ATLANTA – Jeff Carter and the Philadelphia Flyers continue to enjoy playing the Atlanta Thrashers.
The Flyers scored four goals in the second period, including two by Carter within a span of 13 seconds, and Philadelphia beat the Thrashers 4-1 on Tuesday night to continue their domination of the all-time series.
It was the Flyers’ eighth straight win over the Thrashers. The Flyers are 12-2-1 all-time at Atlanta and overall have won 23 of 30 games in the series, including two games this season.
“When you have a team’s number, it gives you confidence,” said Scott Hartnell, who had a goal and two assists in the Flyers’ big second period. “You play with that confidence on the ice. This is no different.”
The Thrashers haven’t won consecutive games since Dec. 22-23.
“We didn’t show up. That’s the bottom line,” said Thrashers captain Bobby Holik. “We play good in one game and don’t play good the next.
“It’s the attitude, it’s the approach. It has nothing to do with the schedule. It’s the frame of mind. We know the reason, but we first have to solve it internally.”
Carter said the Flyers focused on Atlanta’s stars.
“We definitely know they have some great players,” Carter said. “We key on those guys. That turns into turnovers.”
Ilya Kovalchuk scored a first-period goal but was one of three Atlanta players with three giveaways.
The Thrashers were optimistic after Marian Hossa’s two goals in a 5-2 win over Buffalo on Sunday. Momentum from that win lasted only one period against the Flyers.
“We cannot take the next step,” said goalie Johan Hedberg. “It’s really hard right now. … We cannot come in and play one night and not the next.”
The Thrashers led 1-0 on Kovalchuk’s league-leading 35th goal before the Flyers took control.
Hartnell set up the Flyers’ first goal, by Steve Downie, only 32 seconds into the second period.
Carter scored at the end of a power play to give Philadelphia a 2-1 lead 13:42 into the period. Then, at the 13:55 mark, Carter scored again on a wrister from the top of the right circle.
“The first one was a great play by Hartnell,” Carter said of the assist. “The second one, it was off the faceoff, and I got a good shot.”
Carter, who had a goal and an assist in a 4-0 win over the Thrashers on Oct. 16 in Philadelphia, has seven goals and four assists in 10 career games against Atlanta.
Hartnell added the 100th goal of his career with one second left in the period for a 4-1 lead. Hartnell’s short-handed goal came off a pass from James Dowd.
“After the first period we were down and we knew we had to get something going,” Hartnell said. “We wanted to win the second. Our guys were shooting the puck.”
The Flyers are 4-1 on their six-game road trip which ends Thursday against the New York Rangers.
Antero Niittymaki shut out the Thrashers the rest of the way, stopping 27 shots to win the battle of backup goalies.
Atlanta’s Johan Hedberg started his second straight home game ahead of Kari Lehtonen after making a season-high 37 saves in a 5-2 win over Buffalo on Sunday. Hedberg made 25 stops but couldn’t overcome the Flyers’ second-period scoring outburst.
Niittymaki started ahead of Flyers regular Martin Biron, who shut out Atlanta 4-0 on Oct. 16 at Philadelphia. Niittymaki stopped 54 of 56 shots in a 3-2 win at Toronto on Saturday, but his 6-0-0 career record and 1.68 goals against average against Atlanta may have played the larger role in his start.
Notes: Flyers F Sami Kapanen was held out after needing about 25 stitches to close cuts on his face after Saturday’s game at Toronto. He also needed dental work after he was hit in the face by a deflected puck. … Carter’s only other two-goal game of the season was Dec. 22 against Buffalo. … Atlanta’s last win over the Flyers was on Nov. 18, 2005 in Philadelphia.