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Carter Realizing His Potential in Philly

Tuesday, 12.23.2008 / 3:38 PM / 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 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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