Game Preview: Flyers look to split season series against Kings

After coming off wins against the top three teams in the NHL, the Flyers were in a prime spot to pick up a season sweep of the Montreal Canadiens. However, Montreal’s recently acquired Ilya Kovalchuk had something to say about it all.

The Flyers (25-17-6) now seek to get back on track Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings (18-26-5).

Catch the game at 7 p.m. EST with coverage beginning at 6:30 on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

The Flyers are -160 Moneyline favorites with the over/under set at 6 goals.

Injury updates

Heading into Saturday night’s matchup, the Flyers have given some injury updates regarding some important players.

Justin Braun

After missing six games due to a groin injury, the veteran is set to return to the Flyers’ blue line Saturday night. So far this season, Braun has 10 goals in 42 games played. Two of those points came back on New Year’s Eve when these two teams squared off, as Braun scored and picked up a helper.

Braun will stabilize the blue line for Philadelphia. Braun’s fill-in, Mark Friedman, has since been loaned back to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, further solidifying Braun’s spot in the lineup against the Kings.

Nolan Patrick

We all know the story of Nolan Patrick, who has been battling migraines for months now. As unfortunate as it is for Nolan, it’s fortunate enough that general manager Chuck Fletcher announced that the organization expects Patrick to play again this season.

The good news is that Patrick was getting in some skating and practice, only encouraging a return (hopefully) in the near future.

Kings’ Quick Recap:

The Los Angeles Kings have had a poor season so far. In fact, the only productive thing in LA is their progress toward the number two pick in the draft (Detroit is somehow 14 points below LA). They only score 2.53 goals on average, while allowing 3.10 per game.

Jonathan Quick has a goals-against average right below three and a save percentage under .900. They have one offensive threat in Anze Kopitar, who averages a point-per-game with 17 goals and 26 assists.

Key to the Game:

Powerplay

To put things in layman’s terms, the Kings’ penalty kill has symbolized their lackluster season so far. They’re 28th overall, stopping just 74% on the season and gave up goals in eight of 10 games at one point last month.

On the Flyers’ end of things, their man advantage has been slow. They have scored a mere two power-play goals in their last seven games, while being gifted 20 chances. Despite a beautiful tick-tack-toe design with the two low wingers sitting at each post, the endless chances they are getting down low just won’t convert. The powerplay is given a prime chance to get back on track tonight.

Jakub Voracek… King Slayer

Dating back to his years in Columbus, Jake Voracek has consistently performed well against the Kings. For his career, Voracek showcases six goals and 13 assists en route to 19 points in 26 career games. In 7 games against LA at Wells Fargo Center, Voracek has produced a point-per-game average.

His recent performance shows signs that this trend will continue Saturday night. Over his past 10 games, Jakub has a goal and nine assists to contribute a point per game. That goal was the overtime game-winner against St. Louis. Even without reaching the stat sheet, Voracek is gleaming with confidence, forechecking hard and creating turnovers.

Look for Jake to be one of the players of the game against the Kings.

Prediction

If there is anything considered a must-win game in January, the Flyers are in that situation right now. This season, Philadelphia has done a good job of beating the teams they need to:

The Kings fall into the non-playoff team category, and Alain Vigneault needs to rally his troops to continue their positive play against such teams.

Flyers win 4-1 as Brian Elliot shines.

Mandatory Credit – © Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Leave a Reply