Flyers and Kings try to rebound
FLYERS (22-9-5) at KINGS (22-13-1)
TV – CSN-Philadelphia (HD); FS-West (HD)
– Philadelphia 7-2-1; Los Angeles 6-3-1
– It’s the first of two meetings this season between the “Second Six” rivals. Philadelphia won the only meeting last season, edging the Kings 3-2 at the Staples Center.
– Talk about two teams wanting to bounce back after being battered. The Flyers come to L.A. for the second game in one of the toughest weeks of the season after being blitzed 6-2 at Vancouver on Tuesday. The Kings are back home after a Wednesday night visit to Phoenix produced a 6-3 loss. The six goals allowed to the low-scoring Coyotes matched the most the Kings have allowed this season.
– A couple of days off can be a welcome respite, but eight days without a game may be too much, at least judging by the Flyers’ performance in Vancouver on Tuesday. They were thoroughly beaten in dropping their first game in the Pacific Northwest since January 1989.
The Flyers lost 5-0 at home to Florida in their last game before the Christmas break, and coach Peter Laviolette said that game might have left his team with a hangover of sorts.
“There’s definitely a carryover,” Laviolette said. “It’s more about effort for me. They were quicker. They were more aggressive. They out-hit us. Faceoffs are a telltale sign for me who’s on their toes and who’s not. I’m not just talking about our center men, I’m talking about execution and battles won and lost.”
-- Coach Terry Murray said he planned to take Wednesday’s game and “put it in the trash can.” He has every reason to want to forget his team’s dreadful performance against the Coyotes. Goalie Jonathan Quick
was lifted after allowing six goals on just 18 shots.
The Kings are glad to have the chance to get right back onto the ice after the clunker.
“Tonight was just a bad game for us,” defenseman Matt Greene
told Kings Insider. “A lot of things weren’t working, and that’s it. This is one of those games that maybe you just want to put behind you. We’re lucky to have back-to-backs here again, because I think everybody in this (locker) room wants to get back at it tomorrow.”
– Philadelphia’s Jeff Carter had a goal in Vancouver and has 5 points in the Flyers’ last four games. … Kings center Anze Kopitar
had a pair of assists on Wednesday, giving him 6 points in his last three games. Dustin Brown
has 8 points in L.A.’s last five games.
– The Flyers, already without defenseman Chris Pronger (foot surgery) saw Kimmo Timonen sustain a lower-body injury in Vancouver. He sat out practice on Wednesday but says he plans to play. Defenseman Matt Walker is on IR as he recovers from hip surgery. They are also without forward Jody Shelley, who received a two-game suspension after being assessed a match penalty on Tuesday. … Alexei Ponikarovsky
(lower body) is day-to-day for the Kings, while Scott Parse
(hip) and Willie Mitchell
(lower body) are out.
– The Flyers are just 2-2-4 against Western Conference teams; they are 20-6-2 against the East. Los Angeles is 7-3-0 against Eastern Conference clubs and has won both of its games against Atlantic Division teams.
– Murray is sticking with his plan to start Jonathan Bernier
against the Flyers, even though the rookie goaltender wound up playing the second half of Wednesday’s game after Quick was shelled. But neither Murray nor his players were blaming Quick for the poor showing in Phoenix.
“We didn’t give Quickie much help on the first few goals,” Brown said. “They were all backdoor tap-ins. We weren’t ready to play, right from the start, and that team jumped on us. We still had a chance, being down one goal going into the second, and we missed a few cues on our PK. They found those seams a couple times for goals. We just weren’t ready to play.”