Circle the rematch between the Philadelphia Flyers (5-6-1) and the Los Angeles Kings (7-2-2) for next week on November 11th. It’ll serve as a litmus test for how quickly this lineup bounces back after being shut down and out for the first time this season.
During the pregame press conferences, Sean Walker and Travis Konecny noted that some teams underestimate them. A club experiencing injuries in a rebuild sounds like a target limping into battle, but those are the ones that catch the opponents off guard. Stylistically, there is an evolution to the strategy from a season ago.
“At this point, teams, maybe they look at our roster; there’s a lot of the young guys who are first couple of years guys. They’re not looking like how other rosters may look and they get caught off guard by how much skill and talent and speed; the way we play; I think that’s when they’re caught off guard. It’s just the style we’re playing. It’s more difficult than teams are going to think it is.”Travis Konecny; 11/4/2023
Todd McLellan prepared his lineup, and they weren’t caught off guard.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Los Angeles Kings
It didn’t take long for Cal Petersen to get busy against his former team. The Kings pushed the pace from horn to horn. Kevin Fiala moved in on Petersen, but Petersen denied Fiala. Then, the Flyers looked to sustain pressure in the offensive zone, moving the puck effectively with Cam York, Tyson Foerster, and Morgan Frost before Yegor Zamula served a minor penalty for holding. Adrian Kempe drew the hold, using his speed to force the undisciplined error.
On the penalty kill, Travis Sanheim created a three-on-one rush with a poke check in the neutral zone. Instead of taking the shot, he opted for a pass to Ryan Poehling, but the chance dissolved. Then, Kempe served a minor penalty for high-sticking. The penalty kill played well for Cam Talbot, forcing the powerplay shots from the perimeter.
Kempe served his penalty, then made up for the high-sticking. He wanted to succeed more than York when he scored the eventual game-winning goal. York had all the positioning a defenseman could ask for, but his lackadaisical approach allowed Kempe to poke the puck past Petersen, 0-1, with 5:28 remaining in the first period.
Anze Kopitar increased the lead moments later. He recovered a rebound allowed by Petersen and moved the puck to Quinton Byfield when Noah Cates was still looking. Byfield got the puck out to Matt Roy at the blue line, whose shot was deflected by Kopitar, 0-2, with 5:10 remaining in the first period.
Sanheim cleared the crease, helping Petersen to begin the second period. Fiala had another high-quality chance on Petersen. Philadelphia went on the powerplay because Los Angeles had too many men on the ice. It was one of the few man-advantages featuring an established possession in the offensive zone, but there was too much cycling and passing. Konecny had two shots on goal, but overall, there wasn’t enough volume with the extra man.
Nonetheless, the Flyers were back to the powerplay but couldn’t establish possession to threaten Talbot. Owen Tippett did rip a shot off the post after the man-advantage failed. He threatened to end the shutout bid, but it wasn’t to be.
To this point, Philadelphia was 0/3 on the powerplay but 2/2 on the penalty kill. Nick Seeler served a minor penalty for high-sticking, and it was killed successfully, including a two-on-one rush by Konecny and Scott Laughton. Then, York went to the box for a delay of the game minor penalty, and it proved costly.
Phillip Danault missed the net with his shot, and when the puck bounced back in front of Petersen, Seeler and Louie Belpedio couldn’t poke it out of danger. Byfield tipped the puck to Arthur Kailyev for the powerplay goal, 0-3, with 1:59 remaining in the second period.
Blake Lizotte served a minor penalty for hooking, but the Kings’ penalty kill kept the shots outside, minimally pressuring Talbot. The Flyers’ powerplay finished 0/4, and then Trevor Moore scored from outside the right faceoff circle, 0-4, with :16 remaining in the second period.
“If you’re not concentrating and your readiness isn’t there, especially when you play against a team that’s rolling like this, that we played tonight, this is what happens. I’m not sure if we get back into the game. I’m not sure if we hold them to two and score three. I don’t know if that happens, but we’re right there late in the second period, then we’re walking in between periods, four-nothing.”John Tortorella; 11/4/2023
John Tortorella benched York. He didn’t play in the third period, and when asked about York, he added:
“I don’t know. You’re going to have to ask him [York]. I have my thoughts.”John Tortorella; 11/4/2023
Lizotte received a backdoor feed from Alex Laferriere, who won a puck battle briefly against Sanheim to maintain possession after a successful, deep offensive zone entry. On the feed, Lizotte snapped a shot past Petersen, 0-5, with 13:28 remaining in the third period. Los Angeles was tenacious on the forecheck, continuing to outwork, outhustle, and outmuscle to add to the scoreboard.
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers visit the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, November 7th, at 10:30pm.
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)