Kings @ Flyers Recap: Shorthanded Kings Salvage a Point
Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and Wayne Simmonds all played well tonight, but it was Brayden Schenn who got the final word.
The Los Angeles Kings need about seventeen days off after this one. They get one, with a Pittsburgh-Detroit back-to-back immediately following. It's gonna suck, so we should be thankful that the Kings battled hard to get a point against the Philadelphia Flyers.
That doesn't mean we can't be annoyed with the way it ended, though! Some (such as Quick) might be annoyed because of the Toronto war room's ruling, but just as annoying was what led up to the Flyer's overtime game-winner: a sloppy turnover by Jake Muzzin. Muzzin got the puck at the point with Brayden Schenn closing in fast, and Muzzin telegraphed where he intended to go with the puck. So instead of a Drew Doughty one-timer, we got a Schenn breakaway. You can see the video and the NHL's opinion here, but short version: original call was no goal, call was changed on the ice to a goal, Toronto upheld the call.
It was a sloppy ending to what, in all honesty, was a sloppy game. Fun game from a neutral perspective, too. We got a whopping 145 combined shot attempts, easily the most in a Kings game this season, and a total of 83 shots on goal. Of those, 78 were stopped, as Jonathan Quick once again was excellent, and Ray Emery (historically good against Los Angeles) was equally good.
Michael Raffl scored the game's first goal soon after being denied by Quick, as he worked the puck free from Dustin Brown and eventually got into position to knock a rebound in. Jakub Voracek got the secondary assist on one of his less threatening shifts, which was a mark of how good he was all evening. He was the #1 star, and he deserved it; he got an assist on the Flyers' other regulation goal, was denied game-winning goals by both Quick and the post, and in between generally wreaked havoc in the offensive zone. That other assist was a perfect pass to Chris Vandevelde from behind the net with under a minute to go, and after Philadelphia controlled the first, the one-goal margin felt like a bigger deficit than it was.
LA wouldn't have even been in the game if not for Tyler Toffoli. In one of tonight's themes, his first-period goal was a set up by a defenseman misplaying a puck at the blue line. Michael del Zotto whiffed on the puck during a power play, Toffoli took it the other way on a breakaway, and he calmly beat Emery over the blocker to tie the game at 1. It was Toffoli's second shorty of the season, after going 75 games without a shorthanded point of any kind. Though Vandevelde's goal put Philadelphia back in front before the buzzer, LA was far from out of the game. They played a very strong second period in spite of their one-player disadvantage, as players who got more ice time (such as Dwight King and Kyle Clifford) backed it up with solid play.
The usual suspects (Toffoli, Tanner Pearson, and Jeff Carter) were once again dangerous, but the guy who got LA a point was the overshadowed former Flyer: Mike Richards. It was an unorthodox possession, to be kind, but Drew Doughty's cross-ice delivery and Kyle Clifford's spinning pass worked well enough. Doughty shanked his shot, but it got to the front, and Richards was able to pick it up and score the game-tying goal. The Kings held on from there to force OT, and though Schenn's goal left a sour taste in King mouths, it was a hard-earned point without Anze Kopitar in the lineup.