"He's an experienced forward who comes in and gives us a lot of different options on how to use him," coach Peter Laviolette said before the game. "He's a smart defensive player, he's a proven goal scorer; he can kill some penalties, can help on the power play, so he brings a lot to the table and to our lineup, along with experience."
Gagne scored 259 goals in 10 years with the Flyers, but he has not been his old self since he was traded to Tampa Bay after the 2009-10 season.
He had 17 goals in one season with the Lightning, then managed seven goals in 34 games with the Kings last season, one that was marred by a concussion. He had no goals in 11 games with Los Angeles this season, and he was a healthy scratch six times.
Gagne, 32, was frustrated by his lack of playing time with the Kings.
"It's part of the game, and now it's behind me, and it's time to focus on what I have to do to help the Flyers to win," he said.
Wednesday was his first game since Feb. 17.
"When I came here, he was the leader here," said Danny Briere, referring to the 2007-08 season. "This was his team. . . . I know it's a little different position for him [now], but he's a great leader."
Gagne replaced the injured Tye McGinn, while Harry Zolnierczyk went back into the lineup as Mike Knuble was scratched. Zolnierczyk gave Gagne his No. 12 and he wore No. 37.
Read skates in pain
Matt Read skated at practice and took a few shots for the first time since he tore a muscle in his left rib cage last week in Pittsburgh. Read said that he was in "a lot of pain" and that he was far from returning. He is expected to miss five more weeks.
Jody Shelley underwent hip surgery on Wednesday. . . . Kimmo Timonen has plantar fasciitis - he wears a boot in the locker room - but says it does not affect him on the ice. . . . Ilya Bryzgalov wore a mask with a Star Wars theme. One side featured Yoda with a Flyers orange light saber instead of a green one.