After edging out the Anaheim Ducks in the second half of a back-to-back Sunday night, the Philadelphia Flyers look to enter 2020 on a positive note. To wrap up the past year, the Orange and Black will square off against the Los Angeles Kings.
The Flyers were the first team to play in the decade, playing in the 2010 Winter Classic game, and will be the last team to play in the decade, playing at 9 P.M. on 2019’s New Years Eve.
The Flyers close out 2019 at the Staples Center, taking on former friend Jeff Carter. Catch the game at 9 p.m. EST with coverage beginning at 8:30 on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
The Flyers are -120 Moneyline favorites with the over/under set at 5.5 goals.
Know Your Enemy
Tuesday night’s game will be the first of two times these two clubs face-off.
For a while, the Kings at one point were basically the “Flyers of the West.” Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne, and Justin Williams all spent significant years in Philadelphia playing for the Flyers. Richards, Carter, and Gagne went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010. Ron Hextall was even their assistant general manager and John Stevens was their assistant coach. In 2011, all of the mentioned went on to pick up a ring with Los Angeles.
However, after a decade long reign of dominating the Western Conference, the Kings finally started to come off their peak. The Kings are on the decline after making the playoffs seven times in nine seasons, a span where they also won two rings. This is much different than what they, and we, are used to seeing.
Anze Kopitar leads the Kings in all major scoring categories, with 15 goals, 20 helpers, totaling 35 points. Goaltender Johnathon Quick hit a major decline with the lack of help from his defense. After years of being considered the “greatest goalie in the world,” Quick now leads the NHL with 15 losses. His .893 save percentage and 3.05 goals-against average sits at the bottom of the league among regularly starting goaltenders.
This whole season has been a struggle for the Kings. Their 16-21-4 record is a bit skewed, as they have had the easiest strength of schedule by far.
A Must Win
This game is a must-win for Philadelphia. After losing the first game of this road trip to the San Jose Sharks, the Flyers can’t go 1-2 against the easier competition on this trip. Philadelphia has a tough stretch ahead, playing three opponents (Vegas, Arizona, Carolina) with a combined 64-45-12 record to wrap up the road trip.
As for momentum, the Flyers need to bring positive momentum into 2020. Last season, after firing Dave Hakstol, the guys sparked a 25-22-4 run after starting 12-15-4 and losing five straight going into 2019. The spark a win going into the new year could only symbolize what is to come for the Flyers in 2020 and need to stay on the right track.
If you didn’t get the hint above, the Flyers need to win this game. For the sake of starting off the new year right and beating up on the weaker teams, the Flyers must find a way.
Good teams win, but great teams always find a way to win, no matter the circumstances. Squeezing out another win against the West Coast teams no matter how tired is crucial. The Flyers can show their true colors heading into the new decade.
The Flyers have found success on NYE in franchise history, flashing a 9-6-2-2 record. They will move it to 10 wins tonight, as they close out the Kings.
Flyers win, 4-2.
Mandatory Credit – Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports