Kings knocked for a loop by Flyers
Game 23: Flyers 3, Kings 2
Make no mistake, this game may become a harbinger of things to come. The Kings lost against the Flyers on Wednesday, facing Philly's backup goaltender, Brian Boucher, who hadn't played since Oct. 28. But it wasn't for lack of trying on the Kings part.
The Kings outshot the Flyers, including a 21-shot barrage that only resulted in one goal by Drew Doughty. The only other Kings goal was a flukey goal by Jarret Stoll in the first, shot from a seemingly impossible angle.
The Kings also dominated in the faceoff circle, as well as goading the Flyers into the penalty box several times. In the first period, the Kings had a two-man advantage, but could only muster one shot. Justin Williams had 8 shots on goal, and Anze Kopitar added six shots,but their linemate, Alexander Frolov couldn't balance out the attack tomake that line cohesive.
The loss of Ryan Smyth is quite apparent, as he is the obvious lynchpin of the offense. When Rob Scuderi went down to injury, I wasn't too worried, because the Kings had just acquired Randy (Not That One) Jones, providing them much-needed depth. The team was able to absorb that loss on the blueline. But what about an offensive player. Do the Kings have that same depth up front?
Is the answer moving up someone else to that top line? Frolov is serviceable, but lacks that offensive temerity to make him a serious threat offensively. Simmonds played admirably on the first line earlier in the season, but that was in place of Williams. Brown has a nice linemate in Stoll, and moving him up would cripple the Kings plan of attack, which is rolling out three scoring lines. Matt Barry claims El Deano is in Manchester, evaluating talent. The answer, quite simply, is let's wait and see.
Word has it Smyth will be out for a couple of weeks, which on the surface sounds like a lot of games. But realistically, he'll only miss five to seven games, including matches against mid-level teams like Edmonton and Vancouver and bottom-feeders Anaheim and St. Louis. I will be ecstatic if the Kings finish the next eight games above .500. But that would require someone, ANYONE, on this team to step up and assume the mantle of leader. Until then, hold on your hats. It could get ugly.
There has been more prosperity this season than most in recent memory, but it's worth wondering how long that will last now that left wing Ryan Smyth is projected to be out of the lineup for as long as a month after suffering an upper-body injury Monday.• AP: Backup Boucher keys Flyers’ 3-2 win over Kings
For a few hours, Brian Boucher moved from his usual seat on the Philadelphia Flyers’ bench to the center of the Los Angeles Kings’ target during a 21-shot third period. No wonder this former boy wonder-turned-backup was grateful to sit down again.• NHL.com: Flyers start trip with 3-2 win at Los Angeles
"I didn't think we had out 'A' game by any means, but good teams find a way to grind it out and get a win, and that's what we did tonight," Flyers coach John Stevens said.• LAKings.com: Kings drop tight one
Minus Smyth, largely considered to be the engine that drives the Kings' first line, the Kings generated plenty of shots (39) but not a lot of quality scoring chances. Minus Scuderi, perhaps the team's strongest stay-at-home defenseman, the Kings got burned three times by a talented, opportunistic Flyers bunch.• AP: Smyth out a while with upper-body injury
Smyth is expected to be out of the Kings’ lineup for a few weeks because of an upper-body injury, the club disclosed Wednesday. It’s the first big dose of adversity for Los Angeles, which has the Western Conference’s third best record early in its quest to end a six-season playoff drought.They said it
“For part of the game, we got a pretty good effort. When you lose, you’re always going to analyze the play, and break it down and see what happened. On those goals, I would like to have them all back. Mis-reads, in my view. We played well enough to win, but the Flyers played a real good road game." – Terry Murray, on the team's effort
“We didn’t show up to play, and that’s why we lost the game. The first two periods, we weren’t too solid. It wasn’t like we were playing that bad. We just let them have three easy goals. We can’t have that. We talk, and watch video on our D zone all the time, and when we make little mistakes like that, it’s tough and we’ve got to learn from it.” – Drew Doughty, on the gameAround the Kingdom
• A Queen Among Kings: Kopitar needs Smytty: Flyers 3, Kings 2
