January 24 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“It would be stretching the truth to say the Flyers’ methodical, 4-1 win over Chicago on Sunday erased the disappointment of their Stanley Cup Finals loss to the Blackhawks in June.
But there was a feeling of satisfaction in the visitors’ locker room at the United Center.
“We obviously didn’t like the way last year ended,” Jeff Carter said after scoring two goals on a new line that produced nine points. “Nothing was said in the room before [the game], but I think each guy individually knew what was going on today, and it was a big two points for us.”
Carter conceded that the six-game loss to the Blackhawks in the Finals had been a “great motivation factor for us. Nothing needed to be said. We all knew what went on.”
Sunday’s victory, in the teams’ first meeting since Game 6, “will never replace what happened in the Finals,” center Danny Briere said, “but it was a big win for our team to keep moving forward.”
Carter, who has 22 goals, was on a line with Claude Giroux and Nik Zherdev. Zherdev was moved to the unit because James van Riemsdyk was sidelined by an apparent groin injury suffered late in Saturday’s loss to New Jersey.
Zherdev (goal, assist, plus-3), Carter (two goals, assist, plus-4), and Giroux (four assists, plus-4) were a combined plus-11.
Forty-nine seconds into the second period, Carter opened the scoring after a wild scramble in front of rookie goalie Corey Crawford.
“That was a weird one,” Carter said. “We missed it about five times, and their ‘D’ made about two saves in the crease, and I don’t know what the goalie was doing. He was kind of down and out, and he just kind of lay there. It was a lucky one, but a good way to get started.”
Zherdev scored on a wraparound 2 minutes, 28 seconds into the third period, and Carter converted a slick Giroux pass to make it 3-0 nearly three minutes later.
Marian Hossa cut the deficit to 3-1 on a penalty shot against Sergei Bobrovsky (30 saves) with 13:11 left.
The Blackhawks, who have lost 10 players from last year’s championship team because of salary-cap woes, nearly narrowed the score to 3-2, but Jonathan Toews fired wide of an open net with 12:14 left.
Scott Hartnell’s empty-net goal iced the win with 52 seconds remaining.
“They are at the top of the league for a reason,” said Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, whose team took advantage of struggling goalie Michael Leighton to win last year’s Cup. Sergei Bobrovsky “was strong in net, and their defense was pretty good.””
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