Los Angeles Hockey: Philadelphia Flyers

Kings: Jack Johnson wins it in overtime...again

October, 15, 2011
Kings 3, Philadelphia Flyers 2 (OT)

Eight keys to the game:

THE FACTS: With defenseman Drew Doughty knocked from the game with an upper-body injury early on Saturday night in Philadelphia, the remaining blue liners stepped up long enough for Jack Johnson to score the game winner in overtime and lift the Kings to victory at Wells Fargo Center.

THE STAT: On the final day of a 16-day road trip through three countries and five states, the Kings were forced to play with five defensemen for nearly the entire game after Doughty took a hard hit from rookie center Zak Rinaldo in the opening minute. Doughty, who appeared to be favoring his right shoulder before he left the bench, is expected to miss seven to 10 days, the team reported. The Kings were even thinner on experience on the back end as Davis Drewiske was substituting for Alec Martinez and Drewiske had not played in an NHL game since Feb. 24.

TURNING POINT: With the score tied, 2-2, Kings forward Simon Gagne was tripped by Flyers left wing James van Riemsdyk with 19.9 seconds left in regulation. The power play carried over to overtime, giving the Kings a 4-on-3 situation and plenty of open ice to work with. Mike Richards, playing in his first game in Philadelphia since he was traded to the Kings over the summer, sent a sharp pass from the high slot to Johnson, who was stationed near the left post, and he redirected the puck past goalie Ilya Bryzgalov with one second left on the man advantage. In the season opener last week against the New York Rangers, Johnson also scored the game-winner off a pass from Richards during a 4-on-3 in overtime.

HOT: Johnson had the most noteworthy play among the depleted defensive corps, but goalie Jonathan Quick once again played well enough to get the Kings into overtime for the third time in their first four games. Quick stopped 32 of 34 shots, with the only goals coming on Philadelphia power plays. Rob Scuderi had an excellent game, blocking five shots. Johnson played 30-plus minutes for just the second time in his career and Willie Mitchell had four hits, three blocked shots and an assist on the Kings first goal.

NOT: The Kings committed seven penalties with their sticks, two of which led to goals by the Flyers. Richards was nearly on the hot seat after committing a high-sticking penalty 27 seconds after the Kings took a 2-1 lead on the second goal of the game by Justin Williams with 7:25 remaining in regulation. Philadelphia promptly scored on the ensuing power play to tie the score, 2-2.

GOOD MOVE: The second goal by Williams was a thing of beauty, as he took a pass from Anze Kopitar on the icing line, drove to the net and swiped a backhand at Bryzgalov. The first shot was stopped but Williams was in position to swipe the second past the sprawled goaltender and into the net for the Kings first lead of the game.

BAD MOVE: After the hit on Doughty, Kings left wing Dustin Penner went after Rinaldo but the aggression ended up costing him 17 minutes of penalties for being an instigator in the fight. That seemed to take Penner out of the game as he played just one shift in the third period and overtime. Penner missed the first two games this season with a lower-body injury and his health didn’t seem to be a concern Saturday as he remained on the bench during the third period and overtime. He may have put himself in the doghouse with his overzealous response to the Doughty hit.

NOTABLE: Kopitar and Richards combined to win 25 of 45 face offs. The Kings improved to 4-for-17 on the power play this season. The Flyers were attempting to start the season 4-0 for the first time since 1995.

UP NEXT: Tuesday vs. the St. Louis Blues at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.

Kings: Hoping to finish on a bang in Philly

October, 14, 2011
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 startJonathan 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 successWayne 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.

Kings: Hot streak continues with 1-0 victory in Philly

February, 13, 2011
Kings 1, Philadelphia Flyers 0

Eight keys to the game:

THE FACTS: The Kings improved to 7-0-2 in the last nine games with their first regulation victory in Philadelphia in almost 18 years.

THE STAT: The Kings killed all four penalties against the Flyers, including a 20-second 5-on-3 in the second period, and have wiped out 26 of the last 27 man-advantage situations.

TURNING POINT: Seventeen seconds into the second period, Drew Doughty received a centering pass from Anze Kopitar and beat Philadelphia goalie Sergei Bobrovsky for his seventh goal of the season and third on the current stretch of 10 consecutive road games.

HOT: Jonathan Quick followed on the heels of Jonathan Bernier’s stellar effort in goal the day before in a 4-1 victory against the Washington Capitals, stopping 40 shots for his sixth shutout of the season and 14th of his career.

