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Carter Realizing His Potential in Philly

Tuesday, 12.23.2008 / 3:38 PM ET / News
By Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com
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Carter Realizing His Potential in Philly
Flyers center Jeff Carter is proving to be unstoppable this season.

(Philadelphia, PA) - That quiet confidence that had been percolating within Philadelphia Flyers center Jeff Carter during the early stages of his NHL career is finally beginning to boil over.

After scoring a career-high 29 goals in 82 games in 2008-09, Carter is on the proverbial hot streak through 33 contests this season with a League leading 25.

The white-hot Carter, who is in his fourth season, has tallied 4 goals and 3 assists in his team's last four games (2-1-1) while moving into sixth place in the NHL scoring race with 39 points. Over the past seven games (5-1-1), Carter and linemates Joffrey Lupul and Scott Hartnell have totaled 34 points, with Carter heading the attack with 6 goals and 7 assists.

"It's been going great (with Lupul and Hartnell)," Carter said. "We complement each other really well. 'Loops' is kind of a finesse guy with a lot a lot of speed. Scotty likes to crash and bang down low in front of the net and creates a lot of space for myself and Loops. I always knew that I could score. I think this year I just started to play with a lot of confidence right off the bat, which has kind of helped me. I've been getting some good breaks, some good linemates, and things have been going well."

The space that Lupul and Hartnell have afforded Carter has generated more opportunities this season and, as a result, much success for the 6-foot-3, 219-pound sniper. The London, Ontario native, who ranks third in the League with 147 shots this season, owns a career-high 17 percent shooting efficiency.

Win together, hang together

Not only are Jeff Carter, Joffrey Lupul and Scott Hartnell together on the ice as linemates, but they are neighbors in Olde City, Philadelphia.

"We have a good time," Carter told NHL.com. "There are also about eight of the young guys down there and we live about four blocks from each other. But we have so many games that when we get days off, we're just hanging out at each other's house."

The surrounding area of Olde City is best known for its historic tourist attractions, such as the Betsy Ross House.

"A lot of the guys are into football, so we're usually watching football games during our time off or going out to dinner together," Carter said. "It's nothing too crazy, but just to hang out and have a good time when we're off the ice."

The "Philly Sky Line," which includes Carter, Lupul and Hartnell, has produced 17 of the Flyers 32 goals over the last seven games.

- Mike G. Morreale

Carter ranks third in the League in shooting percentage -- behind Buffalo's Thomas Vanek (20.0) and Boston's Phil Kessel (19.4) -- among players with 100 or more shots. He finished his rookie season in 2005-06 with a 12.2 shooting percentage on 23 goals and 189 shots.

"The fact I'm able to shoot more has definitely helped," Carter said. "Growing up, my dad always taught me you can't score if you don't shoot. So I try to put it on the net every chance I get."

That mentality has given Carter a positive feel for the net.

"'Loops' and I were recently talking about how every time we're out there, we feel we have a chance to score," Carter said. "Whenever I get a look at the net or get a chance to make a play, I'll put it on net or try and find Loops or Scotty, so it's been going well and we've been playing good."

In addition to his linemates, Carter was also encouraged by his quick start to the season. In his first 11 games, Carter posted 9 goals and 3 assists. In his opening 11 games of 2007-08, he had 6 goals and 1 assist.

"I think it was just the way things went at the start of the year," he said. "You know, I've never really been a big starter but I was this season and just kind of kept going. I think it was probably a confidence issue."

Carter's four shorthanded goals put him in a three-way tie with teammates Simon Gagne and captain Mike Richards for the League lead and he's also tied with four other players for the NHL lead in game-winning goals with five.

He admits the team's incredible success while a man short has surprised even him. While the Flyers remain far short of the NHL record for shorthanded goals in a season, which was established by the 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers (36), their 13 shorthanded goals this season currently lead the League.
The line of Joffrey Lupul, Jeff Carter and Scott Hartnell has helped lead the Flyers to a 14-2-4 record in their last 20 games as of December 23. (Getty Images)

"I think (assistant coach Craig Berube) has us playing a real pressure style on the penalty-kill," Carter said. "Whenever we get a chance, we have the free rein to take off and see what happens. It's been going well. We've been preparing for our chances, and hopefully we'll keep it going."

But is it risky?

"I think you have to be cautious when to go and when to stick back," Carter said. "You need to know who's on the ice, too. We can't really be taking off when you've got guys like (Sidney) Crosby, (Evgeni) Malkin, and (Alex) Ovechkin out there. You've got to be aware of what's going on. I mean, if you play the right way, I don't think there's too much risk."

Carter, who turns 24 on New Year's Day, was the 11th player selected in the 2003 Entry Draft. He was the first of two key Philadelphia selections in the first round that year, including Richards at 24th overall.

"Mike (Richards) and me have a great relationship because we've played all our hockey together since the Ontario Hockey League days," Carter said. "He's been a lot of fun to play with and he's been a great leader for us."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
12 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 77 29 42 6 201 245 64
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 76 21 55 7 76
C. Giroux 75 23 46 2 69
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
M. Streit 75 9 36 -10 45
B. Schenn 76 14 25 -7 39
S. Couturier 76 13 17 1 30
M. Del Zotto 58 9 20 -5 29
M. Read 74 7 22 -7 29
M. Raffl 61 20 6 7 26
V. Lecavalier 52 7 11 -10 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 15 17 11 .927 2.24
R. Emery 10 10 6 .892 3.15
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