Game 72; 41-25-6
PHILADELPHIA – After Jonathan Quick’s historic win on Saturday, he was back in net on Monday as the Los Angeles kicked off their final eastern road trip of the season beginning in Philadelphia against the resurgent Flyers. Entering Monday’s contest, the orange-and-black had won five-straight and were hoping to sweep the season series with their rivals from La La Land. The Flyers shut out the Kings at Staples Center back on February 1. But things were a little different this time.
In his first game played in Philadelphia as an opposing player, Jeff Carter was hoping to silence the crowd at Wells Fargo Center and while he couldn’t quiet them, he certainly created a raucous.
After being booed every time he touched the puck, Carter took matters into his own hands. After a scoreless first period, Carter potted his team-leading 25th just 1:49 into the second to put Los Angeles out in front. Alec Martinez and Tyler Toffoli helped out with the assists.
Later on, it appeared as if the Flyers had tied. Vincent Lecavalier found himself in front with a glorious scoring chance but rang the puck off two posts and out. The crowd and even the goal judge, who blared the goal horn, thought differently. Even the Kings broadcasting duo of Bob Miller and Jim Fox thought the home team had tied it. Not so. On further review, it was proven that the puck had not crossed the line. The Flyers were still down.
Later in the period, it appeared as if the Kings had scored. Alec Martinez looked to continue his recent hot streak with a tally but just as he shot the puck into the net, the aforementioned Carter pushed Philadelphia defenseman Kimmo Timonen from behind. The play was blown dead as Carter was called for cross-checking, which was not the case but I digress. This example was just one of many horrid calls by the officials on this night.
Justin Williams received a slashing penalty shortly afterwards and soon enough the Flyers found themselves on a 5-on-3 man-advantage. But the Kings were nothing short of spectacular on the penalty kill. Alec Martinez was instrumental by blocking multiple shots while Jonathan Quick dropped his paddle a few times to keep the home team off the board.
With just over two-and-a-half minutes remaining in the second, another former Flyer capitalized as Justin Williams pounced on a loose puck in front to score his 18th with assists coming from Robyn Regehr and Anze Kopitar. The Kings were up 2-0 after 40 minutes but after peppering 20 shots on the Flyers in the middle frame alone, it could be fair to suggest that the Kings could have had a bigger lead. Nevertheless, they were up.
In the third, however, the Flyers got their second wind. Just 29 seconds into the period, Matt Read notched his 20th to cut the lead in half. Then, just under eight minutes later, the Kings paid for a shoddy clearing attempt when Scott Hartnell took a point shot that was tipped in by Jakub Voracek to tie the game. The goal was Voracek’s 20th as well.
It looked as though the Flyers were reborn with momentum, aiming for their sixth-straight win. But the Kings, who felt down, knew they weren’t out.
Just over two minutes later, Slava Voynov broke out on a 2-on-1 with Dwight King. Voynov made a picture-perfect pass to King who cashed in, beating a sprawling Ray Emery for his first goal in 11 games and his 13th overall. The Kings were in the lead once again.
The Flyers pressed and they pressed hard in the final few minutes. After generating 18 shots through the first two periods, the orange-and-black fired 13 on Quick and the Kings in the third. But Quick and his defense stood tall while all the Kingdom held their collective breath. The puck even remained in the Los Angeles zone with an aggressive Flyers squad attacking but it wouldn’t matter as the Kings hung on for the 3-2 win, earning their third-straight victory while ending the five-game streak of Philadelphia’s.
He may not have gotten the shutout this time but Jonathan Quick was just as valuable, if not more so, on this night. Turning away 29 shots, Quick was easily his team’s MVP with all due respect to Jeff Carter who had a big night and Alec Martinez and Robyn Regehr, both of which had solid defensive outings. But with the new franchise wins record all his now, Jonathan Quick notches career win No. 173 while head coach Darryl Sutter picks his 502nd win, moving him past Pat Burns and into sole possession of 16th on the all-time list.
It is a great way to kick off their road swing but its right back to work for the Los Angeles Kings as they travel to the nation’s capital on Tuesday to take on Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.