LOS ANGELES - There are two ways to look at the Flyers' 2-1 win in Los Angeles Saturday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings.
The glass-is-half-full theory: The Flyers played with grit - blocking 22 shots to the Kings' three - and got great play from goalie Steve Mason and their penalty killers, ending a nine-game road losing streak that could launch their playoff drive.
The glass-is-half-empty theory: The Flyers are far from out of their rut. The Kings had a huge territorial advantage and dominated over most of the last 40 minutes, outshooting the Flyers, 31-9, in the last two periods, and the visitors won only because Mason stole two points.
The Flyers, naturally, are taking the former approach.
"They outshot us, but we stuck together and played as a team," captain Claude Giroux said. "And when we had a chance to score, we did."
"Obviously, it's a confidence-boost for us," winger Jake Voracek said.
Ironically, the Flyers had a better all-around performance in the first two games of the West Coast trip - allowing a goal with 11.5 seconds left in a 2-1 loss in San Jose and suffering a 5-4 shootout defeat in Anaheim - than they did in the win over the Kings, who had a 38-16 shots advantage.
"I think we've played good hockey on this road trip," coach Craig Berube said. "We went into San Jose and deserved two points. We blew that game. We made a bad mistake at a bad time. Went into Anaheim and battled hard against a real good team and got a point. And we won a game [Saturday]. This is a tough road trip; these teams are tough to play against, and we matched them, in my opinion."
The Flyers (9-13-4) end their five-game, 11-day road trip Tuesday in Columbus (9-15-2). The Blue Jackets have won three straight.
"We have a lot of experienced guys, so we should stay calm, and there's a lot of season left," Voracek said. "Just dig in together and pick up some points on the road."
Mason said the Flyers have to build off the win in L.A.
"We've lingered too long and put ourselves in a pretty decent hole," Mason said. "When you look at the standings, we've got to start making up ground now."
The Flyers scored the first goal in all three West Coast games - after failing to score first in the season's first 11 road games. Because of the early goals, they weren't chasing the game.
They hope to continue setting the tone against Columbus, which is 1-1 against the Flyers this season. The Blue Jackets started the Flyers' tailspin - 10 losses in 11 games before Saturday's win - by scoring a 4-3 win Nov. 14 despite missing eight injured regulars. Eight nights later, the Flyers won the rematch, 4-2.
Mason's 37 saves Saturday were the most he has made in a win this season. . . . Defenseman Michael Del Zotto returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for two games; he played 15:10 and had two turnovers and three blocked shots. "He looked a little bit nervous at first, but I thought he got his feet under him," Berube said. . . . Former Flyer Scott Hartnell has 16 points and is minus-12 for Columbus.