Jeff Carter Gives Kings the Edge over Blackhawks Once Again in Game 3 Win

Mike Milbury asked a question to Keith Jones after the second period Saturday night that many familiar with the career of Jeff Carter probably would admit to have asked at least once.

"Did you ever think you’d see Jeff Carter become the player he is? He was sort of a big, lazy guy in Philadelphia," Milbury said on NBC.

Milbury could have added "in Columbus" too. But everyone has forgotten that Carter ever played for the Blue Jackets. The Los Angeles Kings center did leave a lasting impression on the Chicago Blackhawks as he paced his team's 4-3 victory in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final with a goal and two assists. 

Carter appeared inexorably headed to one of those awful post-big-contract pro careers that have claimed so many. He signed an 11-year, $58 million contract extension with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010 and posted 36 goals in the ’10-11 season for general manager Paul Holmgren and the Flyers.

But in a shocking summertime deal right before the 2011 draft, Carter was shipped off to Columbus for Jakub Voracek and two draft picks. Then, as longtime Edmonton Journal hockey writer Jim Matheson correctly observed:

Indeed. Somewhere on the way to becoming the next Alexei Yashin or Bobby Holik, Carter decided to become arguably the NHL’s deadliest big-game scorer with the Kings. After the Blue Jackets gave up on him, trading him for Jack Johnson, he scored eight goals and 13 points in 20 games in L.A.’s Stanley Cup run of 2012, and he scored the biggest goal in Saturday’s win over Chicago at the Staples Center. He already matched his 2012 goal output for the Kings, one game after being a ringleader in L.A.’s shocking Game 2 comeback in Chicago.

As Matheson noted, he was a stud for Team Canada in Sochi, too. What happened to that big, lazy guy from Philly?

"He’s changed his game," Jones responded to M...

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