Flyers blow out Capitals, win fifth straight at home

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- From feisty goals to finesse ones, Jeff
Carter showed he can do it all.

Carter, Simon Gagne and Jon Sim each scored twice, leading the
Philadelphia Flyers to an 8-1 victory over the Washington Capitals
on Thursday night.

"I was disappointed with the way I started the season," said
Carter, a former first-round pick who helped the AHL's Philadelphia
Phantoms win the Calder Cup last spring. "I've started to come
around the last four, five games. I have more confidence and things
are going my way."

Mike Knuble and Peter Forsberg also scored and Robert Esche had
29 saves for the Flyers, who have won three of their last four
games and five straight at home.

"We're starting to gain an identity and confidence," Flyers
coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We're starting to build. You can hear
it in the banter on the bench."

Chris Clark had the only goal for struggling Washington, which
has lost six of eight. The Capitals haven't won in Philadelphia
since 1998, going 0-14-1 in that span.

"It was playing against bigger, stronger players," Capitals
coach Glen Hanlon said. "We're young men. They're big men. It
wasn't a lack of effort. It wasn't a lack of execution."

The Flyers, already missing captain Keith Primeau because of a
concussion, lost defenseman Eric Desjardins to a concussion. He'll
be evaluated Friday.

Carter gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead with a hard-fought goal in the
first period. Carter went strong to the net after his slap shot was
stopped, outmuscled defenseman Mike Green and backhanded the
rebound into the top corner over goalie Brent Johnson.

Carter made some nifty moves to score on a short-handed
breakaway in the final minute of the first to give the Flyers a 3-1

He stripped the puck from Alexander Ovechkin, went around
defenseman Jamie Heward, skated down the left side, deked
defenseman Steve Eminger and beat Johnson for his fourth goal and
first multigoal game in the NHL.

"It's always nice to score goals and help the team win,"
Carter said. "We have a lot of talented players on the team and a
lot of guys who can put the puck in the net. We can't be letting up
on anybody."

The Capitals took a 1-0 lead on Clark's goal 3:40 into the game.
But the Flyers scored the next eight.

"The Flyers are a great team," Heward said. "It seems like
every time we made a mistake, they scored."

Sim knocked a rebound past Johnson to tie it at 1. Gagne scored
twice in the second period to put it out of reach.

Gagne has 12 goals in 11 games. It took until the 57th game for
him to score his 12th in the 2003-04 season, and he finished with
24. His career best is 33 in 2001-02.

Forsberg, who came in tied for the league lead with 17 assists,
assisted on both of Gagne's goals. From behind the net, Forsberg
fed a pass to Gagne for a power-play goal that made it 6-1.

"I'm enjoying playing the game again," Gagne said. "I'm
having fun, getting chances every night and it's certainly fun
playing next to a player like Peter."

Game notes
With Primeau sidelined for the second straight game, the
Flyers used three rookie centers -- Carter, Mike Richards and R.J.
Umberger. ... The Flyers outshot Washington 28-8 during one
stretch. ... The Capitals are 0-8 when allowing three or more
goals. ... Philadelphia defenseman Kim Johnsson sat out with a
groin injury. ... Forsberg has eight multipoint games this season.
... The Flyers have 10 power-play goals in the last four games
after getting eight in the first seven.