By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
The first half of the 2019-20 season has been a solid one for the Flyers, but their struggles on the road are certainly becoming more and more profiled. After coming out of the break with an embarrassing 6-1 loss to the Sharks, the Flyers answered back with a win in overtime in Anaheim. In their final game of the decade, the team that struggled in San Jose was back on display.
The Los Angeles Kings entered the game averaging 2.54 goals per game, but struck for four in the opening period. That helped them cruise to a win over the Flyers on New Year's Eve by a score of 5-3.
The Kings got going early in the first and never looked back. It started with a goal by Kyle Clifford at 5:31. Clifford took a pass from Matt Luff and fired one short-side on Brian Elliott from the left circle.
On the power play just over a minute later, the Kings used a quick cycle to get the Flyers out of sort. Anze Kopitar set up Alex Iafallo for the deflection goal to make it 2-0. The Kings had another power play just less than two minutes later and once again took advantage with Tyler Toffoli getting three scoring chances in close and finally scoring on the third chance to make it 3-0.
The Flyers had a chance late in the period to stop the bleeding and get back into the game with a power play of their own. Instead, they fell further into the special teams hole. A missed drop pass sent the Kings on a two-on-one. Blake Lizotte set up Adrian Kempe for the quick release and the goal to make it 4-0. Shots were even 15-15 after the first 20 minutes, but the damage had been done. Elliott exited after the first period after allowing four goals on 15 shots.
For most of the second, the Flyers were able to generate shots, but nothing effective enough to beat Jonathan Quick. Finally, at 14:59, the Flyers got on the board as a centering play by Justin Braun hit the skate of Matt Roy and went in to make it 4-1. It was Braun's first goal as a Flyer.
Just before the Braun goal, the physicality started to pick up with a crushing hit from Kurtis MacDermid on Ivan Provorov. The Flyers got a power play moments after the goal, but failed to take advantage. With tensions still high, Scott Laughton took a boarding penalty in the final minute of the period, putting the Flyers in a bigger hole with just 20 minutes remaining.
Late in the power play, the Kings struck again. Martin Frk fired a shot high through a screen that beat Carter Hart and made it a 5-1 game.
Claude Giroux added a power play goal midway through the third, his 12th of the season to tie for the team lead.
With 2:52 to play, the Flyers cut the lead to two with Laughton scoring on a deflection. That was as close as the Flyers would get in the end.
Hart finished the game with 13 saves on 14 shots in relief of Elliott. Quick made 32 saves on 35 shots.
Kempe and Kopitar each had multi-point games for the Kings. Braun had a goal and an assist for the Flyers.
The Flyers open the 2020 portion of the schedule with the 41st game of the season against the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night at 10 p.m.