Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 57 vs. Philadelphia
February 1, 2014
1pm PST (4pm EST)
Saturday afternoon marks the first of two meetings between the Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers this season. While Jeff Carter and Mike Richards face their old team for the first time since October 2011 when the Kings won in overtime at the Wells Fargo Center. But Saturday marks the first time the Flyers have visited Staples Center since December 30, 2010 - during which time the aforementioned Carter and Richards still donned the orange-and-black.
After welcoming back Rob Scuderi on Thursday, the Staples Center faithful will be seeing the return of two more of their former boys in Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn. This time, however, will hope for a more promising start - and finish.
After replacing head coach Peter Laviolette with Craig Berube earlier in the season, the Flyers seemed to turned a corner. However, like the Kings, the last few weeks haven't been very kind. On this current California road trip for example, the Flyers got things started with a 5-3 loss on Thursday in Anaheim. The winning goal that night was one of the shorthanded variety which certainly isn't promising for any club.
Hopefully for the Kings, dealing with Philadelphia's recent struggles may be just what the doctor ordered. Away from the City of Brotherly Love, the Flyers are 12-13-5. They do, however, have a better goals-per-game average of 2.67, a little more than Los Angeles's 2.29.
In terms of goals-against, the Flyers average 2.87 per while the Kings are at 2.07. In all fairness, however, the latter stat could be shown to everyone on paper but it won't mean a thing unless the Kings can make some results on the ice - and so far, that hasn't happened much.
In terms of special teams, the Kings and Flyers share an identical 86.3 percentage on the penalty kill while Philadelphia's 19.4 percentage of the power play is superior to that of the 14.1 for Los Angeles.
To add something to exciting to the storyline of Saturday's matinee, Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr will suit up as he takes the ice for his 1,000th-career NHL game. Hopefully, the veteran's milestone game will have a successful finish.
Despite their 3-5-2 mark in their last 10, the Flyers do have a clean bill of health while team captain Claude Giroux, still steaming from not being named to Canada's Olympic squad, is on a tear having scored eight points in his last seven games. For the Kings, Anze Kopitar is the hottest player donning the silver-and-black. The Slovenian Olympian has scored Los Angeles's last three goals, which spans over the last five games. That alone should tell how much the Kings need to improve if they want to return to the win column.
The much-needed Olympic break is getting closer and the Los Angeles Kings hope they can kick February off with a little bit of traction.
Can they do it? We'll see.
Enjoy the game!