The Philadelphia Flyers head to face off the Los Angeles Kings at the newly renamed Crypto dot com Arena after a 1-0-1 start to the west coast road trip. Despite a calendar flip, the on-ice product was the same as 2021’s.
Well, that didn’t take long. The Flyers came into this game hoping to get a clean slate with the turn of the calendar year, and Viktor Arvidsson had other ideas. Just 12 seconds in, he scored on a wraparound chance, and the Flyers went down 1-0. Ivan Provorov was just a second too late with his stick, which cost them.
It wasn’t a great start, but the Flyers began to settle in as the first period slowly ticked away. They earned a power play, on which they did not manage to convert. Cam Atkinson even drew a penalty shot thanks to Phillip Danault diving to try and poke the puck away. Jonathan Quick (and his .923 Sv% heading into this game) stopped it with an athletic right pad save. However, the game would quickly become tied afterward, thanks to the red hot stick of Joel Farabee. It’s his 10th goal of the season and an important goal to help the Flyers regain some confidence and get some energy.
The Kings didn’t go away, though. Trevor Moore and his linemates (Arvidsson and Danault) struck again to retake the lead just 1:27 later. All he had to do was chip in a puck left in front for him by Danault, and he did just that. The net-front defense by the Flyers has been awful all season, and 2022 didn’t change it either.
To end the period, the Flyers took two penalties. Travis Konecny took the first thanks to a cross-check jab to the back of the notorious Brendan Lemieux. Rasmus Ristolainen took the second on the penalty kill by boarding Arvidsson, who has been on the scoresheet in almost every conceivable way.
The Flyers didn’t have an awful first period, but some big mistakes led to goals, and they had to kill two penalties to begin the second period. It was an entertaining period thanks to the lack of defense being played, but one that I’m sure the Flyers wished they could have taken advantage of more.
Well, at least it wasn’t 12 seconds in. Instead, it only took 47 seconds! The Flyers killed off the first penalty, but Adrian Kempe managed to blast one by Jones right as it expired. There wasn’t much the goaltender could do on the play. The passing was excellent, resulting in the Kings gaining a two-goal lead.
Chances went both ways until the regularly scheduled commercial break at the middle of the frame, but the best came from the stick of Blake Lizotte, who took advantage of a weird bounce off Keith Yandle and hit the post when he was in alone. The Flyers were extremely fortunate not to have gone down three goals, and it’s one of those plays where you can’t fault the defenseman. Although, it seems to be happening a lot when it comes to Yandle. What to do with him on the back end is still not entirely clear. I’m sure many people want to see him reach history in his iron man streak, but when does his leash become TOO short? He doesn’t seem to be tracking the puck well, and his defense has cost the Flyers some crucial momentum and goals.
The Flyers’ fourth line was a huge bright spot during the game. They were hunting down pucks relentlessly, and they almost put the puck in the net from the right faceoff dot. It’s too bad Quick has some incredible reflexes; otherwise, the Flyers may have cut the lead in half. He stoned Morgan Frost just moments after too.
Right off the draw, Arthur Kaliyev made a sweet breakout pass by Yandle right to the stick of a streaking Lemieux, who owned Kevin Connauton in the 1v1, and he tapped it right by the pad of Jones. He slid slightly too far to the right, and the puck slowly hit the post and trickled over the goal line. It certainly was not the goal that Jones wanted to give up at this stage of the game, and the frustration was evident as he looked towards the rafters in disgust. That goal gave the Kings a 4-1 lead.
The Flyers got a chance to get a goal back after Lemieux took a clipping penalty on Ristolainen, but they couldn’t convert, and the rest of the period was pretty back and forth until the buzzer sounded. Philadelphia took a 4-1 deficit back into the locker room. There wasn’t much to be excited about in that period outside of the fourth line.
The Flyers came into the period with the goal of clawing back into the game, and an early penalty allowed them to do just that. Sean Durzi hooked Lindblom, and off to the box he went. The power play was interrupted by Konecny getting a 10-minute misconduct for giving an earful to the referee. He thought there should have been a hooking call, but there wasn’t. He got angry about it (in TK fashion), and he paid the price. Just 17 seconds, Provorov drew a hooking penalty (albeit a weak one), and it paid off. Mike Yeo called timeout, drew up a play and pulled the goalie to make the play a 6-on-3. Kevin Hayes, who had just come off the bench for the goaltender, set up in the right circle, and Claude Giroux fed it to him. He one-timed it home and cut the lead to 4-2.
Phew! A very chaotic yet calculated strategy resulted in a goal, and the Flyers still had a power play to work with. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get anything by Quick on this particular man advantage.
The Flyers’ fourth line continued to make appearances in the game. They managed the puck well on the rush, and if it weren’t for some unlucky bounces in front, they probably would have scored multiple goals. They deserved much better results tonight than the scoresheet may have indicated. Their support on pucks along the wall and their eagerness to battle for it will serve them well in the long run.
The Flyers held the momentum for most of the period until the trio of Arvidsson, Moore, and Danault struck for the third time in the game. This time, it was Danault on a one-time rush shot thanks to a great stretch pass from Arvidsson and Moore’s even better cross-ice pass. Yandle pinched, which created the odd-man rush, and Connauton didn’t play the pass as well as he probably could have, and it cost them. That goal gave the Kings a 5-2 lead.
Patrick Brown created an excellent chance after making a move with some silky mitts, but Quick was there to save it, just as he was seemingly all night. The Flyers appeared to be going quietly, but Provorov had different plans, as he took a sweet feed from Farabee and one-timed it by Quick to make the score 5-3 in favor of the Kings.
Jones was quickly pulled from the bench as the Flyers took an offensive zone faceoff draw. They managed to set up three times but couldn’t convert on any of them. Arvidsson got his second of the game in the empty net with an assist from Moore after a big blocked shot at the point. The game would end with a score of 6-3, and the point streak was no more.
One Big Thing
The on-ice result was pretty up and down. The offense was there for parts of the game, and the lack of defense made it at least entertaining to watch. The fourth line is the best thing to come out of this matchup with a Western Conference foe. I’ve mentioned them multiple times, and they deserve it. They made a significant impact on the team in terms of bringing energy when it was needed. Quick played an excellent game saving 34 of 37 Flyers shots. When the shots began to trend towards the perimeter of the offensive zone, the fourth line went out, supported the puck along the wall, and drove hard to the net, looking for any opportunity to put it in the net. They were the line that tilted the ice in the Flyers’ favor before things went down the drain. Hopefully, they can keep these kinds of performances in their back pocket because there have been many times this season where the team could have used the spark they brought tonight.
That’s all from me, everybody. Happy New Year, and go Flyers!