(Photo: Kate Frese)
By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
For a few seconds, it felt like the Flyers had escaped with two points and their winning streak in tact. Instead, the winning streak is over and they managed to escape with just one point instead.
The Flyers played a game against the Kings that was sloppy and frustrating. The Kings really had the Flyers where they wanted them all game and didn't allow much for opportunity. Yet, there they were, playing in overtime. The overtime featured its share of near-misses as well.
In the end, the Flyers streak ends at eight, and they are left to regroup and find a way to get right back to the win column, because it is too crucial for their season not to.
More in our Postgame Review.
There was nothing wrong with Stolarz's performance in this game. For the most part, he was holding the Flyers in the game and allowed them to get the point in the standings that they did. Sure, in the shootout, he was downright fooled by most of the attempts — allowing three goals and having one attempt miss the net through the crease and another hit the post.
Still, there's a trust level here. Stolarz can be trusted to keep this team in a game too. For a change, it's not the goaltending that is giving the Flyers fits.
Couturier started the season trying to return from an injury suffered late in the playoffs a season ago. As a result, he scored just three goals in the first 11 games of the season. Since then, he has 19. His point total went from three in the first 11 games. He has 42 points since.
If last season didn't make Couturier a star player on this team, this season should be.
In the closing seconds with time running out, Claude Giroux got the puck to Jake Voracek with a nice cross-ice feed. Voracek lifted a shot high over the shoulder of Jonathan Quick. Tie game.
Voracek's reaction said it all. Take the result out for a moment. This is a team that is motivated to do this, to make this comeback. Sure, the final result will make that effort take a hit, but they have bought in to what has worked over the last few games.
It didn't start that way. Giroux was the first to shoot and used a nasty move to beat Quick, giving the Flyers the early edge. Ilya Kovalchuk came back and scored in the first round too to even the score.
Both shooters in the second round — Voracek for the Flyers and Anze Kopitar for the Kings — were stopped on their attempts.
Nolan Patrick is becoming a real threat in the shootout. He went right in on Quick, picked his spot and scored.
This is when things get strange. Adrian Kempe was up for the Kings needing a goal. He came in, put a move on Stolarz that got him down and out, lifted the shot and…ping! Everyone at Wells Fargo Center was fooled by it. The official waved it off. The Flyers poured off the bench. They had done it, a ninth straight win. Except, it wasn't.
A quick review showed the puck was in the net just under the crossbar. Play on.
Quick made an easy save on James van Riemsdyk in the fourth round and Dustin Brown missed on his chance. Both shooters missed in the fifth round, with Alex Iafallo hitting the post. Finally, Couturier was easily stopped on his shootout attempt and Tyler Toffoli scored. Game and streak over.
In reality, give the Kings some credit. Much like the Flyers, this is a hungry team. The Kings have now won three straight games on this road trip. They entered the game six points out of a playoff spot…as the worst team in the conference. They are very capable of making a run if they can get some consistency in their performances.
For the Flyers, this is about quickly regrouping for Saturday. The Ducks are not a good team, having lost 17 of their last 19 games. There is so much turmoil that, for a change, they are the extremely fragile group entering this game. Then you get the Penguins and Wild in a back-to-back. After those three games, it will be fair to see where you are in the standings and evaluate your chances at that time.
For now, the focus remains the same. The next game is all that matters. Wins are the most important thing for this team. They thought they had another one on Thursday, only for it to be taken away. Now they need to earn the next one.
By the Numbers
Somehow, the Flyers managed two goals despite only three high-danger scoring chances while at 5-on-5. Of course, one of the goals came at 6-on-5. Regardless, the Kings did a lot to seal off the offensive zone and didn't allow much in terms of chances all game. It wasn't until the third period when the Flyers posted a 59.09 CF% to get an edge.
Stat of the Game
It was a busy 17:29 of ice time for Radko Gudas, who had seven hits and three blocked shots, both tops on the team in this game.