Slapped silly in Philly

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:21 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- It was going to take more than Hanson Brothers bloodlines to strike fear into the Philadelphia Flyers last night at the Wachovia Center.

Especially when there was barely a breath of fight from the opposition.

Still smarting from a 3-2 loss to the Maple Leafs two nights earlier, the Flyers opened up a 6-0 lead early then cruised to an 8-5 win in the back half of a home-and-home with Toronto.

"We had too many guys who mailed it in," a disgusted Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "We went out and didn't want to compete. We knew they would be coming at us hard and we had guys who didn't want the puck in that situation."

Flyers leading scorer Jeff Carter led the way with the first hat trick of his NHL career as his team seemed to skate and shoot at will in the Toronto zone. Just 9:02 into the game and after nine shots on net, the Leafs were down 3-0 and starting goaltender Martin Gerber got the hook.

When Curtis Joseph surrendered two more by the end of the period, Gerber got his job back for the rest of the night. Not that the effort improved in front of him.

"We gave them more time and space than usual," was Gerber's polite analysis. "Against a team like that ... they know how to put the puck in the net.

"You feel like you are playing soccer out there. The net just gets bigger and bigger."

The eight goals matched a season high against the Leafs.

The loss spoiled the debut of recent Leafs signee Christian Hanson, whose proud father Dave of Hanson Brothers fame, was part of the sellout crowd.

The Flyers big guns woke from their recent slumber -- and a public calling out by general manager Paul Holmgren. Besides Carter's three, to give him 44, Simon Gagne, Scotty Hartnell, Randy Jones, Claude Giroux and Daniel Briere each scored.

"Losing to (the Leafs) the other night was a wakeup call for us," said Briere, who added three assists. "Maybe we can use it as some momentum as we head into the playoffs."

The showstopper was Carter's first, a breakaway in which he split free through a gaping hole in the Toronto defence and beat Joseph high with a sharp backhand.

While the offence was impressive, the Flyers didn't get playoff-calibre goaltending from Martin Biron, who helped let the Leafs back into it.

After being staked to a 6-0 lead 6:48 into the second, the Flyers briefly made it interesting. It started with a power-play goal from Luke Schenn at 16:05, a non-threatening wrist shot from the point. By the end of the period, the Leafs had cut the lead in half with goals by Boyd Devereaux and Mikhail Grabovski.

Jamal Mayers and Nikolai Kulemin rounded out the Leafs scoring.

"Obviously we had guys who weren't ready," Mayers said. "It's easy to play when you are down 5-0 and out of the playoffs."

ROB.LONGLEY@SUNMEDIA.CA

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REPLAY

LUCKY LUKE

Maple Leafs rookie defenceman Luke Schenn had a tough night on the blue line, but at least he can take something away from the miserable 8-5 loss. The 19-year-old scored his second goal of his career on a second-period power play. What appeared to be a non-threatening wrist shot from the point somehow beat Flyers goalie Marty Biron.

FIGHT NIGHT

Moments after he let Flyers centre Jeff Carter slip up the middle for an easy breakaway goal to give Philly a 5-0 lead, Schenn was schooled in another way, getting the worst of a brief scrap with Flyers forward Scotty Hartnell.

Less than a minute later, Leafs tough guy Jamal Mayers evened the score taking a close decision over the Flyers' Andrew Alberts.


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