Don’t look now but the Flyers are the second hottest team in the league, folks.
Yes, you read that right. The Flyers own the NHL’s second longest winning streak at six games after they dispatched the Stars, 2-1, on Saturday night. Only the league-leading Lightning (seven games) have a longer streak rolling than Dave Hakstol’s bunch at the moment.
The Flyers will look to push their own streak to seven games when they welcome the Los Angeles Kings to the Wells Fargo Center on Monday night. The Kings, now led by former Flyers coach John Stevens, are off to a great start and lead the Pacific Division with a 20-10-4 mark.
After a hard-fought win against the Stars on Saturday, the Flyers will face another stiff test from a Kings team that is third in the league in goals allowed. That’s in large part to the return of Jonathan Quick in net, but also a testament to the Kings’ deep defense led by perennial all-star Drew Doughty.
Quick is top-six in both goals-against average (2.33) and save percentage (.924) while posting two shutouts after making just 17 starts a year ago as the Kings missed the playoffs. Captain Anze Kopitar is enjoying a fine season, leading the Kings with 39 points (17G, 22A) in 34 games.
But the Flyers have been goal-prevention wonders themselves lately, allowing just 1.50 goals per game during their six-game winning streak. A major part of that success have been the play of Brian Elliott in goal, and the veteran is coming off a great outing against Dallas in stopping 27 of 28 shots in the win.
Secondary scoring has been inconsistent at best this season, but of late the Flyers have gotten key goals from the likes of Michael Raffl, Valtteri Filppula, Scott Laughton and others. But while the secondary scoring has helped tremendously during the winning streak, it was the household names getting it done against the Stars.
Shayne Gostisbehere scored both Flyers goals against the Stars, both assisted by Jake Voracek and a lone assist for captain Claude Giroux on the night. In a game where Ken Hitchcock had his Stars put a strangle hold on open ice throughout, the Flyers’ stars were able to make a pair of power play markers count to get two points.
Voracek continues to rack up the points, and is tied for third in the league with 40 points. He has seven points in his last five games while Giroux has been just as hot with two goals and five assists in that same stretch.
Giroux, Voracek and the Flyers’ power play will have another massive challenge on their hands in the Kings’ top-ranked penalty kill. The Kings don’t blow you away at even strength or with their power play (26th-ranked), but they own the league’s second-best five-on-five save percentage (behind the Flyers) and don’t give up many power play goals.
In any event, the Kings a tough team to play against and will limit the time and space the Flyers have again much like the Stars did. This time around the Flyers might not be so lucky as to have six power plays chances, and if they do, they’ll certainly earn any goals they can find on the man-advantage.
Flyers projected lineup
Giroux - Couturier - Simmonds
Raffl - Filppula - Voracek
Weal - Patrick - Weise
Leier - Laughton - Konecny
Provorov - MacDonald
Gostisbehere - Hagg
Sanheim - Gudas