Saturday, February 12, 2011
Kings: Next stop...Philadelphia
By Dan Arritt
Kings (30-22-3, 63 points) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (36-13-5, 77) at Wells Fargo Center, noon PT
Five storylines to track:
1. Road warriors – Long road trips usually provide a good atmosphere for professional sports teams to bond, and the Kings are coming together like they’re coated in super glue. Halfway through 10 consecutive road games, the Kings have earned eight of a possible 10 points. They should have plenty of momentum heading into Philly after scoring three goals in the third period Saturday in a 4-1 victory at Washington. It was just six weeks ago that the Kings lost six games on an eight-game home stand -- beginning with a 7-4 loss to Philadelphia.
2. Flying high –The Flyers are atop the Eastern Conference standings by a wide margin and a loss to the Kings would surely place a feather in the L.A. cap. Since beating the Kings on Dec. 30, Philadelphia has won 13 of 17 games. The Flyers have allowed three or more goals in four of those games and all have resulted in losses. Of course, the Kings haven’t won a regulation game in Philadelphia in 18 years, so the Flyers have that going for them.
3. Lost and then found – Now that Anze Kopitar finally scored a goal, Kings Nation can lay off the slippery Slovenian. Kopitar scored his first goal in 11 games and his second since Dec. 26 in the win against Washington. Kings coach Terry Murray gave Kopitar a pair of new wing mates against Washington, placing Michal Handzus on his left side and Wayne Simmonds on his right. The move also seemed to pay off for Handzus and Simmonds, who combined for a goal and three assists.
4. Quick is the pick –Murray briefly left it up in the air who would start in goal against the Flyers but ultimately settled on Jonathan Quick. The decision was probably made more difficult after backup Jonathan Bernier put in another solid effort in the victory against Washington, but Quick is also playing well lately, giving the Kings the 1-2 punch they’ll need during the home stretch.
5. Carter isn't peanuts –Flyers right wing Jeff Carter signed an 11-year, $58 million contract extension with Philadelphia in November and history shows he’s quick to return on investments. He has goals in three consecutive games and six in the last six games to give him 26 on the season, one within team leader Danny Briere. After he signed his last contract extension in June 2008, he followed up with his best season as a professional.