The Los Angeles Kings remain on the right track. On Tuesday, Nov. 17 the Kings were in Philadelphia to face the Flyers in the first game of a five-game road trip. It was quite a battle, but the Kings emerged victorious by way of shootout. The final score was 3-2 in front of a rowdy sellout crowd of 18,846 at Wells Fargo Center in the city of brotherly love.
The Kings needed late game heroics from Milan Lucic and then shootout heroics from Anze Kopitar, but with the win, were able to maintain their four-point lead over the San Jose Sharks for first place in the Pacific division.
This was a closely contested game in which Philadelphia got on the scoreboard first. Rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere scored a power play goal 3:41 into the game; it was his first-ever NHL goal. The Kings were able to answer back with a power play goal of their own, when defenseman Jamie McBain took a nice pass from Alec Martinez and utilized a screen set by Marian Gaborik. McBain’s slapshot from the point, beat Flyers goalie Steve Mason at 15:06 of the first period. Philly outshot the Kings 14-11 in the first period which ended with the score tied 1-1.
There was no scoring in the second period, even though the Flyers had three more power play opportunities to the Kings’ one. Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick played strong as did Mason. The home team had a slight 11-10 edge in shots on goal though the game remained tied going into the third period; the stage was set for a fantastic finish.
At the 11:11 mark of a tense third period, Flyers superstar center Claude Giroux put his team ahead 2-1 when he beat Quick with a quick shot from the high slot. As time wound down, it was beginning to look like the Flyers would hang on for a regulation-time win, but hardworking Kings forward Milan Lucic spoiled the party. With Quick on the bench in favor of an extra attacker, the Kings swarmed the Flyers net. Tyler Toffoli managed to get a shot through the sea of humanity in front of Mason and Lucic was on the doorstep to score a garbage goal with 56 seconds remaining. Regulation time ended with the score tied 2-2. The Kings outshot Philly 14-8 in the third period.
This season, 3-on-3 overtime is the newest thing. It may not be the purest hockey in the world, but it was meant to thrill the fans and definitely succeeds on that level. Outnumbered attacks one way, often give rise to clean breakaways going the other way. This game followed form. In the frenetic extra session, Quick was able to stop breakaways by both Giroux and Michael Del Zotto. Both teams registered five shots on goal but neither were able to score.
Still tied 2-2, the game went to a shootout. Sam Gagner, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek were unable to get the puck by Quick, and Jeff Carter was unable to get the puck by Mason. Fortunately for the Kings, Kopitar was able to find the back of the net and the Kings emerged victorious.
Kings notes – The Kings are now 7-3 in the last 10 games and have an overall record of 12-6. Milan Lucic has scored a goal in three straight games. The road trip continues on Friday night in Detroit. On Sunday, Nov. 22 the team will begin a stretch of three games in four nights, during which they will face Carolina, Florida and Tampa Bay.
Nov. 17, 2015 – Final score: Kings 3, Flyers 2 (SO). Final shots on goal: LAK 40, PHI 38. Power play: LAK 1-2, PHI 1-5. Three Stars of the game: 1) Anze Kopitar – LAK, 2) Claude Giroux – PHI, 3) Shayne Gostisbehere – PHI. Goaltenders: LAK – Jonathan Quick, PHI – Steve Mason
Kings forward line combinations:
Kings defense pairings: