Thursday, December 30, 2010
Kings: Smyth scores first but Flyers score last
By Dan Arritt
After the 1st period:
Kings 2, Philadelphia Flyers 2
The good: Always a good sign when the Kings score first. They’re 17-3-0 this season when burying the game’s first goal. Ryan Smyth did the honors this time, giving the Kings a 1-0 lead on a rather bizarre play. He brought the puck out from behind the Philadelphia goal and slid it along the goal line toward goalie Michael Leighton, who was making his first start of the season after undergoing back surgery in October. The puck would have kept on going through the crease if it didn't clip Leighton’s left heel and slide back into the net 2 minutes 39 seconds into the game. Welcome back Michael! The Kings’ second goal might have been even uglier. Justin Williams slid a pass toward Smyth who was crowding the crease and the puck went off Flyers defenseman Matt Carle and was redirected into the net, giving the Kings a 2-1 lead at the 11:03 mark.
The bad: Goalkeeping is looking like a lost art in Los Angeles. A day after Jonathan Quick gave up six goals in 1 ˝ periods in a 6-3 loss to Phoenix, the Flyers scored two goals on nine first-period shots against back-up Jonathan Bernier. Granted, both goals came on point-blank shots by scoring phenoms Danny Briere and Mike Richards, but there was no traffic to obstruct his vision. He just got beat. Bernier has also allowed a few long rebounds, which has been his calling card this season and one of the reasons he has a 4-5 record.
The in between: The Kings were getting pinned in their own zone on the forecheck but seemed to find some room to work in the waning minutes. Philadelphia already has 12 hits, compared to eight for the Kings, so it’s obvious the Flyers didn’t come here to play nice.