The Philadelphia Flyers haven't been to Los Angeles in more than three years. They'll find some familiar faces when they take the ice at Staples Center on Saturday afternoon (4 p.m. ET; NHLN-US).
Two players who were keys to the Flyers' run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, will face their former teammates in L.A. for the first time. Both were Flyers when Philadelphia came to Los Angeles on Dec. 30, 2010. The Kings got Richards from the Flyers in the summer of 2011 and obtained Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets in February 2012, a few months after the Flyers traded him. The forwards were part of the Stanley Cup-winning team in the spring of '12.
Richards and Carter aren’t the only Kings who have connections to Philadelphia: Assistant coach John Stevens played and coached the Flyers. Philadelphia also has plenty of L.A. connections: Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn came from the Kings in the trade for Richards, assistant general manager Ron Hextall held the same job with the Kings, and assistant coach Ian Laperriere spent most of his career with the Kings before finishing with the Flyers as a teammate of Carter and Richards.
Here's a look at all of the Saturday action:
Edmonton Oilers at Boston Bruins -- There will be a reunion of sorts at TD Garden, with Edmonton defenseman Andrew Ference returning to Boston for the first time since signing with the Oilers last summer as a free agent. Ference, a member of Boston's 2011 Stanley Cup championship team, is now captain of the last-place team in the Western Conference, but one that begins a road trip with a three-game winning streak thanks to Ben Scrivens' record-setting 59-save shutout of the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday. The Bruins are coming off a 4-1 home loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday that ended a four-game winning streak.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Montreal Canadiens -- The Canadiens enter the first of their back-to-back Super Bowl Weekend afternoon games trying to build on back-to-back victories, including a 4-1 win at the Boston Bruins on Thursday. Tampa Bay has lost back-to-back games in regulation for the first time in nearly two months and comes to Bell Centre at less than full strength. Center Valtteri Filppula is doubtful, backup goaltender Anders Lindback is out and starting goaltender Ben Bishop will be a game-time decision after all three were hurt in a 5-3 road loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.
Buffalo Sabres at Colorado Avalanche -- The Sabres are still last in the overall standings, but they come to Denver after a 3-2 road victory against the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday. However, forward Matt Moulson left that game with an upper-body injury and won't be back until after the Olympics. This is the last home game before the break for the Avalanche, who spend next week visiting the three New York-area teams and the Philadelphia Flyers.
Philadelphia Flyers at Los Angeles Kings -- After the two sides renew acquaintances, each will turn to the task of trying to end a slump. Philadelphia began a three-game swing through California with a 5-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, their fifth in six games. The Flyers have dropped out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference. The Kings have lost seven of eight and were beaten 4-1 at home by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday. L.A.'s problems are largely due to a lack of offense; the Kings have scored three goals in their past five games, all by Anze Kopitar.
Ottawa Senators at Toronto Maple Leafs -- The latest edition of the Battle of Ontario finds the teams playing well. The Senators come to Air Canada Centre with back-to-back wins, including a 5-3 home victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. Toronto defeated the Lightning and the Florida Panthers at home this week and has moved into third place in the Atlantic Division with 64 points. The Senators are sixth with 58 points but have two games in hand.
Florida Panthers at Columbus Blue Jackets -- The Panthers finish a four-game trip that started on a good note with a 5-4 shootout win against the Detroit Red Wings but has seen Florida give up six goals each in back-to-back losses to the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs. The best news for the Panthers is that rookie center Aleksander Barkov is skating again and could be ready to return from a lower-body injury on Tuesday. The Blue Jackets had a day off to enjoy a dominant 5-2 victory against the Washington Capitals on Thursday that snapped a three-game losing streak. This is the last home game for Columbus before the Olympic break; the Blue Jackets spend next week in California.
Nashville Predators at St. Louis Blues -- Two of the 22 teams in action Saturday are playing back-to-back games, and both will be on the ice at Scottrade Center. The Predators come to St. Louis after stealing two points at home against the New Jersey Devils on Friday. David Legwand's sixth-attacker goal forced overtime, and Shea Weber's goal in OT gave Nashville a 3-2 win. The Blues missed a chance to slip past the Chicago Blackhawks into first place in the Central Division, losing 3-1 at the Carolina Hurricanes.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Phoenix Coyotes -- The Penguins make their first trip to the desert since Nov. 6, 2010, in an effort to complete a sweep of a quick two-game trip. They got the jump on the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, scoring three first-period goals and breezing to a 4-1 victory. The Coyotes, who haven't beaten the Penguins since Oct. 7, 2009, have split the first two games of a five-game homestand but are coming off a 3-2 loss to the last-place Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.
Minnesota Wild at Calgary Flames -- After seven straight home losses, the Flames have made Scotiabank Saddledome a tough place for visiting teams by winning four in a row, including victories this week against the Chicago Blackhawks (5-4 in overtime on Tuesday) and San Jose Sharks (4-1 on Thursday). Calgary will try for a perfect homestand against the Wild, which plays the finale of a three-game trip that has seen them beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 before losing 5-4 to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.
Dallas Stars at Anaheim Ducks -- The Stars hit the road for three games after going 3-1-1 on a five-game homestand that ended with a 3-2 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday. That game saw Dallas get a point after trailing 2-0 and despite managing 16 shots on goal. The Ducks are coming off a 5-3 home win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, but they haven't forgotten their last game against the Stars, who walloped them 6-3 in Dallas two days before Thanksgiving.
Chicago Blackhawks at San Jose Sharks -- Two of the best teams in the Western Conference aren't playing their best as they prepare to face off at SAP Center. The Blackhawks have split the first two games of a road trip that will keep them out of Chicago until March 1, but they've won once in their past five games, a 5-2 victory against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday. The Sharks' offense has gone cold. San Jose has dropped three in a row, and only a third-period goal in a 4-1 loss at the Calgary Flames on Thursday enabled the Sharks to avoid a third consecutive shutout.
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