Carter, Richards' Flyers homecoming

STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Jeff Carter celebrates with teammates after second-period goal.
STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Jeff Carter celebrates with teammates after second-period goal.
Posted: March 26, 2014

A BROKEN FOOT sustained while blocking a shot robbed Jeff Carter of what should have been his first game in Philadelphia as an opposing player. It was November 2011, about 5 months after the Flyers traded him to the Columbus Blue Jackets, and while he made the trip to his former home arena, Carter did not play.

So last night, 33 months after he and Mike Richards were dealt on the same June day, Carter, in his third season with the Los Angeles Kings, made his return to the Wells Fargo Center ice. It marked the first time both he and Richards, who teamed up to help the Kings win the 2012 Stanley Cup, played together as visitors in Philadelphia.

After yesterday's morning skate, Carter said he was looking forward to the game, an important one for both the Flyers and Kings as the regular season winds down. He scored the first goal of the game in the Kings' 3-2 victory.

"I was probably happy I didn't play that last one, the way things worked out," Carter said of that 2011 game, when he was with the Blue Jackets. "It was a tough go for us [the Flyers won, 9-2]. It's going to be exciting walking out there. It will be a lot of fun to get out and play."

Last night was Richards' second time returning to town with the Kings. On Oct. 15, 2011, he assisted on the game-winning goal in a 3-2 Kings overtime win. Richards did not speak with reporters after yesterday's morning skate.

Carter now has 46 points on a team-high 25 goals for the Kings, who arrived in town sixth in the Western Conference standings and on a two-game winning streak. Richards came has 40 points, only 10 goals.

Carter said he expected to get booed last night - "Everybody that goes back to their old team seems like they're getting a nice little reception," he said - but that it didn't bother him. He said he loved his 6 years in Philadelphia and had been looking forward to last night's game.

"It's kind of weird how it all worked out; [it's] taken a while [to get back here]," he said.

Scott Hartnell is one of only four current Flyers who played with Carter and Richards in Philadelphia; Claude Giroux, Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn are the others. Hartnell caught up with his two former teammates on Sunday.

"It's always nice to catch up with old friends that you played with, that you know from back home, things like that," Hartnell said. "You're friends this morning and yesterday but I'm sure in the corner, the puck's there, it's going to be a battle."

Hartnell was asked to evaluate the Carter and Richards trades 3 years later 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," he said.

"But you look at the young guys we got: Jake [Voracek] and obviously [Wayne Simmonds], Brayden Schenn and [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 pretty good for us. They've played their hearts out for us. That's all you can ask for."

Another Emery start

When Ray Emery saved 23 of 25 shots in last Tuesday's 3-2 overtime win over the Blackhawks, it was his first start since Feb. 8.

He got another last night.

"Just his turn," coach Craig Berube said.

Steve Mason, 30-16-6 with a 2.53 goals-against average, had started 10 of the previous 11 games. Last night was the first of four games in a 7-day stretch.

Entering last night, Emery was 8-9-1 in 23 games with a 2.96 GAA. He made 38 saves in the Kings' victory and is now 2-1-1 in six career games against the Kings.

On Twitter: @jakemkaplan

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