-- There will be plenty of good-natured bantering tonight when former University of Denver teammates Paul Stastny
and Matt Carle
skate onto the Pepsi Center ice.
Stastny, who is in his sixth season with the Colorado Avalanche
, and Carle, in his seventh NHL season and fourth with the Philadelphia Flyers
, played pivotal roles when Denver won a national championship in 2004-05, and they remain close friends.
"It's always fun playing against him," Carle said after this morning pregame skate. "He's always trying to joke around on the ice and stuff. I'm a little more serious when I'm out there and he's always trying to get a laugh out of me when we're playing against each other. It's nothing too serious, but he keeps it fun out there."
The players have continued to follow each other's careers since leaving school after the 2005-06 season.
Center - COL
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 8 | PTS: 18
SOG: 74 | +/-: -8
Stastny, a 25-year-old center, was a second-round pick (No. 44) of the Avalanche in the 2005 NHL Draft and signed with Colorado after his sophomore campaign. Carle, a 27-year-old defenseman, was San Jose's second-round pick (No. 47) in 2003 and signed with the Sharks after his junior season.
While Stastny has spent his entire NHL career with the Avalanche, Carle spent parts of three seasons with the Sharks and 12 games with Tampa Bay before being traded to the Flyers on Nov. 7, 2008.
"After being traded a couple times it's nice to be in one spot for a period of time and to get to know the guys on the team and the coaching staff," Carle said.
Carle has 4 goals and 14 assists in 31 games this season after collecting 7 goals and 68 assists in 162 games over the two previous seasons.
"He's kind of found his niche," Stastny said. "He's been playing really well there. It's a good style for him. He can use his speed and his high offensive skill to jump into the play."
Carle also has 3 power-play goals and a plus-6 rating while averaging 22:31 in ice time.
"Just a really steady, quiet, effective player for us," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette
said. "There's not a lot of noise with Matt. You don't hear much about him, but every night he goes in there and recently he's been our top minute guy. He's really good in all zones. He defends other teams' top players, he adds offensively, he plays in all situations for us and he's a great kid in the locker room.
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"Quietly, he's one of our leaders on the back end. It doesn't come with a whole lot of hoopla, and I think that's a really good thing. He's just a quiet guy that goes about his business and he's very effective. He's having a terrific year."
Said Carle: "Even when I was in college I was never one of those guys to stand up in the locker room and yell at the guys. I try to lead by example and be a professional and just do what's expected of me."
With 43 points, the Flyers are tied with Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, but they're still smarting over Saturday's 6-0 loss to the Bruins. The lopsided defeat ended their winning streak at seven games.
"It wasn't a good day and we all acknowledge that," Laviolette said. "Now it's time to turn the page and get back on track. Regardless of who the opponent was tonight, it'd be important that we put on a strong performance."
will be back in goal for the Flyers despite Saturday's game, when he was pulled in the second period after allowing five goals on 20 shots.
The Flyers recalled center Ben Holmstrom
, 24, from Adirondack in the American Hockey League because the team has lost a number of players, including Sean Couturier
and Claude Giroux
, to head injuries. Holmstrom, who is from Colorado Springs, will skate on a line with Harry Zolnierczyk
and Zac Rinaldo
. He had 8 goals and 8 assists in 25 games with Adirondack.
Giguere in for Avs:
Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere
will make his second start in a row for the Avalanche following his 25-save performance Saturday in a 2-1 win against Washington.
The Avalanche have won five consecutive home games and six of the past seven after losing eight of the first 11 games at the Pepsi Center.
"Before we were good on the road and not so good at home, and now it's switched," Avalanche captain Milan Hejduk
said. "You have to be dominant at home for any chance to make the playoffs."