NOT: The Kings lost 16 of 18 face-offs in the opening period and 35 of 58 for the game. The only player for the Kings who won more face-offs than he lost was Michal Handzus, who was six for nine.

GOOD MOVE: Kings rookie Kyle Clifford set the tone 2 minutes 26 seconds into the game when he dropped the gloves and battered Daniel Carcillo, his first scrap since Jan. 24 against visiting Boston. Clifford had been looking for a piece of Carcillo since the Flyers defeated the Kings, 7-4, on Dec. 30.

BAD MOVE: Flyers forward Mike Richards turned the puck over behind the Philadelphia net after a Wayne Simmonds dump in, leading to the game’s only goal.

NOTABLE: The Kings improved to 18-0 when leading after two periods and 4-0-2 on the the current stretch of road games.

UP NEXT: at Columbus, Wednesday, 4 p.m. PT.

Kings: Next stop...Philadelphia

February, 12, 2011
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.

Kings: Nothing serious, just deja vu

December, 31, 2010
EL SEGUNDO--There was no panic in the Kings’ locker room Friday morning following their second consecutive one-sided loss the night before. No sense of urgency and certainly no finger-pointing.

Maybe because the Kings have been down this road before. Try six weeks ago. They were the talk of the NHL when they started this season a franchise-best 12-3-0, then hopped a plane to San Jose and everything went wrong in a 6-3 loss to the Sharks on Nov. 15. That spelled the beginning of a 1-7 swoon that had some wondering if their blistering start was just a desert mirage.

They righted themselves with a three-game winning streak that was highlighted by an overtime victory against the visiting Red Wings, then embarked on a five-game road trip that included victories in Detroit, Nashville and Colorado by combined score of 16-1. After a 5-0 victory Monday in San Jose, the Kings were looking like one of the elite teams in the NHL again. Then they got trampled Wednesday night in Phoenix, 6-3, and again on Thursday, 7-4, against the visiting Flyers.

In the mind of coach Terry Murray (pictured), he believes his team took its foot off the gas. "That’s when the casualness starts to set in," he said. "All it takes is one or two plays, and it can be very contagious."

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Kings: This is really starting to smell

December, 30, 2010

LOS ANGELES -- They might need a bigger trash can.

Kings coach Terry Murray talked about throwing Wednesday night’s one-sided loss at Phoenix in the scrap heap, but the Kings came up with another stinker Thursday night in a 7-4 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers at Staples Center.

The final score after two nights: Kings’ opponents, 13, Kings 7.

The garbage pile also included two mid-game goalie changes, 45 penalty minutes and enough blown defensive assignments to fill a calendar month.

“It’s mental and execution,” said Kings defenseman Matt Greene, one of the few players who stuck around to speak to the media after the game. “We’ve got to play the game, think the game and right now we’re not doing either one on defense.”

The back-to-back results probably wouldn’t be so shocking if the defense hadn't been playing so well before Wednesday night.

The unit had allowed just seven goals in the previous six games and had three shutouts this month alone. Jonathan Quick came into Wednesday’s game with the second-best goals-against average in the NHL and left midway through the second period Wednesday after allowing six goals.

Jonathan Bernier filled in nicely for Quick during the second half of the game against the Coyotes, but was defenseless in front of the barrage from Philadelphia.

“That’s the way the league is,” Murray said. “There’s lots of heavy play around the net. He’s a young guy and he’s going to have to learn to deal with it.”

Probably the best news is the Kings will have seven consecutive home games to regroup and plenty of practice time in between. Murray said he planned to get back to the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, something the Kings have been unable to do recently because of the Christmas break, followed by a stretch of four games in five nights that ended Thursday.

“Out of this whole thing, that’s probably the light at the end of the tunnel for me,” he said. “We have practice time. We have about two weeks of being around here and playing some games, but what’s important is getting on the ice and practicing and reviewing and going through the fundamentals of the game.”
Dave Joseph of ESPN 710 Radio tries to make sense of the Kings' second straight one-sided loss, this time against the Philadelphia Flyers, 7-4, at Staples Center.

Kings: Good time for some New Year's resolutions

December, 30, 2010
A stretch of four games in five nights that started with such a bang, ended with an ever louder thud.

The Kings were lit up for the second consecutive night, this time allowing a season-high goal total in a 7-4 loss Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers at Staples Center.

