Jeff Carter scoring two goals off assists from Mike Richards is a fitting way for the Flyers to roll into the Stanley Cup finals.
The two guys have been linked together since they were drafted by the Flyers in the first round in 2003. Carter and Richards. Richards and Carter.
So last night, a little more than a minute after Arron Asham scored to give the Flyers a 2-1, second-period lead, Richards and Carter hooked up for another important goal. This one ended up being the game-winner.
Carter, in his second game back from a broken foot, scored after a tic-tac-toe sequence in which - oddly enough - he was toe. He took a feed from Richards, who was stationed behind the net, and pushed the puck past Jaroslav Halak for his first goal since April 20.
Then, for good measure, he added an empty-netter in the third period. Three guesses on who set that one up as well.
"This is what we've worked for," Carter said. He wasn't just talking about last night.
They won a Calder Cup together with the Phantoms in 2005 before beginning their NHL careers in earnest. Richards has emerged as the gnarly captain, Carter as the sniper. A 21st century Clarke and Barber, if you will, providing they can get four more wins in the next 2 weeks.
"We've worked for this for 5 years," Carter continued. "It's [been] a long time, but it was nice to put the last one in. Obviously, a great effort by Richie just to get down there and give us a chance; but definitely a good feeling when we heard the crowd erupt."
Moments after Carter jumped into Richards' arms following the empty-netter, the two sat together on a podium answering questions about carrying the Flyers to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1997. They were 12 years old.
They talked about the adversity of going through musical goaltenders, the coaching change, the comeback against Boston. Carter, who played alongside Richards and Simon Gagne again last night, was asked to sum up his thoughts on it all.
"Yeah, strange is, I guess, a good word," he said. "It's obviously good to play with Richie and Gags makes it easier for myself. I feel like every day I've gotten better. And the last two games I think our line has really built [momentum]. I thought we were pretty solid today, so hopefully we can just keep going."