PIT@NYI: Carter is saluted by both teams following his final NHL game

Jeff Carter announced his retirement from the NHL after playing his final game for the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.

The 39-year-old forward had 851 points (442 goals, 409 assists) in 1,321 games across 19 seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings and Penguins.

"I'm going to be a dad. You miss a lot being a hockey player, you're in and out in a way,” Carter said following a 5-4 loss at the New York Islanders on Wednesday. “My family sacrificed a lot for me to live out my dream. I'm going to be home and be a dad, and then figure it out from there."

Carter scored his final NHL goal at 10:56 of the third period Wednesday, tying it 4-4 before New York forward Simon Holmstrom scored at 14:27.

PIT@NYI: Carter gets a piece of Crosby's feed for PPG

Announced as the Third Star of the game, Carter raised his stick to the crowd as the Penguins tapped theirs on the ice. He was greeted by each of the Islanders as his teammates waited at the bench door.

"It's pretty cool to be part of that experience, when you are around a guy that's just a terrific person, a great teammate,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “He's been through a lot with these guys. They mean the world to him. And to have an opportunity to be a small part of that, it's a pretty cool experience."

The Penguins (38-32-12) did not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a second straight season after being eliminated Tuesday, when the Washington Capitals clinched the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference with a 2-1 win against the Flyers.

Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said he was grateful to share Carter’s moment Wednesday.

"Things like that, when you can really soak it all in, that's something I think we will all appreciate,” Crosby said.

Selected by Philadelphia in the first round (No. 11) of the 2003 NHL Draft, Carter won the Stanley Cup twice with the Kings (2012 and 2014) and the gold medal with Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He had 84 points (47 goals, 37 assists) in 133 NHL playoff games and played in two NHL All-Star Games (2009, 2017).

Carter had 383 points (194 goals, 189 assists) in 580 games with Los Angeles from 2011-2021 before being traded to Pittsburgh on April 12, 2021, playing third-line center behind Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in his first three of four seasons with the Penguins.

Carter embraced a fourth-line role this season, finishing with 15 points (11 goals, four assists) in 72 games mostly at right wing.

"He's meant a lot," Crosby said. "We played together in juniors, grew up playing with Team Canada together and then played against him with Philadelphia, so [a] bit of a rivalry there. Things change.

"He's just had an amazing career. Honestly, he's the same guy that I remember meeting when I was 16. He just has a lot of poise, great guy in the room. He brings it every single night, and he's had an amazing career."

Carter, who is from London, Ontario, said he plans to remain in Pittsburgh with his wife, Megan, and children Caden and Emersyn.

“We're staying. We moved here in August full time,” Carter said. “We've loved it. It's been a great fit for our family. It's central to both our extended families. It has worked out really well."

NHL.com independent correspondent Stefen Rosner contributed to this report

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