PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia’s Jeff Carter enjoys the added responsibility.
Carter scored his second goal with 1:54 left in the third period and the Flyers defeated Tampa Bay 3-2 to snap a five-year home losing streak against the Lightning.
“I just take it and run with it,” said Carter, a third-year player who has recorded at least a point in four straight games (five goals, two assists). “I’ve never been in such a situation where you’re relied upon so heavily. I kind of like it.”
Carter, who has a career-high 25 goals, has given a big lift to the hurting Flyers. Philadelphia is without key offensive performers such as Simon Gagne, out for the year with a concussion; Mike Richards, out for another two weeks (hamstring), and Joffrey Lupul, day-to-day (high ankle sprain).
“We need people to step up in the absence of some really good players and Jeff has done that,” Flyers coach John Stevens said. “Carts was really a determined individual tonight. He just seems to be the guy you want on the ice all the time.”
Tampa Bay had beaten the Flyers eight straight games in Philadelphia. The Flyers’ last win over the Lightning at home was 3-2 on Jan. 18, 2003.
Carter snapped a 2-2 tie when he spun past five Tampa Bay defenders and lofted a wrist shot from just inside the blue-line. The puck sailed high over Lightning goaltender Mike Smith.
“It’s a tough goal, a back breaker with two minutes left,” Smith said. “It went through a lot of bodies and I didn’t really get a good read off of it from the stick. It’s a tough pill to swallow.”
Daniel Briere also scored for the Flyers, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Philadelphia goaltender Martin Biron had 18 saves.
Jussi Jokinen and Michel Ouellet scored for the Lightning, who lost their third straight game and for the eighth time in their last nine games.
“It’s very frustrating not bearing down in the third period,” Tampa Bay defenceman Dan Boyle said. “We had a lot of chances and we just couldn’t capitalize. Instead, we gave up a late goal again.”
Jokinen put the Lightning ahead 1:39 into the first period when he scored from the front of the right post after taking a pass across the crease from Martin St. Louis, who leads the Lightning with 51 assists.
Briere, who returned after missing one game with a strained right shoulder, tied it at 14:51 with a wrist shot from the top of the slot.
Carter put the Flyers ahead 2-1 just 1:49 later with a nifty move. He skated in from the blue line and went forehand to backhand to score unassisted.
Ouellet pulled the Lightning even at 8:18 of the second period when he snapped a wrist shot from the slot on the back end of a give-and-go with Jokinen.
The Lightning managed only two shots on goal in the third period.
“The third period, I’ll take that any night,” said Biron. “They buzzed around in our zone a little bit, but we were able to keep them to the outside and take care of home plate, as John (Stevens) likes to say.”
Notes: RW Sami Kapanen played in his 300th game for Philadelphia. … Tampa LW Jokinen scored his first goal in 10 games. … Lightning D Filip Kuba missed his fourth game (right knee) and is listed as day-to-day. … Philadelphia is 0-for-11 on the power play the last two games.