Unless they meet in the Stanley Cup finals, the Flyers won’t have to worry about the Kings anymore. Maybe that explains why they seemed to sleepwalk through most of yesterday’s game against a team built in their own image, before a late wakeup call failed to prevent a 1-0 loss.
In this case, unfamiliarity bred contempt — namely two rousing fights and a few other cheap shots — but no goals, as L.A. netminder Jonathan Quick turned aside 40 shots. No “choking situation” for this Terry Murray-coached team, featuring former Flyers Justin Williams and Michal Handzus.
So, the Flyers remained three points ahead, with three games in hand, of the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins. Of more immediate concern might be tomorrow’s game in Tampa vs. the Southeast-leading Lightning, who are 3-0 vs. the Flyers this season.
“That’s definitely a game we’ve been looking at the last two weeks as redemption,” admitted Danny Briere. “These guys have pushed us around quite a bit this year. We better be ready.”
They didn’t seem ready against L.A., as the improved Kings got a Drew Doughy goal 17 seconds into the second period, then proceeded to check the Flyers into their own ice. Unable to mount a consistent attack, particularly during an anemic power play that went 0-for-4, frustrated fans actually booed the Orange and Black.
“We came out in the second and gave up that goal pretty quick and could never really get to Quick after that,” said defenseman Matt Carle. “Sometimes it’s unfamiliar when you play a team from the West Coast. But it’s still hockey.”
Perhaps. But a win tomorrow in Tampa would surely ease that pain.