Happy New Year, Flyers’ fans!
Since returning from the very minor COVID pause, the Philadelphia Flyers are 1-0-1, picking up points in both games against the Western Conference. With two games remaining on their road trip, Philly needs to keep this momentum rolling, especially with a chance to sneak into a very early Wild Card spot in January.
If they’d like to achieve this, the orange and black have to dethrone the Los Angeles Kings in a New Years Day version of #FlyersAfterDark.
Puck drop is slated for 10:30PM EST, with the Kings as -172 moneyline favorites and the over/under set at 5.5 goals.
Tale of the Tape
The Flyers are still facing some issues with players in COVID protocol, leaving them a tad shorthanded heading into tonight’s matchup. However, this hasn’t stopped their captain Claude Giroux from still making history.
On the season, Giroux leads the Flyers in points with 27 (11g, 16a). He’ll look to keep rolling against a team where he’s averaged basically a point-per-game against in his career.
Martin Jones will likely get the nod against the team that took a chance on him after going undrafted. In two seasons with the Kings, Jones was the team’s primary backup. He played in 34 games in two seasons, en route to a 16-11-2 record (1.99 GAA, .923 save percentage). He’s been nearly as good in a Flyers’ uniform, as he has a 3.20 GAA and .911 save percentage this season, while also winning his last three starts. Against the Kings, Jones has gone 19-6-3 giving him seven more wins against them than against any other franchise.
It’s funny to reflect and look back at how many former Flyers found their way onto the Kings roster during the 2010-2020 decade, as many of those names hoisted a cup during LA’s cup runs. The funny coincidence is also the fact at how similar the Kings are to the Flyers this season as well. The Flyers lost 10 straight games, as the Kings lost six straight, then won seven in a row, which was followed by five more straight losses.
Offensively, Anze Kopitar is continuing to put up points. Their captain has nine goals and 19 assists, giving him the current title of points leader for his team. Adrian Kempe is having a career year so far, and leads the Kings with 13 goals.
Future Hall of Famer Jonathan Quick is still at the helm between the pipes for LA, and has been having another great season. Given that the Kings had New Year’s Eve off, Quick will likely get the nod tonight. On the season, he’s showcasing a stellar 2.33 GAA and .923 save percentage en route to a 9-7-4 record.
Bias aside, I do truly believe the Flyers are the better team out of the two. In terms of depth, offensive firepower, and defense (which both teams have struggled badly with this season), the Flyers take the edge. However, tonight just feels like a loss for Philadelphia.
If Quick is between the pipes for LA, I have a feeling that the Flyers’ scoring woes will get the best of them. If you look at his 2021 game logs, Quick only loses games that he allows more than three goals, showing how much impact he has on the team in front of him. If he goes, then the team goes, as they are not very high scoring themselves. Given that the Flyers do not score more than two, maybe three, goals in most of their games, tonight may not go in their favor.
Chalk up a 4-2 loss for the orange and black.
Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire