Game 57; 30-21-6
LOS ANGELES - After a disappointing start to 2014, the Los Angeles Kings were hoping to kick the month of February off on a high note. Plus, with just three games to go until the Olympic break, a bit of momentum could have helped as players get prepared for the Sochi Games. On Saturday afternoon, the Kings welcomed the Philadelphia Flyers to town hoping for a better outcome. If only.
Through the first 40 minutes of Saturday's matinee, the Kings played very well. They were fast, moved the puck very smoothly, even had a few quality chances against Flyers netminder Steve Mason. Unfortunately, a lack of scoring, which had been the central concern for the Kings as of late, continued to be a problem on this day. Despite outshooting Philadelphia by a 22-9 margin through the first two period, the silver-and-black could not get a goal.
The Flyers, on the other hand, had a bit more luck and it was a former King who supplied the damage.
At the 7:48 mark of the second period, Wayne Simmonds found himself wide open at the side of the net where he capitalized, putting the Flyers up 1-0. The goal was the ex-King's 18th of the year but more importantly, it was Simmonds's 100th-career NHL goal. The milestone was especially fitting since Simmonds had reached such an accomplished against the team he began his career with in the building he first called home.Vincent Lecavalier assisted on the goal as did captain Claude Giroux, who registered nine points in his last eight. The goal was the result of a defensive lapse by Los Angeles's Jake Muzzin. Unfortunately, "defensive lapse" and "Jake Muzzin" have been said far too many times in the same sentence this season - and it's only the beginning of February.
In the third, the Kings came out firing. The 1-0 setback certainly didn't deter them as they outshot the Flyers by a 13-4 margin. Some of those shots came oh-so-close to crossing the line including a post hit by Justin Williams in the later stages of the period. Unfortunately, just seconds after Williams's near-goal, defenseman Matt Greene was called for an offensive-zone penalty. On the man-advantage, a wide-open Claude Giroux scored to put the road team up by two - and that's all she wrote on this day.
Steve Mason stopped all 35 shots to earn his second-career shutout versus the Kings while the aforementioned Simmonds scored the game-winner against his former team.
For Los Angeles, Jarret Stoll earned the game's third star after registering three hits but nothing more positive came from the Kings camp despite two periods of sound hockey.
With the loss, the Los Angeles Kings have now been shut out in three of their last five games while Anze Kopitar remains the only King to score a goal in his team's last six. Speaking of the latter, the silver-and-black received a dubious distinction following their loss becoming the first team since 1929 to have only one goal-scorer in the span of six games. Simply embarrassing.
The Kings must now regroup but it will be anything be easy as they prepare to host the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.