Philadelphia at Atlanta

Carter's second goal halts Flyers' losing skid, wins it in OT


ATLANTA -- Antero Niittymaki is looking forward to his next game against the Atlanta Thrashers.

Jeff Carter scored two goals, including the game winner with 1:02 remaining, as the Philadelphia Flyers snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over Atlanta on Sunday.

It was also Philadelphia goalie Niittymaki's first win since a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Nov. 30, snapping a personal 15-game skid.

"Hopefully we'll play more games against Atlanta," said a happy Niittymaki, who is unbeaten against the Southeast Division leaders, going to 5-0 against the Thrashers in his third season. "Things go pretty well when we play against them."

The Flyers are 16-4-6 against Atlanta, including 8-2-3 at Philips Arena.

Unfortunately for Niittymaki, the Flyers only have two more games left against the Thrashers this season.

"It went pretty well. It was fun to play. I felt pretty good," he said. "I'm one and 15 in my last 16 games now."

The Flyers avoided matching a franchise-record 10 game losing streak, set earlier this season from Dec. 2-27, when Carter scored his sixth goal on a blast from the right circle and over the left-shoulder of Atlanta goalie Kari Lehtonen.

"We've played a lot of close games. We just weren't able to close them out. We talked going into the third period about having a good feeling," Carter said.

"Finally, we got a win. We've been close a lot lately," Flyers captain Peter Forsberg said. "We sat back and let Niittymaki win it for us."

Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk, who has four goals in his last three games, opened the scoring on a shot from the right circle that glanced off Niittymaki's left glove and into the net at 11:21 of the first period. It was Kovalchuk's 27th goal.

"It kind of slipped in," Niittymaki said. "I saw it coming. It hit the side of my glove."

The Flyers tied it at 11:43 of the second period as Carter beat Lehtonen from in close on a power play. Geoff Sanderson and Kyle Calder drew assists on Carter's fifth goal.

The Thrashers failed to capitalize on power plays, going 0-for-6, including a two-man advantage for nearly two minutes early in the second period. The Flyers were 1-for-2 with the man-advantage.

"Same old story. Special teams killed us again," Atlanta's Scott Mellanby said. "They had a power-play goal and we didn't score on a power play. We were 5-on-3 for almost two minutes. It's just frustrating."


  • Commissioner Gary Bettman was at the game to unveil the logo for next year's All-Star Game in Atlanta at Philips Arena.
  • The Thrashers had their fifth sellout (18,598) of the season.
  • Atlanta is 4-1 in nationally televised games this season.
  • The game was the third of six in a row at home for the Thrashers.
  • The Flyers won the only other game between the two teams this season, a 3-2 overtime win at Philadelphia on Oct. 26.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
It's easy to smile when you win: Jeff Carter receives props after scoring with 1:02 left in overtime.  (AP)
It's easy to smile when you win: Jeff Carter receives props after scoring with 1:02 left in overtime. (AP)
Philadelphia  (12-32-5) «0112
Atlanta (28-16-8)1001
Three Stars
J. Carter

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
A. Niittymaki

Saves: 37
Save Pct.: .974
K. Lehtonen

Saves: 21
Save Pct.: .913

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Scoring Summary
11:21Ilya Kovalchuk (27), Wrist Shot - Assists: Steve Rucchin, Greg de Vries
11:43Power Play - Jeff Carter (5), Wrist Shot - Assists: Geoff Sanderson, Kyle Calder
18:58Jeff Carter (6), Slap Shot - Assists: Mike Richards, R.J. Umberger
Penalty Summary
12:39Knuble: Hooking - 2 min.
16:20Hatcher: Roughing - 2 min.
19:56Richards: Tripping - 2 min.
00:04Hatcher: Delaying Game - 2 min.
09:47Vigier: Interference - 2 min.
12:53Forsberg: Hooking - 2 min.
12:53Forsberg: Unsportsmanlike Conduct - 2 min.
04:19Slater: Holding - 2 min.
Antero Niittymaki59:53371
Kari Lehtonen59:11212
Game Information
Attendance - 18598
Referees - Chris Rooney, Ian Walsh
Linesmen - Thor Nelson, Tony Sericolo
Other Games
Cal 3 Final
Chi 4
Dal 1 Final
Ana 4
Colo 1 Final
Det 3
SJ 1 Final
Van 3