After splitting the first two games of the lengthy six-game road trip, The Flyers closed out their California portion of the trip by taking on the L.A Kings. The Flyers welcomed back Scott Laughton to the starting lineup, having missed seven games with a groin injury. This is a game the Flyers needed to win to keep pace with the third-place Penguins.
The Flyers haven’t played their best hockey on the road trip and the Kings struggle to score goals, averaging 2.5 goals per game. Well, nobody told the Kings that they weren’t supposed to score goals.
In the First Period, The Flyers looked like they had the jump in the beginning as the captain, Claude Giroux, had a really good scoring chance on the very first shift. It would be short-lived as Kyle Clifford scored first, potting his fifth of the season. On the very next shift, it was Clifford again who forced Robert Hagg to take a penalty which the Kings took advantage of as Alex Iaffalo scored to give the Kings a 2-0 lead around the seven-minute mark of the first.
The wheels seemed ready to fall off as Scott Laughton took a silly roughing penalty and the Kings’ Tyler Toffoli potted his eleventh of the season and the King’s third goal in the first nine minutes. It should be noted that Brian Elliot made one hell of a toe save on Toffoli. Unfortunately for the Flyers, the rebound went right back onto Toffoli’s tape and he buried it.
Just under four minutes left in the period, the Flyers got a powerplay. Anze Kopitar was called for a high stick penalty. It was the Flyers’ chance to claw back into this game. Well, it didn’t work that way and the Kings scored on a short-handed two on one rush. Adrian Kempe potted his eighth of the season. The first ended mercifully without any other goals. It was a pitiful first-period performance by the orange and black.
Second Verse, Flyers Get on the Board
Vigneault needed to do something and he started the period off with a goalie change. Carter Hart took over for Elliot between the pipes. He was tested early as the Kings had all the momentum in the period, spending a majority of the first five minutes in the Flyers’ zone. The Flyers looked flat as if they were ready to mail this one in. They continued with bad clearing attempts and passes to players in black sweaters.
The play continued in this fashion with the Flyers sloppy play. Players had bad passes to nobody, running into each other and turning the puck over. That game seemed to change when Kings’ defenseman Kurtis McDermid took a run at Ivan Provorov. The hit attempt looked high and McDermid ended up into the Flyers’ bench afterward. Flyer’s announcer Jim Jackson remarked that the hit looked predatory. It appeared that McDermid hit Provy with an elbow. In keeping with the inconsistent officiating, no penalty was called. The Flyers took out their frustration by potting their first goal of the game. Justin Braun netted his first of the season.
The Kings’ continued to play undisciplined hockey, giving the Flyers another power-play and hope to get back into the game. The Flyers couldn’t generate much, but the Kings sure tried. They sprung Jeff Carter on a shorthanded breakaway. Hart stopped him cold. He had to stop another breakaway chance as fresh out of the penalty box walked in forcing Hart to make another great save. The period ended with a Kings’ powerplay and a 4-1 lead.
Third Period, Too Little Too Late
Martin Frk scored on the powerplay to start the third period. The Kings went three for three on the power-play. The Flyers would get one back later when Giroux scored a power-play goal. Laughton then added the Flyers’ third goal when he kicked in a Braun shot from the point. After watching the replay I am surprised the goal wasn’t reviewed. The third period wasn’t that eventful other than the three goals, back and forth play. Once again, the Flyers run into a goalie that will stop everything.
The takeaway here is that the Flyers didn’t mail in the game. They fought hard to be able to pull Hart with just under three minutes left. Farabee almost made it a one-goal game had Quick not made an amazing save. The Flyers fell short and need to move on.
Braun and Voracek both had multiple points on the night. Laughton scored in his first game since being activated from injured reserve, however, his two penalties cost the Flyers two goals. Joel Farabee had a solid game and created chances. Newly named all-star Travis Konecny added to his team point lead with an assist.
The road woes continue for the Flyers. With the way they play at home, I speak for everyone when I say that Disney on Ice can piss off. I want more home games around the holidays. The road trip doesn’t get any easier as the Flyers take on Las Vegas Thursday and follow that up with a game in Arizona on Saturday. I want to end by wishing everyone a healthy and happy new year!
Mandatory Credit – © Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports