NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 1st (All times Eastern)
Philadelphia Flyers (26-23-6) at Los Angeles Kings (30-20-6), 4 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The struggling Los Angeles Kings will try to avoid their eighth loss in nine games when they welcome the Philadelphia Flyers for Saturday's afternoon battle at Staples Center.
The Kings have been plagued by a lack of offensive production during their recent 1-6-1 stretch, scoring a total of 10 goals during the funk. The scoring problems have been at their worst over the last five games, as Los Angeles has managed to notch only three goals while posting a 1-4-0 record over that span.
All told, L.A. is ranked 29th in the league this season with an average of 2.29 goals per game. Despite the lack of offense, the Kings are still sitting in third place in the Pacific Division, but Vancouver is only three points back.
The Kings' lone win during their last eight outings came in Monday's 1-0 road victory over San Jose. However, L.A. was shut out 3-0 the following night at Phoenix before returning home to drop Thursday's 4-1 decision against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Anze Kopitar registered LA's lone goal on Thursday, while starting goaltender Jonathan Quick was chased after giving up three goals on seven shots in the first period. Martin Jones made 14 saves in relief for the Kings.
Pittsburgh went 2-for-3 on the power play, scoring once on a 5-on-3 advantage.
"If you give any team a five-on-three they are going to create chances," Quick said.
The Kings fell for the second straight time at the Staples Center and are 16-8-3 as the host this season. L.A. is playing the second test of a four-game homestand on Saturday and has lost two straight, three of four and six of its past eight as the host against Philadelphia.
Los Angeles has won the last two encounters with the Flyers overall, but the teams haven't played each other since the Kings recorded a 3-2 overtime win in Philly on Oct. 15, 2011. That game marked former Flyers captain Mike Richards' first game against his old team and fellow ex-Philadelphia forward Jeff Carter will face the Orange and Black for the first time today.
Carter and Richards were selected with the 11th and 24th overall picks, respectively, of the 2003 draft and were part of four playoff runs in Philadelphia before both were traded on June 23, 2011. Richards was dealt to L.A. for forwards Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds and a second-round pick in 2012, while Carter was shipped to Columbus for forward Jakub Voracek and a first and third-round pick in the 2011 draft.
In February of 2012, several months after Richards' return to Philadelphia to face the Flyers in October, the Blue Jackets traded Carter to the Kings. Both Carter and Richards wound up helping the Kings to their first Stanley Cup title that spring.
Justin Williams is another ex-Flyer who played a big role for the Kings during their 2012 title run. He was dealt to Carolina during the 2003-04 season and has recorded seven goals and seven assists in 19 career games against the club that drafted him with the 28th overall pick of the 2000 draft.
The Flyers will face these familiar faces today after losing the opener of their California road trip Thursday in Anaheim. Philadelphia dropped a 5-3 decision to suffer its fifth loss in six games.
Steve Mason surrendered four goals on 27 shots in Thursday's defeat. Michael Raffl, Matt Read and Vincent Lecavalier scored goals in the loss.
After facing the Kings today, the Flyers will cap their three-game tour of the Golden State this Monday in San Jose. Philadelphia has lost three straight on the road and is just 12-13-5 as the guest this season.
"It's a big road trip. It really is. I think we're going to see what we're all about here," said Flyers head coach Craig Berube after Thursday's loss.
With 58 points, Philadelphia is currently one point out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
02/01 11:31:04 ET