The Flyers, who had been outscored, 11-2, in their previous two games, jumped on Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier for four goals in the second period, sending him to the bench in favor of Jonathan Quick.

The night before in a 6-3 loss in Phoenix, it was Bernier who replaced Quick in the second period.

The Flyers were expected to be the team holding its breath with their goalie selection. Michael Leighton had not played since last spring after undergoing back surgery in October. Leighton was able to relax after Philadelphia turned a 2-1 first-period deficit into a 6-3 second-period lead.

About the only bright spot for the Kings was their power-play unit. They scored two goals with the man-advantage and another during a long delayed penalty.

The Kings, who had not played four games in five days since the 1994-95 season, started the stretch with a 4-1 victory Sunday against the visiting Ducks, then followed up a day later with a 4-0 win in San Jose. That marked their fourth consecutive victory and fifth in six games.

There must've been quite a celebration on the plane ride from San Jose to Phoenix, because the Kings look like a different team since.

Their sudden turnaround is eerily similar to a slump they fell into earlier this season, when they started a franchise-best 12-3-0, then lost seven of their next eight. They allowed 11 goals in the first two games of that stretch. This time they’ve allowed 13.

We’ll find out what the Kings have to say in the locker room.

Kings: Second period not for the squeamish

December, 30, 2010
After the 2nd period:

Philadelphia Flyers 6, Kings 4

The good: Searching… searching… reaching… reaching. Ah, something good to write about. The Kings scored two power-play goals during the penalty-infested second period, the first courtesy of a slap shot from defenseman Jack Johnson, which briefly brought the Kings back to within a goal. Johnson came into the game tied for seventh in the league in power-play points with 17. Dustin Brown got the second after he redirected a slap shot from Drew Doughty into the net. The Kings not only have two power-play goals, but the other came during a delayed penalty.

The bad: Well, for starters, the Kings gave up four goals in the second period, the second straight night they’ve allowed a four-goal period. Oddly, they produced back-to-back four-goal periods on Sunday and Monday. For the second consecutive night, the Kings also had to pull their starting goalie in the second period. This time it was Jonathan Bernier, who knows how Jonathan Quick felt when he passed him on the ice Wednesday night in Phoenix. If Kings coach Terry Murray could replace his entire defensive unit with the kids from Manchester, he’d probably do it in an instant. To their defense, the Kings were whistled for four penalties in the second period, which led to a pair of 5-on-3s for the Flyers. The Michal Handzus-Kyle Clifford-Wayne Simmonds line has been on the ice for much of the ugliness, holding a minus-three rating to this point.

The in between: Searching… searching… reaching… reaching. Ah, the Kings have two four-goal periods in the last three games, so they’re definitely capable of a comeback in this score-fest. Not only that, but they’re facing a goalie who hasn’t played since last spring. Michael Leighton’s legs are probably getting a little heavy about now. Brown's goal was huge as it cut a three-goal deficit to two.

Kings: Smyth scores first but Flyers score last

December, 30, 2010
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.

Kings: Two teams hoping to take out the garbage

December, 30, 2010
Philadelphia Flyers (22-9-5) vs. Kings (22-13-1) at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. Trash day – The lid has been shut and sealed tight. Now if the Kings can follow the rest of coach Terry Murray’s advice, they should have no problem moving on following their effort-less 6-3 loss Wednesday night at Phoenix. "We’ve just got to put it in the trash and forget about it," Murray told reporters after the game. The Kings might want to go a step further and take it to the dump themselves. Murray did cancel the morning skate....

2. Who gets off the floor? – While that debacle was taking place in Phoenix, the Flyers were sitting in Los Angeles for the first time in two years, probably cracking their knuckles and wincing as they thought about their last two performances. They lost, 5-0, at home against Florida on Dec. 20, took a few days off for Christmas and then laid an egg Tuesday in a 6-2 loss in Vancouver. So, what it comes down to, the fourth-place teams from the Eastern and Western Conferences will come in with big chips on their shoulders.

3. The leading manAnze Kopitar had two more assists against the Coyotes to give him five in the last two games and 40 points overall, putting him on pace to surpass his career-high of 81 last season. He also moved into the league’s top 10 in scoring. Kopitar seems to be thriving since Marco Sturm moved to the top line three games ago. Sturm, acquired in a trade with Boston earlier this month, is also benefiting from the combination, totaling two goals and an assist since the promotion.

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