Bill Meltzer: Flyers Gameday: 12/6/14 @ LA; Phantoms Update, Flyers Alumni

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PREVIEW: FLYERS @ KINGS

Concluding a California road trip and looking to snap a six-game winless drought, the Philadelphia Flyers (8-13-4) will take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings (14-7-5). Game time at the Staples Center i 4:00 p.m. EST. The game will be televised on CSN Philadelphia.

This is the second and final meeting between the teams this season.

On Oct. 28, a 38-save performance by Ray Emery and a Brayden Schenn overtime goal that was upheld on video review keyed a 3-2 Flyers win in OT.

The Flyers make a Dec. 9 stop in Columbus before returning home for three games. The Kings start a five-game road trip on Tuesday with a game in Buffalo. Flyers outlook

The Flyers are 0-1-1 on the road trip thus far. The club is 0-4-2 over its last six games and 1-8-2 over its last 11 games.

On Tuesday, the club dropped an emotionally wrenching 2-1 regulation decision in San Jose on a Sharks goal with 11.5 seconds left in regulation. On Wednesday in Anaheim, the Flyers blew a 3-1 lead and then rallied from a 4-3 deficit as Wayne Simmonds scored with 2.6 seconds left on the third period clock to force overtime. The Ducks prevailed via shootout for the second time this season against the Flyers.

Simmonds tallied his ninth and 10th goals of the season in the Anaheim game. During the road trip to date, Michael Raffl, R.J. Umberger and Sean Couturier (San Jose game) ended goal droughts

Steve Mason has started both games of the road trip thus far. He was superb in San Jose, average in Anaheim. In each of the last two games, Vincent Lecavalier and Michael Del Zotto have been healthy scratches. It is not known as of this writing how the Flyers will line up for Saturday’s game. Kings outlook

Entering this game, the Kings sport a gaudy 11-3-1 record on home ice. On paper, that does not bode well for a Flyers club that enters play with a 2-9-2 road record.

The Kings are 3-1-0 in their last four games, including back-to-back wins leading into Saturday’s tilt with the Flyers. On Tuesday, Jonathan Quick posted a 31-save shutout of the visiting Boston Bruins and made a first period Tanner Pearson goal stand up the rest of the way until Tyler Toffoli added an empty-net insurance marker in the final minute of the game. Anze Kopitar assisted on both goals. LA did not have to kill a penalty the entire game.

Defenseman Slava Voynov remains suspended indefinitely by the NHL while undergoing potential criminal prosecution in a domestic battery case. Veteran sniping forward Marian Gaborik is out with an upper-body injury. Key team stat comparisons (NHL overall ranking)

Non-shootout goals per game: Flyers 2.64 (T-16th), Kings 2.69 (14th)

Non-shootout goals against per game: Flyers 3.08 (24th), Kings 2.08 (3rd)

Even strength Goals For/Against Ratio: Flyers 0.88 (25th), Kings 1.30 (5th)

Power play efficiency: Flyers 23.5% (4th), Kings 17.6% (18th)

Penalty killing efficiency: Flyers 74.14 (30th), Kings 84.6% (9th)

Faceoff percentage: Flyers 51.5% (T-11th), Kings 51.6% (10th) Projected lineups (Subject to change, will be updated)

FLYERS

10 Brayden Schenn – 28 Claude Giroux – 93 Jakub Voracek

12 Michael Raffl – 49 Scott Laughton – 17 Wayne Simmonds

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

36 Zac Rinaldo – 78 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – 76 Chris VandeVelde

5 Braydon Coburn – 55 Nick Schultz

8 Nicklas Grossmann – 32 Mark Streit

47 Andrew MacDonald – 22 Luke Schenn

35 Steve Mason / 29 Ray Emery

Scratches: Michael Del Zotto (healthy), Carlo Colaiacovo (healthy), Vincent Lecavalier (healthy).

KINGS

70 Tanner Pearson – 11 Anze Kopitar – 77 Jeff Carter

23 Dustin Brown – 28 Jarret Stoll – 14 Justin Williams

74 Dwight King – 10 Mike Richards – 73 Tyler Toffoli

13 Kyle Clifford – 22 Trevor Lewis – 71 Jordan Nolan

6 Jake Muzzin – 8 Drew Doughty

3 Brayden McNabb – 2 Matt Greene

44 Robyn Regehr – 27 Alec Martinez

32 Jonathan Quick

[31 Martin Jones]

Scratches: Marian Gaborik (upper body), Jamie McBain (healthy), Andy Andreoff (healthy), Slava Voynov (NHL suspension).

********* PHANTOMS UPDATE: BLOWOUT LOSS TO WB/S, BUSY WEEKEND

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ gauntlet of three games in three different towns in less than a 72-hour span got off to an inauspicious start on Friday night. The Phantoms ran into a 5-1 buzzsaw at the hands of the host Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Brett Hextall scored the lone goal for the Phantoms, breaking up a Jeff Zatkoff shutout bid with the Penguins’ leading 4-0 with a little over six minutes left in the third period. The goal was Hextall’s first as a Phantom. Austin Fyten and Petr Straka received the assists.

