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Jeff Carter nets two goals, lifts Flyers to 4-1 win over Leafs

PHILADELPHIA - Martin Biron sure does appreciate high-scoring teammate Jeff Carter.

Carter scored twice in the third period to take the NHL lead with 29 goals and lifted the Philadelphia Flyers to their season-high eighth straight home win, 4-1 over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

"Whenever he (Carter) touches the puck, you know he's going to get a scoring chance or he's going to create something," said Biron, who stopped 41 shots.

Mike Richards and Andrew Alberts also scored for Philadelphia, enjoying its best spurt at home since winning nine in a row during the 2005-06 season.

Biron said he was confident that Carter would create something in the third period when the score was tied 1-1.

"Jeff has a great shot and a great reach," the Flyers goalie said. "He comes in with so much speed. He's a good skater and comes in so quick it's tough for a goalie to cover that much ground in that short amount of time."

Carter skated in from the blue-line and went forehand to backhand to put the puck high over the stick side of goalie Vesa Toskala during a power play, breaking a 1-1 tie at 5:59. He added an unassisted goal with 1:48 left.

The Flyers are 12-0-2 in their last 14 home games and haven't lost in Philadelphia in regulation since falling to Tampa Bay on Nov. 8.

Alexei Ponikarovsky scored for the Maple Leafs, who have lost three straight and four of five.

Alberts scored his second NHL goal and first with the Flyers at 11:01 of the third with a wrist shot from the circle. His goal snapped the longest scoreless streak by an active NHL player - 163 games dating back to March 12, 2006, when he played for Buffalo.

Alberts' first career goal came against Biron.

"It was short-handed off a pass from Glen Murray," Alberts explained. "I joke with Biron about it every now and again. The guys were kind of hassling me in the locker room, so it's good to get it over with."

Biron, 7-1-2 in his last 10 starts, stopped Jason Blake's wrist shot from the crease during a second-period power play. He made another nice glove save on Blake a few minutes later.

"I thought we outplayed them for most of the night," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "But at the end of the game, their goalie (Biron) was the difference. He made saves when we had them under siege for multiple shifts. We couldn't find a way to crack him."

Toskala, who has started 36 of Toronto's 42 games this season, stopped 26 shots. He made brilliant saves on back-to-back short-handed breakaway attempts by Carter late in the first period. He also denied Richards and Simon Gagne on short-handed breakaways in the second period.

"We had a lot of shots, but we just couldn't put the puck in the net today," Toskala said.

Richards, who scored both goals in the Flyers' 4-2 loss at Toronto on Nov. 29, put Philadelphia ahead at 6:41 of the first, poking the puck in from left of the net on a power play. Gagne set the play up with a perfect pass from the circle.

Richards has recorded at least a point in nine of 10 home games (six goals, nine assists).

"We find ways to win at home," Richards said. "We feed off the crowd's energy. Tonight, I don't think we played our best hockey."

Ponikarovsky pulled the Maple Leafs even 41 seconds into the third period. He took a pass from Matt Stajan with his back to the net in the goalmouth and shovelled in the puck between his legs.

Notes: Toronto C Mikhail Grabovski served the first of a three-game NHL suspension for shoving official Scott Cherrey during a game Thursday in Montreal. ... Philadelphia C Glen Metropolit played in his 300th NHL game. Toronto D Ian White appeared in his 200th, all with the Maple Leafs. ... Philadelphia has outscored opponents 40-20 during its home streak.


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