Jeff Carter was traded by the Flyers in June 2011, but it’s taken until tonight for him to return as an opponent to the Wells Fargo Center.
Carter, now in his third season with the Los Angeles Kings, missed a November 2011 game in Philadelphia while with the Blue Jackets because of a broken foot. Tonight marks the first time both he and Mike Richards, both of whom won a Stanley Cup with LA in 2012, return to Philly together as Flyers’ opponents. Richards played here with the Kings during the 2011 season.
“It’s exciting,” Carter said after today’s morning’s skate. “We had six good years here. (I) obviously loved playing here, had a lot of fun. I’m just looking forward to getting out there tonight.”
As far as tonight’s fan reception, Carter said he anticipates getting booed.
“Everybody that goes back to their old team seems like they’re getting a nice little reception,” he said. “It doesn’t really bother me. Go out and play the game.”
Carter has 45 points on 24 goals this season for the Kings (40-25-6), who arrived in town on a two-game winning streak. Richards, who did not speak to reporters after today’s skate, has 40 points but only 10 goals.
The Flyers (38-25-7) enter tonight’s game on a five-game winning streak.
“It’s kind of weird how it all worked out; taken a while (to get back here),” Carter said. “This is a huge game for both teams. We both need the points right now so it should be a good one.”
Scott Hartnell is one of only four current Flyers who played with Carter and Richards in Philadelphia, Claude Giroux, Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn being the others. Hartnell said he briefly got a chance to catch up with his two former teammates on Sunday.
“It’s always nice to kind of catch up with old friends that you played with, that you know from back home, things like that,” he said. “You’re friends this morning and yesterday but I’m sure in the corner, the pucks there, it’s going to be a battle.”
“I’m sure they’ll be some laughs, some jokes thrown their way and our way, especially me,” he added. “It will be a fun game.”
Almost three years after his teammates were shipped off on the same day, Hartnell was asked to evaluate the trade from the Flyers’ perspective.
“I don’t think you’re ever going to replace guys like Richie and Carts, what they bring to the dressing room, on the ice every night. Obviously they won a Cup together; they were big parts when they won a couple years ago,” Hartnell said. “But you look at the young guys we got: Jake (Voracek) and obviously (Wayne Simmonds), Brayden Schenn, (Sean) Couturier. To replace two top guys with four top guys, I’m sure everyone was wondering what (general manager Paul) Holmgren was doing probably a couple years ago but I think it’s turned out good for us. They’ve played their hearts out for us. That’s all you can ask for.”
Emery tabbed to start
For the second time in four games, Ray Emery gets the start in net tonight for the Flyers.
“Just his turn,” Flyers coach Craig Berube said.
Emery, 8-9-1 with a 2.96 goals against average in 23 games this season, saved 23 of 25 shots in last Tuesday’s big 3-2 overtime win over the Blackhawks.
Steve Mason had started 10 of the last 11 games before tonight. Mason is 30-16-6 this season with a 2.53 goals against average and .916 save percentage.
“We have two goalies,” Berube said. “We’ve used them all year and we’ll continue.”
In five career games against the Kings, Emery is 2-0-1 with a 1.34 goals against average.
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