Carter, Canucks continue strong East Coast trip with win in Philly

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The best teams in the Eastern Conference
were no match for the Vancouver Canucks.

Anson Carter scored twice in the third period, leading the
Canucks to a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday

Markus Naslund, Trevor Linden and Nolan Baumgartner also scored
for the Northwest Division-leading Canucks, who won their fourth
straight game.

Vancouver beat the New York Rangers and the Flyers -- the two top
teams in the Atlantic Division -- on the road in consecutive games.
They also defeated the NHL-leading Ottawa Senators before going to
New York.

"We want to play well against the East," Carter said. "We
have a lot of pride and we want to show we're one of the top teams
in the West."

Michal Handzus, Kim Johnsson, Mike Knuble and Sami Kapanen
scored for Philadelphia, which had won two in a row.

The injury-depleted Flyers lost three more players when forward
Mike Richards, fellow rookie Jeff Carter and goaltender Robert
Esche left the game.

Philadelphia already is without its leading goal scorer, Simon
Gagne, captain Keith Primeau, defensemen Eric Desjardins and Joni
Pitkanen, and forwards Turner Stevenson and Donald Brashear.

"We just got to suck it up," Kapanen said. "Obviously, it
gets harder and harder when guys are going down. Hopefully, we'll
get some of the guys back pretty soon."

Naslund tied it at 3 when his shot from the side of the net hit
off a defenseman's skate in the crease and went past Esche.

Carter made it 4-3 just 37 seconds later, scoring from in front
after a giveaway.

Several minutes later, Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock pulled Esche
for Antero Niittymaki. It didn't appear Esche was injured at the
time, but Hitchcock said he hurt his groin again. Esche already
missed time with a groin injury this season.

Carter scored on the first shot against Niittymaki to give
Vancouver a 5-3 lead.

"This was a good win for us, a good confidence builder and a
measuring stick," Naslund said.

Kapanen scored during a scramble in front with 1:26 left, but
the Flyers couldn't tie it, despite getting a few chances from in
close after pulling the goalie for an extra skater.

Canucks goalie Alex Auld finished with 39 saves.

"He was a difference-maker in the third period," Canucks coach
Marc Crawford said.

Knuble gave Philadelphia a 3-2 lead on his 14th goal in the
second period. His slap shot from along the right boards hit off
Auld and trickled in.

Johnsson made it 2-1 in the second. Handzus led a 4-on-2 break,
and slid a pass across to Johnsson, who stopped the puck with his
skate and slapped a shot by Auld. Baumgartner tied it at 2 on a
slap shot that hit off Knuble and skipped past Esche.

Handzus followed up his own shot to put the Flyers ahead 1-0.
The Canucks tied it at 1 when Linden's shot through a screen went

"It seemed like every mistake we made went in our net. We
deserved a better fate," Hitchcock said. "We had a ton of things
go right. We outshot them. We outchanced them. We outplayed them,
but they're an opportunistic team and they took advantage of the
mistakes we made. That's what good teams do."

Game notes
Richards' injury initially was called a concussion, but
Hitchcock said that's not definite. Carter needed several stitches
after getting hit in the ear with the puck. The status of both
players and Esche is uncertain. ... Josh Gratton was called up from
Philadelphia's AHL affiliate, becoming the 16th player who played
for the Phantoms since last season to appear with the Flyers this
year. ... Vancouver is 4-0 against the Eastern Conference. ... The
Flyers are 66-27-13 against Vancouver. ... Seventeen of
Philadelphia's 19 home games have been sellouts. ... The start was
pushed back a half-hour when poor weather and traffic forced many
Flyers players to arrive late.