Flyers outlast Kings for their first winning streak of season
The Flyers have their first winning streak of the season after a hard-fought win Thursday in Los Angeles.
LOS ANGELES – One month and 13 games into the season, the Flyers finally have a winning streak.
Rookie left winger Oskar Lindblom set up one goal and scored another in a three-minute, 12-second span in the second period, sparking the Flyers to a closer-than-it-looks 5-2 win Thursday over Los Angeles at the Staples Center.
The victory gave the Flyers (6-7) their second straight win, both on their four-game Western swing. The trip continues Saturday in San Jose and ends Monday in Arizona.
"Guys are making the plays in the hard areas," defenseman Radko Gudas said. "…I think it's a step in the right direction. It's definitely a better feeling than we had a week ago."
"We had a good penalty kill in the first period and then just kept building on that," said Oskar Lindblom, referring to a successful five-on-three kill. "It was a perfect away game."
Captain Claude Giroux, sent in alone by Sean Couturier, secured the victory by giving the Flyers a 4-2 lead with 5 minutes, 33 seconds remaining. Defenseman Robert Hagg added a 187-foot empty-net goal to close the scoring.
The Flyers have won two straight since a 6-1 loss Saturday to the Islanders at the boo-happy Wells Fargo Center.
"That was embarrassing," right winger Wayne Simmonds said. "…We've had two good games in a row and we just have to keep building. We have to do the simple things really well and following our systems and just keep pushing here."
Kings goalie Jack Campbell, playing in just his 16th NHL game, stopped Dale Weise from the doorstep with a little under 18 minutes left in regulation. Weise had been set up nicely by Jordan Weal, but Campbell made one of his best saves of the night to keep Los Angeles' deficit at 3-2.
A few minutes later, with the Flyers clinging to a precarious lead, Brian "Moose" Elliott made two key saves during the Kings' fifth power play of the game.
Midway through the third, it was Campbell's turn in the goalie spotlight as he stopped Jake Voracek's backhander on a breakaway. But he couldn't deny Giroux five minutes later.
Earlier, Simmonds and the Kings' Jeff Carter scored against their former teams 49 seconds apart in the second period.
Carter knocked in his own rebound while Los Angeles was on its fourth power play to make it 1-1, but Simmonds quickly countered to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead with 9:07 remaining in the second.
Lindblom, operating from behind the goal line, set up Simmonds from the right circle. It was the second consecutive game Lindblom assisted on a goal after getting free from behind the net. On Tuesday, he set up Nolan Patrick's late game-winner, which was scored 21 seconds after the Ducks had tied the game.
"Two games in a row we did a great job of getting the lead back," Couturier said.
"It's always good to get the momentum back right away," Lindblom said.
Lindblom made it 3-1 on a controversial goal with 5:55 to go in the second, scoring on a rebound he kicked into the net. After a long review in the Toronto war room, it was ruled he kicked it in, but that the puck nicked the stick of Los Angeles defenseman Sean Walker, which made it legal.
But the Kings swarmed the net late in the period and got to within 3-2 as Ilya Kovalchuk scored on a rebound with 1:19 left in the second. For the 35-year-old Kovalchuk, who spent the previous five seasons playing in Russia's KHL, it was his 25th goal in 50 career games against the Flyers.
The Flyers had taken a 1-0 lead despite being shorthanded three times, including a five-on-three for 1:36, in the opening 20 minutes. They outshot the turnover-plagued Kings, 13-7, in the first period.
The Flyers got great defensive work from Ivan Provorov, Gudas, and Couturier during the two-man disadvantage, which was highlighted by Elliott's saves on point-blank shots by Dustin Brown and Carter.
"That was huge, especially with our PK not going the way we want right now," Gudas said. "But I think the guys did a great job — a couple of blocks, great reads. I don't think we gave them much. And when we gave them something, Moose was there for us. It was for sure a booster."
"Usually when you don't capitalize on those situations, you give the momentum to the other side," Kings coach John Stevens said.
About five minutes after they killed those penalties, Provorov gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead, converting a feed from Dale Weise with 2:25 to go in the first.
Weise, skating through the right circle, fanned on his shot, but then sent a pass to an on-charging Provorov in the slot. Provorov beat Campbell for his second goal in as many games – after going scoreless in the first 11 contests.
"I think the road trip is what we needed," Provorov said. "Get the boys tighter. Bring everybody closer. And you know, we're rolling right now. I think we're playing the way we're supposed to play."
The Kings (3-8-1), whose slow start has former Flyers coach Stevens on the hot seat, are going in the opposite direction. They have lost seven of their last eight games — and never had the lead in any of those seven defeats. No NHL team has fewer points (seven).
"It's frustrating," Carter said of his team's latest defeat. He said the Kings have allowed too many goals this season right after they have scored, like they did Thursday. "It's happened to my line a bunch. It's just kind of the way things are going right now for us."
Patrick (two assists) had his second straight multi-point game….Lindblom had his first career multi-point game….Elliott had an assist on Hagg's goal….The Flyers have won less than 50 percent of the faceoffs just three times this season — and are 3-0 in those games.