For Flyers, an upbeat start to homestand

    The Flyers, rebounding from losses in Toronto and Washington, started a six-game homestand with a methodical 5-3 win over Columbus Tuesday.
    Jeff Carter scored two goals, collected an assist and won 78 percent of his faceoffs to lead the victory.
    Columbus was playing on back-to-back nights and faded after getting within 2-2 on a pair of second-period goals by former Flyer R.J. Umberger.
    More than 100 fans, thinking Umberger had tipped in a shot with 1:17 left in the game and scored a hat trick, tossed Orange Crush baseball caps onto the ice.
     It was a classy move, the fans showing their respect for Umberger, who scored 10 goals in the 2008 post-season and led the Flyers into the conference finals.
    But, alas, it was actually Rick Nash _ who, like Umberger, was also stationed in front _ who tipped in the shot and was credited with the goal.
    Goalie Ray Emery was shaky on two of the three goals he allowed _ both on rebounds he couldn’t control _ but made 25 saves in his first win since Nov. 16. He was making his second straight start after being sidelined since Dec. 5.
    Carter has shown vast improvement on his faceoffs, winning 51.9 percent of his draws this season, compared to 48.3 percent last year.
    The 6-foot-3 center snapped a 2-2 tie when he scored on a faceoff, firing the draw past a startled goalie Mathieu Garon with 8:29 left in the middle period.
    Carter said he had tried the faceoff shot before, but this was the first time in his career he had scored on it.
    “The third goal was the difference,” said Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock, the former Flyers coach. “We came back; we were really playing well and tied it, 2-2. The third goal goes in and took the momentum out of it. I thought the rest of the game, the back-to-back (games played) really showed its head.”
     Claude Giroux, who had been playing right wing on Mike Richards’ line, was moved to center on the third line and he contributed a slick assist _ pirouetting away from a defender near the left wall and making a backhand pass _ on Arron Asham’s goal. Asham quietly has eight points in his last eight games.
    “Claude has always played well in the middle,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “He seems to generate a lot of speed. You saw the way he attacked the ice; he can get off the wall and come with underneath speed.” 
    Chris Pronger, who tapped in a power-play goal in front with 52 seconds left in the second period, and Dan Carcillo (third period) closed the Flyers' scoring on a night when Kimmo Timonen blocked four shots and was plus-2 and Oskars Bartulis was plus-3.

  With the win, the Flyers moved from 11th to ninth in the East. They hope to continue gaining ground during a homestand that includes games against the Rangers, Carolina, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and the Islanders.