(Philadelphia, PA) – Jeff Carter scored the game-tying goal with a minute left in regulation, but it was his defense and assist in overtime that proved to be the difference as the Flyers defeated the Coyotes 4-3 in overtime at the Wachovia Center on Saturday.
After killing off a late third period penalty that stretched into a 4-on-3 man advantage for Phoenix in overtime, Carter stole and fed the puck to a cutting Mike Richards who drove the length of the ice and fired a shot that beat Coyotes’ goaltender Mikael Tellqvist for the game-winner.
“The end of the third period into overtime he was lugging the puck, he was confident, he wanted the puck,” commented Flyers coach John Stevens on the play of Carter. “You almost have this feeling, I know it’s easy to say now, but you get that thing killed off, you are going down and score just because Jeff had that look in his eye where somehow we are going to win the hockey game."
With the victory, the Flyers ran their winning streak to four straight games and are 5-0-1 in their last six contests. Philadelphia also improves its mark to 9-6-4 and with 22 points moves into a tie for third place in the Atlantic Division with the New Jersey Devils.
Facing a 3-2 deficit late in the third period after a fluky goal from former Flyer Todd Fedoruk, the Flyers pulled goaltender Martin Biron for the extra attacker and the gamble paid off as Carter tallied his 14th goal of the year to force the extra session.
“He’s [Mikael Tellqvist] such a big goalie, it’s hard to find some holes on him,” said Carter. “I wasn’t really getting too many good shots. A lot of them were on the ice. I wasn’t getting them up, but he was kicking them up pretty good and we were able to put it in the corner on the rebounds.”
Carter did not register a shot on goal through the first two periods, however dominated the action in the third period and overtime by recording seven shots and creating the last eight scoring chances for the Flyers.
“The thing that is so exciting for me, in terms of Jeff, is that he is doing all this scoring but not giving up any of his defensive responsibilities,” added Stevens on Carter. “He is playing against top lines every night. He has big checking assignments every night. He kills penalties, he plays big minutes and he is still putting up all kinds of numbers. He is really rounding himself into one of the better two-way players in the league.”
Biron earned his third straight win by turning aside 25 of 28 shots including several chances by the Coyotes, who had three power plays late in the third period, which included a partial one in overtime.
“We battled extremely hard, especially at killing penalties and that was where we gained some momentum tonight,” said Biron. “I think we did that a few times in the game, and battled extremely hard to tie it up late. When you’re down after two, it’s a hard game to win. Then you tie it up, then you’re down again, and usually you need to show some poise and battle to come back and win the game.”
Scott Hartnell kicked off the night for the Flyers with his sixth goal of the year, but Phoenix tied it up with an unassisted goal from Daniel Carcillo with just over a minute remaining in the first period.
The score remained tied for most of the second period, however a late goal from Martin Hanzel gave the Coyotes a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.
Mike Knuble recorded a power-play goal five minutes into the third frame to knot the score back up at 2-2. Kimmo Timonen fired the original shot from the blueline after receiving a pass from Simon Gagne.
The Flyers will take on another opponent from the Western Conference when they face off against the Dallas Stars at the Wachovia Center on Monday (7 p.m. ET, CSN-HD).
This was the Flyers first win over an opponent from the Western Conference, and the first win over the Coyotes since December 5, 2003… The win also marks the first loss by the Coyotes when they are leading after the second period… Biron is 4-0-1 in his last five games, posting a 1.76 goals-against average and .944 save percentage during that stretch... Philadelphia is unbeaten in regulation in the second half of back-to-back games, going 3-0-1 on the year… Gagne extended his point streak to seven games and has now recorded at least a point in 16 of 18 games he has played this season.
- - -
1 - 0 PHI
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 PHX
2 - 2 Tie
3 - 2 PHX