EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - It will seem a bit strange for several Flyers when they face Los Angeles on Thursday night and see John Stevens behind the host Kings' bench.
Stevens, a Kings assistant, was the Flyers' head coach when many of the team's young, core players began their NHL rise.
Flyers captain Mike Richards is one of those players.
"It'll be good to see him again," Richards said after Wednesday's practice in suburban Los Angeles. "He and I went through a lot together and he really helped me along - and he's a big part of where I am today."
Richards said he and Stevens exchanged good-luck text messages before the season.
Stevens, who was fired and replaced by Peter Laviolette a little over a year ago, is in his first year with the dangerous Kings.
Los Angeles has numerous Philadelphia ties. The Kings are coached by Terry Murray, the former Flyers coach, and L.A. general manager Dean Lombardi and assistant GM Ron Hextall also were with the Flyers. The Kings' Michal Handzus and Justin Williams are ex-Flyers.
The Kings are in second place in the Pacific Division and own the NHL's best home record (13-2-1), while the Flyers have the league's top road mark at 10-3-3.
Former Flyer Luca Sbisa scored his first NHL goal to help Anaheim defeat Phoenix, 3-1, on Tuesday. Sbisa and Joffrey Lupul, who also scored for the Ducks, were acquired in the 2009 deal for Chris Pronger. Sbisa, 20, scored in his 73d NHL game. "It took a long time, but hopefully now they'll come more often," said Sbisa, whose Ducks will host the Flyers on Friday night. . . . The 49 shots allowed by the Flyers in Vancouver on Tuesday were their most since March 11, 2008, when Toronto had 55 shots in its 4-3 overtime win. . . . The Flyers have suffered consecutive regulation losses for the first time since Nov. 16-18. . . . Kings goalie Jonathan Quick entered Wednesday with an 18-7-1 record, a 1.86 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage. - Sam Carchidi