The Pittsburgh Penguins had a chance to clinch a shocking playoff berth on Wednesday night. However, it wasn't meant to be. Pittsburgh was eliminated on Tuesday, meaning their contest against the New York Islanders was the final game of the 2023-24 season. For Jeff Carter, it became the final game of his career.

Carter announced his retirement from hockey before Wednesday night's finale. Against the Islanders, the veteran made an impact. The Penguins fell to New York 5-4, but Carter scored a goal in the game. In fact, his goal brought Pittsburgh level in the third period before Simon Holmstrom scored the game-winner later on.

Carter was visibly emotional after the game. His Penguins teammates congratulated him as he took in the moment. At that time, Islanders players skated over to extend a classy gesture to the retiring veteran forward.

Jeff Carter speaks on final game

Pittsburgh Penguins center Jeff Carter (77) celebrates his goal against the New York Islanders during the second period at UBS Arena.
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Carter faced the media following his final game against the Islanders. The Penguins veteran said he and his family planned to remain in the Pittsburgh area. As for what comes next, Carter was rather straightforward. He plans to spend time being a dad and being around his family.

“I'm going to be a dad. You miss a lot being a hockey player – you're in and out in a way… My family sacrificed a lot for me to live out my dream. I'm going to be home and be a dad and then figure it out from there,” Carter said, per the Penguins on social media.

Carter's goal on Wednesday came on the power play. Star defenseman Erik Karlsson kept the puck in the zone after the Islanders attempted to clear. It went to the right side, where Sidney Crosby unleashed a shot. The shot went off Carter's stick and into the goal.

“That was really nice. When Sully put me out there, I knew I wasn't leaving the net… Pretty special moment to get one there at the end. Something I'll remember, for sure,” Carter said of the goal when speaking with the media.

Jeff Carter ends career with Penguins

Jeff Carter had a remarkable career in the NHL. The retiring forward debuted during the 2005-06 season with the Philadelphia Flyers. He had a respectable rookie season, as well. He scored 23 goals and 42 points for Philadelphia following the 2004-05 NHL lockout.

His breakout campaign came in 2008-09. That year, he scored a career-high 46 goals and 84 points for the Flyers. Philadelphia made the Stanley Cup Playoffs that season, but they bowed out in the first round. In 2011, Carter was traded for the first time. Philadelphia sent him to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Jakub Voracek, a first-round pick, and a third-round pick.

The veteran forward was not long for Columbus, though. In fact, he played just 39 games with the Blue Jackets before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings. With the Kings, Carter became an integral piece to two Stanley Cup championship-winning teams. He put up 13 points in 2012 and 25 points in 2014 en route to those two championships.

Carter remained a solid contributor for the Kings until 2021 when he was traded to the Penguins. He experienced a bit of a resurgence in 2021-22, scoring 45 points in 76 games. However, his production declined after that. In his final season, the veteran scored 11 goals and 15 points.

Overall, Jeff Carter played parts of 19 seasons in the NHL. He skated in 1320 regular season contests, scoring 441 goals and 850 points. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, he added 47 goals and 84 points in 132 games. And, as evidenced by the gesture from the Islanders on Wednesday, he hangs up his skates with the respect of the players he went to war against across nearly two decades.