Before Saturday night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings, interim head coach Mike Yeo stressed the importance of the Flyers embracing a “shot-first mentality,” urging the team to take the option to shoot in an effort to increase chances of scoring.
Fortunately for Yeo, the Flyers took well to that message, outshooting the Kings, 36-34.
Unfortunately for the Flyers, Kings goalie Jonathan Quick stood in front of the net for 60 minutes on the opposite end of the ice, standing tall to help his team to a 6-3 win.
Quick is no stranger to frustrating the Flyers — he had a 1.70 goals-against average and .944 save percentage in 15 games (10-3-1) against the Flyers prior to Saturday night. However, the Flyers couldn’t capitalize on most of their opportunities, scoring on just one of five man-advantages and failing to convert on winger Cam Atkinson’s penalty shot. Quick turned aside 33 of the Flyers’ 36 shots.
“Their goalie played well, but it’s all got to be connected,” Yeo said. “It’s all got to be complete, and obviously we generated some opportunities, but I thought that we gave them way too much tonight. Playing on the road, you can’t be trying to score six goals to win a hockey game.”
The Flyers went into the third period down, 4-1, but a five-on-three (plus one extra attacker, thanks to Yeo’s decision to pull goalie Martin Jones) goal from Kevin Hayes and an Ivan Provorov blast from the point helped cut the Flyers’ deficit to two. However, the Kings solidified their lead with an empty-netter, killing the Flyers’ point streak at seven games and handing them their first regulation loss of the West Coast road trip (1-1-1).
Kings score 12 seconds after puck drop
Following morning skate, Yeo commended the Flyers’ defensive zone coverage in their overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. However, the Flyers allowed the Kings to get on the board 12 seconds into the game because of a defensive coverage issue.
Off the rush after Danault won the opening face-off, winger Viktor Arvidsson floated a shot wide of the Flyers’ net. Danault recovered the puck along the left-side boards, ringing the puck around to find an uncovered Arvidsson behind the net. Arvidsson skated out from behind the net unabated, putting a wraparound past Jones.
“I think that’s the least dangerous play that could have happened, but the puck went in,” Provorov said. “I mean, you’re not going to put two D going chasing behind the net, so I thought that was the least dangerous play. But it found a way in.”
Fifteen minutes later, with the game tied, 1-1, the Flyers gave up a goal off a rebound attempt from Trevor Moore with defensemen Provorov and Justin Braun in the vicinity. Provorov had the puck on his stick behind the net moments before, when an attempt to move the puck up for Hayes was intercepted by Arvidsson. For the first time since their Nov. 20 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, the Kings notched a two-goal first period.
Penalties pain Flyers
With less than 1 1/2 minutes left in the first period, Kings winger Brendan Lemieux drew a penalty when Travis Konecny cross-checked him after the puck deflected over the glass and out of play. The needless penalty born out of instigation became an even bigger issue for the Flyers when roughly a minute into the Kings’ power play, defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen was called for a boarding penalty after taking Arvidsson down behind the net.
The penalties created a two-man advantage for the Kings, which bled over to the start of the second period. With roughly 10 seconds left in the five-on-three, center Patrick Brown broke his stick on an Adrian Kempe one-timer, effectively creating a five-on-two scenario. Defenseman Drew Doughty recovered the puck, passed it to center Anze Kopitar, who got the puck back to Kempe for a one-timer past Jones to put the Kings up, 3-1. Konecny was later given a 10-minute misconduct for giving the referees an earful in the third period.
“Give up a goal our first shift and a similar goal in the first period,” Yeo said. “You’ve got to go in, try to have some momentum going into the [second] period, and to put ourselves down five-on-three, that’s pretty tough.”
Before missing time with an injured shoulder sustained on Dec. 1 against the New York Rangers, winger Joel Farabee was just starting to heat up offensively — he scored three goals in the three games, then sat out 2 1/2 weeks on injured reserve. Since his return on Dec. 18, Farabee picked up where he left off and has scored three goals in his last four games, including one in Saturday night’s game against the Kings.
With the Kings up, 1-0, in the first period, Farabee fed captain Claude Giroux cross-seam from behind the net, who fired a one-timer on Quick. Giroux’s shot deflected off Atkinson and Quick, but Farabee was in the right position to tuck the puck into the net behind Doughty with Quick out of position, and tie the game. Farabee had another scoring opportunity in the second period when forward Morgan Frost put a cross-ice pass on his tape above the right face-off circle. Farabee stickhandled around Doughty, but lost the puck as he was driving to the net.
The Flyers round out their four-game West Coast road trip on Tuesday when they face off against the Anaheim Ducks at 10 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Philadelphia).