Friday, October 14, 2011
Kings: Hoping to finish on a bang in Philly
By Dan Arritt
Kings (1-1-1, 3 points) at Philadelphia Flyers (3-0-0, 6 points) at Wells Fargo Center, Saturday, 4 p.m. (PT)
Five storylines to track:
1. Richards return – In his first return to the City of Brotherly Love since his trade to the Kings over the summer, Mike Richards will likely find it difficult to treat this as just another game. Richards thought he would be a Flyer for life when he signed an 12-year contract extension four years ago, but management had other plans and shipped him out West. Look for Richards to be active early and often as he tries to show the Flyers what they’re missing.
2. Secondary scoring – It’s only three games in, but the third and fourth lines for the Kings have yet to record a point. Jarret Stoll & Company have been surprisingly quiet on the third line. Stoll, a 20-goal scorer last season, has just two shots on goal this season. Undoubtedly, points will be tougher to come by for Stoll, as the arrival of Richards dropped him down from the second line, and he inherited less skilled players on his wings.
3. Gas tank on empty? – The Kings looked just plain ragged after the opening 13 minutes of their 2-1 shootout loss Thursday night in New Jersey. They’ve been on the road for two weeks now, and coach Terry Murray said the Kings hit a wall in the game against the Devils. Philadelphia, meanwhile, has been home for nearly a week, and has played just one game in that span. With emotions high on both sides, the Kings will need to dig deep to finish the trip on a positive note.
4. Quick start – Jonathan Quick is leaving no doubt who’s the No. 1 goalie in town. He put on another brilliant performance against the Devils, the main reason the Kings were able to get into overtime and get out with a point. There was talk during the preseason that Murray would go with the hot hand in goal, opening the door for back-up Jonathan Bernier to steal the job. Quick isn’t giving Bernier that opportunity, however.
4. Simmonds success – Wayne Simmonds was one of the pieces that went to Philadelphia in the deal for Richards. He’s off to a good start in his new uniform, recording a goal and an assist and coming in tied for the team lead with 10 shots on goal. He also displayed the energy he can bring to a team by winning a one-sided fight Saturday against David Clarkson of New Jersey. Simmonds was the former roommate of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty before he was traded to Philadelphia, so it'll be interesting to see how friendly they get on the ice.