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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, March 24th (All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Kings (40-25-6) at Philadelphia Flyers (38-25-7), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - It's been a while, but Jeff Carter and Mike Richards will finally get to play together at the Wells Fargo Center again. Of course, this time it will be for the visiting team as the ex-Flyers lead the Los Angeles Kings in Monday's road test against Philadelphia.
Carter and Richards were selected by the Flyers with the 11th and 24th overall picks, respectively, of the 2003 draft. The duo were part of four playoff runs in Philadelphia, including one to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010, before both were traded on June 23, 2011 -- Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Richards to the Kings.
Carter was ultimately shipped from Columbus to L.A. during the 2011-12 campaign, and along with Richards he helped the Kings win their first Stanley Cup title that spring.
Richards has been back to Philly before, helping Los Angeles record a 3-2 overtime win at Wells Fargo Center when the clubs last met in the City of Brotherly Love on Oct. 15, 2011. Carter, meanwhile, played his first game against the Flyers earlier this season when Philadelphia recorded a 2-0 win in L.A. on Feb. 1.
The Flyers have won four of the last six meetings in this series overall, but L.A. has claimed two in a row in South Philly.
Philadelphia enters Monday's clash with the Kings playing its best hockey of the season. The Flyers have won five straight for the first time since March 1-10, 2012, and four of those wins came against teams above Philly in the NHL standings.
The Flyers beat the Western Conference's best team on Saturday, as Steve Mason stopped 32 shots to help his club down the St. Louis Blues, 4-1.
Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds, who were both part of the trade that sent Richards to the Kings, each had a goal and an assist in Saturday's home win. Simmonds is tied for the team lead with 24 goals this season and is second on the club with 54 points. Schenn is fifth on the Flyers in scoring with 40 points on 18 goals and 22 assists.
Carter and Richards, meanwhile, are second and third on L.A. in scoring this season. Carter leads the club with 24 goals and is second to Anze Kopitar in points with 45, while Richards has 40 points on 10 goals and 30 helpers. Another ex-Flyer, Justin Williams, is fourth on the Kings this season with 37 points.
Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek also posted a goal and an assist for the Flyers on Saturday. Voracek, who was part of the deal that sent Carter to Columbus in the summer of 2011, is third on Philadelphia with 52 points (19 goals, 33 assists).
"I think today was the toughest team we played so far this year and we won 4-1 so obviously it's good," said Voracek of the win over the Blues. "It's going to give us some more confidence and we've just got to make sure we get some rest tomorrow and be ready for LA because it's going to be almost the same game."
Flyers captain Claude Giroux added a pair of helpers to aid Saturday's win over the Blues. Philadelphia did lose forward Steve Downie to an upper-body injury in the opening minutes of the game and he expects to miss tonight's contest. Philly recalled Tye McGinn from Adirondack of the AHL to take Downie's place in the lineup, if necessary.
With 83 points, Philadelphia is one ahead of the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Rangers, who have played two more games than the Flyers, host Phoenix on Monday. The top three teams in each division are rewarded with automatic bids to the playoffs.
The Kings are currently third in the Pacific Division with 86 points, giving them seven more points than fourth-place Phoenix and 13 less than second-place Anaheim.
L.A. has won two straight on the heels of a three-game slide and has claimed victory in 10 of its last 13 contests.
Jonathan Quick made franchise history in the Kings' 4-0 win over visiting Florida on Saturday. Quick made 24 saves to set a new franchise record for victories, passing Rogie Vachon in the club annals with his 172nd career win.
Vachon was in attendance to watch his milestone fall. The 68-year-old Quebec native earned 171 wins while backstopping the club from 1971-78.
"It takes 20 guys to win a game. Goalies are always kind of nominated to receive most of the celebration as far as wins and shutouts go, but it's a group effort," said the 28-year-old Quick. "It crosses your mind a little bit. It's the type of situation where you're caught in the moment."
Trevor Lewis contributed a goal and an assist for the Kings. Richards, Dustin Brown, and Alec Martinez also scored. Captain Dustin Brown did leave the game with an upper-body injury and is questionable for Monday.
Quick expects to start on Monday and is 3-2-0 with a 1.64 goals against average and .938 save percentage in six career games against the Flyers. Mason, Philadelphia's No. 1 netminder, is 6-7-0 with a 3.08 GAA and .892 save percentage in 13 lifetime appearances against L.A.
Philadelphia hopes to close out a four-game homestand Monday with a fifth straight win at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers are 22-12-1 at home this season.
The Kings, who are opening a three-game swing, are 19-12-3 as the guest in 2013-14.
03/24 10:43:40 ET
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