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Kings’ seven-game point streak ends with loss to Flyers

January 1, 2023, 3:33 AM ET [0 Comments]
Ben Shelley
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The Los Angeles Kings wrapped up 2022 with a loss, falling 4-2 to the Philadelphia Flyers today.

The Kings ended up with nearly a two-minute 5-on-3 midway through the first period and Adrian Kempe managed to open the scoring for Los Angeles, ripping a one-timer that squeaked through Samuel Ersson. However, the Flyers responded with a power play goal of their own only a few minutes later, with Scott Laughton beating Jonathan Quick with a well-placed shot. The scoring kept coming only a minute after that though, with Phillip Danault breaking free in the neutral zone and Viktor Arvidsson putting a perfect pass to him up ice, for Danault to fire a shot past Ersson to put the Kings back ahead. Los Angeles ended up spending a lot of time on the power play in the period, having four different chances, but remained up a single goal through 20 minutes.

The second period started slow, with not a ton of chances exchanged in first half of the frame. A little ways into the period, however, Owen Tippett made a nice move to cut to the inside around Kevin Fiala, then beat Quick to tie the game. The Kings did really limit offense from the Flyers after that, giving up only five shots in the period total, but didn’t generate a ton themselves either.

Los Angeles did come out strong in the third period though, outshooting the Flyers badly through the five minutes or so. While the game evened out after that, the Kings had a power play later, but it was the Flyers who scored shorthanded. Noah Cates just entered the zone and threw the puck on net, beating Quick over the shoulder through a screen on his glove side, to give the Flyers their first lead. The Kings ended up taking a late penalty of their own and so they were without much time to be able to press for the tie late, and Travis Konecny buried an empty net goal with less than 30 seconds remaining, as the Kings fell 4-2.

The loss marks the end of the Kings’ seven-game point streak.

Los Angeles played a fine game here, outshooting Philadelphia 25-16 at even strength. That said, a lead was still blown and this seems like one the Kings let slip away.

Maybe it had something to do with having so many power plays early on, and while they did capitalize once, it seemed like that was an opportunity to take hold of the game.

That said, while I don’t necessarily outright blame Jonathan Quick for any of the goals, he wasn’t able to give the Kings a save when needed. He was basically beaten in the same spot on all three goals and lost the goaltending battle. Over the Kings’ last eight games, they’ve lost two of them, with Pheonix Copley going 6-0-0 and Quick losing both starts.

The loss also marked Alex Edler’s 1000th NHL game. Since joining the Kings in the summer of 2021, he’s been a good veteran presence on the blue line and especially at such a low cap hit, Edler has been a solid part of the defense group.

While the top line didn’t score at even strength, using Quinton Byfield on the wing seemed to work. The trio outshot their opposition 6-2 at even strength (though most of those came from Adrian Kempe), as the line managed an expected goals for percentage of 83 per cent, according to NaturalStatTrick.com.

Also though: I know Rasmus Ristolainen gets criticized, but he deserves credit for his role in preserving the third period lead for the Flyers. He blocked probably about five shots in the last stretch of the game, especially on the Kings' power play.

So with the loss, the Kings give up a chance to continue to climb the standings against a struggling team. It wasn’t a poor effort, but the Kings really couldn't take hold of the game and it’s a bit of a disappointing way to end the calendar year.

They’ll be back in action on Tuesday, when they host the Dallas Stars.


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