Starting goaltender Rob Zepp, returning to the lineup from a lower body injury, was bombarded with 21 shots in just 31:44 of duty. Phantoms coach Terry Murray switched goaltenders after Conor Sheary scored to make it a 4-0 game. Anthony Stolarz went the rest of the way, stopping 11 of 12 shots. A late third period goal by Derrick Pouliot closed out the scoring.

The Penguins scored twice apiece in the first and second periods, forcing the Phantoms to chase the game for 53:15 of the game’s 60 minutes. Tom Kuhnhackl opened the scored. Pens’ captain

Tom Kostopoulos then opened a big lead for Wilkes Barre/Scranton with late first period and early second period tallies. Sheary’s goal at 11:44 ended Zepp’s night.

Lehigh Valley mustered 22 shots on Zatkoff for the game but a mere nine (four in the first period, five in the second) through the first 40 minutes. Nick Cousins (minus-two) had three shots on net, along with defenseman Steven Delisle. Jason Akeson had one shot on goal and was minus-three on the night.

Phantoms defenseman Oliver Lauridsen had a rough night. Before getting booted from the game late in the third period on a boarding major and game misconduct, the big Dane absorbed a minus-three at even strength. Mark Alt had two shots on net for the game and was minus-two. Rookie defenseman Robert Hägg was minus-one and had one shot. Fellow Swedish rookie Jesper Pettersson was a healthy scratch for the third straight game.

Lack of discipline was an issue throughout the night for the frustrated Phantoms. The Penguins ended up with seven power plays — the Phantoms’ 7-for-7 on the penalty kill was one of the few positives from the game for the club — to just three for Lehigh Valley. The Phantoms went 0-for-3 on the man advantage.

The Phantoms will try to regroup from the ugly loss and bounce back with a win tonight when they return home to Allentown to host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The game at the PPL Center is Teddy Bear Toss night for the benefit of Valley Youth House. Game time is 7:05 p.m. EST.

On Sunday, the Phantoms and Sound Tigers will complete the home-and-home set with a rematch in Bridgeport, CT. The game has a 3 p.m. EST start time.

******** FLYERS ALUMNI NEWS FROM FLYERSALUMNI.ORG

* In addition to tonight’s Phantoms game having the teddy bear toss event, it is also Legends Night at the PPL Center. The first head coach in Phantoms history, Flyers and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Bill Barber, will be at the game signing autographs from 6:00 – 6:45 PM behind Section 112. All fans in attendance will receive a free poster spotlighting Barber, who steered the Phantoms to the Calder Cup championship in 1997-98.

* On January 15, 2015, the Flyers Alumni team will participate in the Center for Autism 3rd Annual Winter Classic benefit game in Aston, PA. Please come out to the Ice Works Skating Complex to help support this worthy cause. Related events include a silent auction and postgame meet-and-greet and autograph session with Flyers Alumni player.

* Other upcoming Flyers Alumni team games:

Dec. 14, 2014 Buck County Ice Sports, Warminster, PA (4:00 p.m.)

Dec. 28, 2014 vs. Cherokee Alumni. Flyers Skate Zone, Voorhees, NJ (3:30 p.m.)

Jan. 10, 2015: Ice Works, Aston, PA (7:30 p.m.)

March 7, 2015: University of Delaware Ice Arena, Newark, DE (7:00 p.m.)

* Today in Flyers History: On December 6, 1996, the Legion of Doom broke open a road game against the Dallas Stars to power the Flyers to a 6-3 victory. A pair of third period goals by Mikael Renberg and a second period tally by John LeClair keyed the win. The Flyers also got three goals from members of their second line as Rod Brind’Amour, Dale Hawerchuk and Trent Klatt all tallied.

* Flyers team president, former player, coach, and general manager Paul Holmgren was honored for his service to hockey in the USA with the Lester Patrick Award on Dec. 4.

* Former Flyers defenseman and current ice-level television broadcast commentator Chris Therien has done some awareness raising work on the prevention of sudden cardiac arrest on behalf of Simon’s Fund. Bundy, who lost his own sister to sudden cardiac arrest, talks about how checking a heart can save a life:

* Flyers Hall of Fame inductee Brian Propp will be doing public appearance today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the opening of the new Schuylkill Valley Sports in Oaks, PA. On Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., he will be at the Winterland Skate Rink in Glassboro, NJ (201 Rowan Blvd).

* The monthly Flyers Alumni: Then and Now feature will launch on Flyersalumni.org on Monday with a massive profile of the career and post-hockey life of Legion of Doom member Mikael Renberg. The article takes a soup-to-nuts look at Renberg’s career and life from junior prospect to retired player who has gone to college to complete his education.

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