LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings redeemed last year’s home-opening loss to the Flyers with a 2-0 victory Thursday night at the STAPLES Center.
The Kings didn’t require a spectacular effort from Jonathan Quick, who was solid and steady as he stopped all 35 shots and survived an early third-period wave.
Michal Neuvirth made his first start of the season and stopped 25 of the 27 shots he faced in the defeat.
• The Flyers (1-1-0) could not match Los Angeles' energy and speed in the opening nine minutes, as the Kings (1-0-0) had a considerable amount of zone time. The first period was one that Travis Konecny would rather forget. First, he failed to cover his man coming down center ice, which resulted in a hooking penalty. As Konecny exited the box, he was immediately stripped of the puck, and as he scrambled back into the Flyers’ zone, he committed another turnover that led to a Kings’ shot.
• Jakub Voracek mentioned how he didn’t like the way the top line played defensively in the game against San Jose. Early on, the unit struggled again to get back with its coverages against the Anze Kopitar line.
• However, the trio of Voracek, Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux produced some prime scoring chances in the second period. Voracek had all sorts of time but was completely undecided on what to do in one instance.
Later in the second, Giroux came out of the box and made a nice move to cut to the middle of the ice. Quick made the initial stop and Giroux had a second opportunity to put back his own rebound.
In the same period, Couturier glided across the front of the crease but couldn’t get off a quality shot. Three prime opportunities, but the Flyers were just unable to convert.
• Part of the reason the Flyers didn’t generate some early speed like we saw in San Jose was that the Kings made life rough in the neutral zone. In fact, the Kings capitalized on one of those neutral-zone turnovers when Scott Laughton coughed it up.
The Flyers’ defense fell out of position with Radko Gudas on the left side and Travis Sanheim on the right. Trevor Lewis slipped around Sanheim, who probably didn’t know he was there, for the easy one-timer off a pass from Nick Shore.
• Making his NHL debut (see story), Sanheim played 4:48 in the first period, all at even strength.
“I felt good out there,” Sanheim said. “It was nice to get through those first couple of shifts. Obviously, there were some nerves at the start of the game, but I felt good.”
However, Sanheim was careless during the second period in getting his stick too high as he clipped Lewis in the face and drew blood, which resulted in a four-minute double minor. The Flyers’ PK killed off the full four minutes.
• The Flyers' best stretch of hockey came in the third period as they outshot L.A., 11-1, in the first nine minutes of the final stanza, but they simply couldn’t capitalize with a game-tying goal. Then, with 2:21 left, Tyler Toffoli scored off an assist from Jeff Carter to extend the Kings' lead.
• With 1:19 remaining in the first period, Neuvirth came up with the save of the night as he robbed Kings captain Kopitar with a fully-extended glove save. Neuvirth’s stop saved his defense after a turnover that led to L.A.'s quality scoring chance.
Game two and this may be the best save we see all year.— NBC Sports Philly (@NBCSPhilly) October 6, 2017
Based on his starts in the preseason and Thursday night, Neuvirth is showing early signs of the goaltender who came to Philadelphia in 2015-16.
• A night after the Flyers’ power play exploded by converting 3 of 5 opportunities, the team came up empty against the Kings with an 0-for-5 performance.
• Going back to the end of last season, the Flyers have started two rookies on defense in three of their last four games with three different combinations (Ivan Provorov-Sam Morin, Provorov-Robert Hagg, Sanheim-Hagg).
• The biggest franchise-altering trade between the Flyers and Kings took place on June 23, 2011, when Mike Richards was sent to L.A. for Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and a second-round pick that was used to acquire Nicklas Grossmann. With the trade of Schenn this past offseason to St. Louis for two first-round selections and a potential third, we may not know the overall value of that trade for another five to 10 years.
Lines, pairings and scratches
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds
Dale Weise-Valtteri Filppula-Travis Konecny
Taylor Leier-Scott Laughton-Michael Raffl
Ivan Provorov-Andrew MacDonald
Shayne Gostisbehere-Robert Hagg
Travis Sanheim-Radko Gudas
Scratches: Jori Lehtera, Brandon Manning, Sam Morin.