Bill Meltzer: Flyers Gameday: 10/28/14 vs. LA



The Philadelphia Flyers (3-3-2) will try win their third straight game as they take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings (6-1-1), who bring a six-game winning streak into Tuesday night’s match at the Wells Fargo Center. Game time is 7:0o p.m. EDT. The game will be televised locally Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia.

This is the first of two meetings between the teams this season. The clubs will rematch at the Staples Center on December 6.

For the Flyers, tonight’s game marks the conclusion of a two-game mini homestand. The Kings, who are on the front end of a three-in-four-night slate of games, begin a five-game road trip tonight. Hereafter, the Flyers take a two-game road trip through Florida while the Kings have road games against Pittsburgh and Detroit up next on the docket. 2013-14 season series in review

The Flyers and Kings split two games last season. Each club won in regulation on the other’s home ice.

On Feb. 1, 2014, the visiting Flyers got outshot by a 5-13 margin, including a 27-9 disparity over the final 40 minutes. Goaltender Steve Mason played brilliantly. He made an early first period goal by former Kings forward Wayne Simmonds stand up until Claude Giroux was able to add a power play late in the third period to seal a 2-0 win.

On March 24, 2014, the home Flyers trailed 2-0 entering the third period. Deflection goals by Matt Read and Jakub Voracek drew Philly even in the third period before a Dwight King goal for Los Angeles gave LA a 3-2 victory. Former Flyers forwards Jeff Carter and Justin Williams also scored for the Kings.

Jonathan Quick made 30 saves for Los Angeles, with 14 of the Philadelphia shots (and both goals) coming in the final period. Ray Emery stopped 38 of 41 shots. Ray Emery was sharp in net but the Williams goal was a bit of a strange bounce off the goaltender. The loss halted a Flyers’ five-game winning streak that saw them sweep a home-and-home with Pittsburgh and then defeat Chicago, St. Louis and Dallas in succession. Flyers outlook

The Flyers enter this game coming off a 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. After Detroit took an early 1-0 lead, Emery held the fort to keep the Flyers to within one goal. The Red Wings racked up a 20-5 shot advantage through nearly 35 minutes of minutes of play (finishing with a 37-17 shot edge).

A rare goal by defensive defenseman Nicklas Grossmann tied the game at 1-1 late in the second period. In the third period, the Flyers briefly took a 2-1 lead on a Michael Raffl goal only for Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk to re-tie the game less than a minute later. A mid-third period power play deflection goal by Brayden Schenn put the Flyers ahead to stay. Raffl later scored his second goal of the game, adding an empty netter to seal the 4-2 final.

Voracek enters this game having registered points in seven of the eight games the Flyers have played this season. He leads the club in overall scoring with 11 points (two goals, nine assists). Team captain Giroux is one point behind (two goals, eight assists) while Mark Streit (two goals, five assists) tops the defense corps in points.

Simmonds still leads the Flyers in goal scoring, with five tallies overall and three power play goals among his seven points. However, he is pointless in his last four games despite registering 11 shots on goal during that span.

While the Flyers have emerged as one of the NHL’s top comeback teams, they need to stop chasing games on such a frequent basis. Entering tonight’s game, the Flyers have yielded the match’s first goal in seven of eight games to date.

Emery has played well in each of his three starts to date this season. He is the probable starting goaltender again tonight.

The Flyers expect to have Zac Rinaldo back in the lineup tonight after missing Saturday’s game with an upper body injury. Blair Jones is likely to come out of the lineup as a healthy scratch for head coach Craig Berube’s club.

Defensemen Braydon Coburn (left foot) and Andrew MacDonald (lower body) are expected to be out of the lineup until late November. Center Vincent Lecavalier (left foot) is practicing with the team and may be ready by the weekend. Kings outlook

After starting out the season with an ugly 4-0 home loss to San Jose and an overtime road loss to Arizona, the Kings ran the table in a six-game homestand that saw them beat Winnipeg, Edmonton, St. Louis, Minnesota, Buffalo and Columbus in succession.

On Sunday night, the Kings captured a 5-2 win over the Blue Jackets after trailing 1-0 at the first intermission. Four-point games for Carter (power play goal, three assists) and Tyler Toffoli (goal, three assists) paced the attack along with a two-goal effort for Tanner Pearson. Dwight King notched his first goal of the season to round out the scoring. Quick turned back 22 of 24 shots to earn the win in net.

Carter leads the Kings in overall scoring with five goals, seven assists and 12 points. He was named the NHL’s First-Star of the Week for last week, with six points in just two games. Linemate Toffoli has one fewer goal and one more assist. Pearson leads in goal-scoring with seven, while Drew Doughty’s four points (all assists) pace the defense corps.

The Kings enter tonight’s game with the NHL’s stingiest team defense — a common status for the club in recent years — having yielded just 1.50 goals per game. At even strength, only Minnesota has a superior goals for/goals against ratio than LA.

Two-way center Anze Kopitar left Sunday’s game in the second period with an upper-body injury. He did not return. However, after the game, Kings coach Darryl Sutter said the star center was “all right.” Kopitar has traveled with the team for their road trip. He may be available to play tonight.

Elsewhere on the injury front, sniping forward Marian Gaborik remains day-to-day with an upper body injury. He has not played since the third game of the season. Trevor Lewis is on injured reserve with an upper-body injury. Both Gaborik and Lewis have resumed skating.

Kings defenseman Slava Voynov is not on the trip with the team. The Russian defenseman remains suspended indefinitely by the NHL pending a criminal investigation for alleged domestic abuse. Key team stat comparisons (NHL overall ranking)

Non-shootout goals per game: Flyers 3.25 (T-5th), Kings 2.62 (T-15th)

Non-shootout goals against per game: Flyers 3.50 (T-28th), Kings 1.50 (1st)

Even strength Goals For/Against Ratio: Flyers 0.73 (26th), Kings 1.88 (2nd)

Power play efficiency: Flyers 25.8% (5th), Kings 18.5% (18th)

Penalty killing efficiency: Flyers 77.3% (24th), Kings 85.7% (8th)

Faceoff percentage: Flyers 50.8% (T-13th), Kings 50.8% (T-13th) Projected lineups (Subject to change, will be updated)


12 Michael Raffl – 28 Claude Giroux – 93 Jakub Voracek

10 Brayden Schenn – 78 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – 17 Wayne Simmonds

18 R.J. Umberger – 14 Sean Couturier – 24 Matt Read

36 Zac Rinaldo – 76 Chris VandeVelde – 42 Jason Akeson

8 Nicklas Grossmann – 32 Mark Streit

15 Michael Del Zotto – 55 Nick Schultz

53 Shayne Gostisbehere – 22 Luke Schenn

29 Ray Emery

[35 Steve Mason]

Scratches: Andrew MacDonald (lower body), Braydon Coburn (IR, left foot), Vincent Lecavalier (IR, left foot), Blair Jones (healthy).


70 Tanner Pearson – 77 Jeff Carter – 73 Tyler Toffoli

74 Dwight King – 11 Anze Kopitar(?) – 23 Dustin Brown

15 Andy Andreoff – 28 Jarret Stoll – 14 Justin Williams

13 Kyle Clifford – 10 Mike Richards – 71 Jordan Nolan

6 Jake Muzzin – 8 Drew Doughty

27 Alec Martinez – 44 Robyn Regehr

3 Brayden McNabb – 2 Matt Greene

32 Jonathan Quick

[31 Martin Jones]

Scratches: Marian Gaborik (upper body), Trevor Lewis (IR, upper body), Slava Voynov (NHL suspension).


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