing well, tied 2-2. The third goal goes in, took the momentum out of

it and in the third period I thought the back-to-back (games) really showed its head."

Hitchcock, who formerly coached Carter in Philadelphia, wasn't surprised by the play.

"No, he's done that lots before," Hitchcock said.

Pronger made it 4-2 on a back-door power-play goal at 19:04, six seconds after Derick Brassard went off for hooking Laperriere. Pronger slipped down from the left point and capped a slick passing play by taking a feed from Danny Briere and snapping the puck into the net.

"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."

Though he didn't mention him by name, Hitchcock was seething after the game about a pair of penalties taken by Brassard, one at the end of the second period when Pronger scored and another at the start of the third.

"We hurt ourselves with reaching penalties and turnovers in our own zone," Hitchcock said. "That's what killed us."

Laperriere set up Carcillo for his fifth goal of the season at 9:12 of the third. Carcillo took a pass near the offensive blue line, turned and fired a 50-foot wrist shot

past Garon to make it 5-2. Hitchcock replaced Garon with Steve Mason at that point, but said he wasn't displeased with Garon.

Nash scored a power-play goal with 1:17 remaining when he tipped Stralman's shot off the post and behind Emery.

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