Kings hope road success continues at home against Flyers

By Mike Lipka,
STATS Writer

After another solid performance at home, the Philadelphia Flyers are
hoping to prove they can continue their consistent play during a
five-game road trip.

The Los Angeles Kings
have already done that, and they’ll look for a third straight victory
as they return home to face the Flyers on Wednesday night.

Philadelphia’s strong start has happened mostly at the Wachovia Center,
where the team has played 12 of 15 games and won five of six, including
Monday’s 3-2 victory over New Jersey, which had been 9-0-0 on the road.

But things could get tougher for the Flyers (11-5-1) as they head west
to begin a trip that includes stops at San Jose and Colorado.

They probably wouldn’t mind replicating the Kings’ recent results. Los
Angeles (13-7-2) finished its trip at 3-2-0 after a 4-3 shootout win at
Florida on Monday night, bouncing back from Friday’s ugly 7-0 loss at
Atlanta with back-to-back wins over the Tampa Bay Lightning and the
Panthers.

“Obviously you want to go 5-0,”
Kings defenseman Jack Johnson told his team’s official Web site, “but
you’re playing in the NHL and you’re playing a lot of games. I think if
we can win more than we lose on the road, and win our home games, we’ll
be in a great spot.”

The Kings have played
just five home games in a stretch of nearly six weeks dating back to
early October, but there’s no reason their winning formula shouldn’t
carry over to the Staples Center. Los Angeles has been buoyed by a
resurgent offense anchored by NHL points leader Anze Kopitar and a
relatively steady start from goaltender Jon Quick.

After the Kings ranked 27th with 2.46 goals per game and extended their
playoff drought to six seasons in 2008-09, they’re averaging more than
three goals thanks in part to Kopitar’s torrid start. The 22-year-old
Slovenian has 32 points in 22 games after totaling 66 in all 82 games
last season.

The offense may have to get by
without newcomer Ryan Smyth, the team’s second-leading scorer. Smyth
left the win over Florida due to an upper-body injury.

“We’re going to … get back to L.A. and have a doctor look at it, and
we’ll see where it’s at,” Kings coach Terry Murray said.

Either way, Quick will likely be in net to try to slow down
Philadelphia’s high-powered offense. In his lone career appearance
against the Flyers, Quick stopped 31 shots – including a Scott Hartnell
penalty shot – in a 2-1 shootout win on Jan. 3.

Philadelphia beat the Kings 2-0 at home on Feb. 25.

The Flyers have used more solid defense to win six of seven overall,
allowing a total of 12 goals in that stretch. Newcomer Ray Emery
continues to rack up victories in net, stopping 33 shots against New
Jersey to lower his goals-against average to 2.22 and outduel Martin
Brodeur.

But Philadelphia has also been
boosted by the league’s top power play during its early run. The unit
was 1 for 2 against the Devils and is 20 for 74 (27.0 percent) on the
season, with Mike Richards (nine power-play points) and Hartnell (six
power-play goals) leading the way.

“The
two points was the main thing (Monday) as we head out on the road
here,” coach John Stevens told the Flyers’ official Web site.

Wednesday’s game will mark Kings defenseman Randy Jones’ first game
against his former team after Los Angeles claimed him off waivers from
the Flyers last month. Jones has two goals and two assists in his first
four games with his new club.

Received 11/17/09 01:04 pm ET