It's very difficult to defeat the Los Angeles Kings, runaway leader of the Pacific Division. It's even tougher when your team plays well in only one period of the game.
The Flyers fell behind 2-0 through forty minutes of play, before producing a stellar third period against the Western Conference powerhouse Kings. But they could only squeeze one goal past Jonathan Quick, and fell by a score of 2-1. Quick stopped 29 shots, including 15 in the final stanza. Brayden Schenn scored for the Flyers, and Michal Neuvirth made 30 saves.
Los Angeles took control of the game from the opening faceoff, and earned the lead before the ten minute mark of the first period. Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas turned the puck over as he attempted to break out of the defensive zone, leading to a three-on-one rush for Los Angeles. Dwight King did the honors, beating goalie Michal Neuvirth to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.
The Flyers appeared ready to stabilize the game after King's goal, with the help of strong shifts from the Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier lines. But a Shayne Gostisbehere interference penalty sent Los Angeles to the power play, facing a Flyers penalty kill unit that has struggled mightily on their California road trip. This time, it was star defenseman Drew Doughty who lit the lamp, blasting a one-timer ticketed for the top corner. Back at even strength, Philadelphia's strong play disappeared, and the Kings kept the Flyers from generating any real attack time through the rest of the first period.
The second period was a more back-and-forth affair. Coach Dave Hakstol chose to shake up his lines in an attempt to spark his struggling squad, but the cosmetic adjustments resulted in the same old story - Philadelphia only looked remotely dangerous when a line centered by Giroux or Couturier was on the ice. Despite a few high-quality chances for both sides in the period, neither squad was able to score, and the score remained 2-0 after forty minutes of play.
To the Flyers' credit, they pushed back in the third period. While Los Angeles continued their aggressive neutral zone tactics that had worked so well in the first two periods, Philadelphia matched them with smart plays of their own. Jakub Voracek was able to force Jake Muzzin into a penalty with 12 minutes remaining, and the Flyers power play ended Jonathan Quick's shutout as a result. Wayne Simmonds pounced on a rebound from a Voracek shot, and slipped a pass around Quick and through the crease to Brayden Schenn. Schenn then deposited the puck into the wide-open net to make the score 2-1.
The remainder of the game was all Philadelphia, but Jonathan Quick stood tall. The Flyers even earned a late power play with only three minutes remaining, but the Kings' goaltender was always there to prevent Philadelphia from completing the comeback. As a result, the team's California road trip proved fruitless, and they'll push for a better fate next week when they return to the Wells Fargo Center.
Comment of the Night:
Sheetz gas pump didn’t auto stop when my tank was full. Shoes are drenched. Get a speeding ticket on the way home trying to pass a guy who sped up and wouldn’t let me pass. I get home to watch this mess. I didn’t know the day would keep getting worse.