Flyers end calendar year with 4-2 victory over Kings

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Flyers' Noah Cates
Philadelphia Flyers forward Noah Cates celebrates his goal against the Los Angeles Kings during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, in Los Angeles. The Philadelphia Flyers won 4-2. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

For the first time since November 8th, the Philadelphia Flyers have won two consecutive games. After defeating the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, the Flyers beat the Los Angeles Kings today, 4-2, snapping the Kings’ seven-game point streak. After an unpleasant 2022 calendar year for Philadelphia, they will enter 2023 on a high note.

An undisciplined first period by the Flyers, along with some questionable calls, resulted in them trailing 2-1. The Kings were on the power play four times and capitalized on one opportunity. Adrian Kempe opened up the scoring for the Kings while on a two-man advantage. Receiving a pass from Drew Doughty, Kempe’s one-timer just squeaked through Samuel Ersson.

The Flyers found themselves on the power play shortly after Kempe’s goal and Scott Laughton scored a one-timer of his own, tying the game. A passing play from Owen Tippett and Cam York found Laughton on the wing who beat Jonathan Quick to score his eighth of the year.

Just over a minute later, the Kings regained the lead. Phillip Danault stripped the puck off of Tony DeAneglo’s stick and fed a pass to Viktor Arvidsson, who then fed it back to Danault and blasted a slapshot past Ersson.

The second period was mostly quiet until Tippett tied the game near the halfway point. Maneuvering by Kevin Fiala and Blake Lizotte, Tippett sniped a shot on Quick’s glove side, scoring his twelfth goal of the year and his second in two games. DeAngelo’s assist on Tippett’s goal also extended his own point streak to four games. After 40 minutes of action, the game was tied 2-2.

Ersson was tested early on in the third period but stood tall. Noah Cates scored the game-winning shorthanded goal with 6:59 remaining, giving the Flyers a 3-2 lead. On the penalty kill, Cates entered the offensive zone and put the puck on the net, catching Quick off-guard. Cates’ goal was his first since November 15th.

Travis Konecny scored on an empty net with 26.6 seconds remaining to make it 4-2. Sealing a win for the Flyers, Konecny extended his point streak to five games. 

Penalty Kill (+)

The Flyers were on the penalty kill five times, but only conceded once. A unit that is ranked toward the bottom of the league stepped up against a streaky Kings offense. Rasmus Ristolainen blocked six shots throughout the game. Putting his body on the line during the Kings’ final power play, Ristolainen played a huge factor in keeping the Kings’ unit silent after their first goal. He also assisted on Cates’s goal, his second point of the year.

A heavily criticized player, Ristolainen will receive praise, and some ice packs, after his New Year’s Eve performance.

Undefeated Ersson (+)

Continuing to step in for the injured Carter Hart, Ersson is taking full advantage of his call-up from Lehigh Valley. Making 27 saves on 29 attempts, Ersson claimed his second NHL win in his third-ever start. Ersson is proving that the Flyers have goaltending depth beyond Hart in the system.

John Tortorella mentioned that Ersson has played very well since his debut against the Hurricanes. Being pulled and then put back into a game is never easy for any goaltender, but Ersson has improved since then.

“Very calm. Again, going from the Carolina game, it was a little bit of a struggle to take him out and put him back in. I think he’s showing his mind as far as how he can handle himself in a very important position for this team. Good for him, he’s played very well.”

John Tortorella; 12/31/2022

Breakout Tippett (+)

Showing inconsistencies early on this year, Tippett has been finding his flow as of late. He finished with two points (1G, 1A) against the Kings and is showing he is one of the answers to the solution in Philadelphia. Beneficial on both sides of the puck today, he’s starting to learn how to play his style of game, which is decreasing his thoughts and letting him play freely.

“I’m getting used to playing the style of game that’s kind of expected. I think we talked about it before, it takes the thinking out of the game which allows me to play freely and chances like that open up.”

Owen Tippett; 12/31/2022

Up Next

On Monday, the Flyers will conclude their three-game California road trip as they take on the Anaheim Ducks at 10pm.

(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)