Monday’s game isn’t just the second of two meetings between the Flyers and Los Angeles Kings, a pair of teams fighting for playoff positions as the regular season comes to a close.
It’s also the return of old friends Jeff Carter and Mike Richards to Philadelphia.
“I saw them yesterday for a little bit,” Scott Hartnell said. “It’s always nice to catch up with old friends that you played with or you know from back home. You’re friends this morning or yesterday, but I’m sure in the corners, if the puck’s there, it’s going to be a battle.”
The game actually marks Carter’s first return to Philadelphia since he was traded in 2011. He was here with the Columbus Blue Jackets but was injured and didn’t play. Richards returned in October 2011 and predictably was greeted with a mix of cheers and boos. The duo expects more of the same tonight.
The Flyers, on the other hand, predict some elevated levels of chirping on the ice.
“Maybe a little bit more,” Claude Giroux said. “But at the end of the day, if we’re there to win the two points, we’re there to win the two points. It’s going to be a really intense game.”
The Flyers won their only other game against the Kings, 2-0, on Feb. 1 in L.A. The game was actually a particularly close one. The two teams play a similar game and expect more of the same tonight.
“It’ll be a tough match,” Hartnell said. “[Last time we played them], it was a battle for every inch out there. I don’t expect anything less tonight. It should be a low-scoring affair, I’m guessing, and it should be a battle. “
Confidence is key
No matter how you look at it, the Flyers are a confident team right now. They've defeated some of the NHL's top teams in just over a week -- the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues.
“It’s high right now,” coach Craig Berube said of his team's confidence. “But we’ve got to make sure that we stay level-headed here now. We’ve got a big game tonight. We’ve got a very big game. We’ve got a tough time. We’ve got to make sure that we’re ready to work.”
McGinn in – but where?
Steve Downie, who sustained an upper-body injury in Saturday’s win over the St. Louis Blues, will miss tonight’s game. Tye McGinn was recalled from the Phantoms on Sunday and will be in the lineup tonight.
The question, though, is where he’ll play. While he’ll most likely take over Downie’s spot on the wing on the Flyers’ third line with Sean Couturier and Matt Read, Berube remained coy about the possibility.
“[Zac] Rinaldo’s an option too,” he said, adding that there’s a lot to like about McGinn’s game wherever he plays: “Nice, big guy, goes to the net. He’s got nice hands around the net. He’s scored some goals up here for us. We like his size, he’s good around the net.”
Emery vs. Quick
In a somewhat surprising decision, Ray Emery gets the start in net tonight for the Flyers. Berube said, simply, it’s “just his turn.”
It should be noted, though, that Emery has a history of success against L.A., even though Steve Mason was in net for the Flyers’ 2-0 shutout win over the Kings back on Feb. 1. Emery is 2-0-1 in five career games against them, with a 1.34 goals-against average and .955 save percentage.
Across the ice, the Kings will start Jonathan Quick, who is 23-15-2 in 41 games this season.