Let me make it clear that Alexander Frolov doesn't belong on the top line. I'm not saying he played terribly; I'm merely saying Frolov is best served on, at most, the second line. He was supposed to up his game and compliment Kopitar and Justin Williams on the first line, but nothing changed for Frolov. He looked the same and I'm not sure what to say other than there will be a different left wing on that line Saturday against the Calgary Flames. (Ed. note: NIce to have Connie back. We miss her commentary)• The Royal Half: East Meets West
Justin Williams really stepped it up in the first 2 periods in an effort to make up for the loss of Ryan Smyth. But the fact of the matter is, I wasn't too impressed with the chemistry with Alexander Frolov on that line. Teddy Purcell is playing his way off this roster and there should be a call up from Manchester before Saturdays game against the Calgary Flames. Who will it be? Only Dean Lombardi knows.• The Royal Half: Our Kingdom for a Left Winger
OK fine, I have the answer. I'll play with Kopitar and Williams! I usually play center but I can slide over. I'll play for free Half Season Seats next season and lunch with Heidi Androl. Put me in, Coach Murray!• LAKingsNews.com: Despite being outplayed for most of the game, the Flyers hang on to beat the Kings 3-2
The Flyers’ tying goal was just over exuberance by Quick on a rebound. The second goal was just silly. A knuckle puck. Nice whiff Richards. Way to show that great shot. Should Quick have had that one? The third goal was akin to the first – once again, Quick out of position as he challenged a bit too far and too soon. It’s hard to fault a goaltender for being too aggressive though tonight, it contributed to two goals.• My Views From Section 310: Go Home, Philly
I'm still recovering from the Dodgers abysmal performance in this year's NLCS. I'm tired of everything Philadelphia. About the only thing I enjoy from Philly is The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. A Kings win tonight would have helped in my recovery process. Unfortunately, it just wasn't meant to be. Kings Lose 3-2 to the Flyers.• LA Kings Examiner: Injury bug finally bites Kings
Never mind about the lack of swine flu vaccines - what the CDC really needs to investigate is the fact that the National Hockey League is being devastated by the injury bug so far this season. It seems as though it has finally infected the Los Angeles Kings.• HockeyBuzz.com: Flyers Outlast Kings, 3-2
The Kings did not decide this morning who, if anyone, would be brought up from Manchester to replace Smyth. Dean Lombardi is there evaluating. Couldn't have been much since they lost 2-1 in a shootout tonight.• LAKingsInsider.com: The Frolov Experiment
Alexander Frolov, playing on the first line, looked strong on the puck, but he usually does. The problem is, he did exactly what Terry Murray predicted he might do. He often passed the puck out of trouble, instead of trying to take it to the net (or just putting it on goal), and other times did a nice job with puck possession down low, but it didn’t lead to a scoring opportunity.From across the aisle, the Philadelphia viewpoint
• Philly.com: Boucher bounces back for Flyers in win over Kings
He was able to keep the NHL's leading scorer, Anze Kopitar, off the board. Kopitar has 14 goals and 32 points. The Slovenian star nearly found the twine in the first period on a wicked turnaround blast, but the shot hit the crossbar.• Broad Street Bull: Boucher solid as Flyers outlast Kings
With about 10 seconds left and the Kings' goalie pulled for an extra attacker, a shot by Anze Kopitar went through Boucher's legs and trickled ever so slowly toward the open net....but went wide by a few inches.• Broad Street Hockey: Pyorala Powers Flyers 3-2 Win Over Kings
Speaking of young guys, that Drew Doughty fellow they've got over there is ridiculous. Glad he's not in the East.• The Flying P Blog: LA Night-Capped
Finally, it's good to see Randy Jones find a place back in the NHL. I wish it didn't come at the cost to the Flyers' cap that it does but he is a serviceable defenseman and deserves the shot he's getting. Wish him the best out there in LA.• FlyersGoalScoredBy.com: Flyers win a gross one
Two things I remember from last night's game - bouncing pucks and dudes getting drilled face first into the boards. Glad we don't have to go back to that whore house again for two years.• Philly.com: Jones back in the NHL, feeling like a King
"I have a soft spot in my heart for Jonesy," Flyers coach John Stevensadmitted. "He went through some injuries in the last couple of years,but he's a good player. I wished him good luck. I cheer for him andhope he does well. If they can't do well for us, I want them to do wellfor someone else in the league. He's a good kid."Peeping the dailies