The Los Angeles Kings used their lowest point of the season as a springboard to launch their most successful stretch, and they’ll try to maintain their momentum when they host the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon.
Los Angeles is 6-0-1 since a 6-0 road loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 13.
The latest triumph for the Kings came on Thursday night against the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche, when Los Angeles rallied from a two-goal third-period deficit on the road to win 5-4 in a shootout.
“I think we learned from the Buffalo game,” Kings forward Phillip Danault said. “(Thursday) was a big, big character win.”
The Flyers started their three-game West Coast trip in similar fashion on Thursday night.
Philadelphia trailed the San Jose Sharks 3-1 in the third period before getting goals from Owen Tippett and Travis Konecny to tie the score, and a game-winner from Tony DeAngelo in overtime for the 4-3 win.
“It’s a good team win. I just think we stayed with it,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said. “In a season where there’s not many times you put the radio on after games, I’m happy for them that they were able to. I think they deserved better fates in some games, (Thursday) night they got the result.”
Philadelphia has trailed 15 times to start the third period this season, but Thursday was just the second time they came back to win.
“We’ve been down a lot, we’ve chased games all year long, but we continue to play,” Tortorella said. “We’ve done a lot of that, just not getting things done. (Thursday) night we got it done, so I’m happy for them.”
The Kings have trailed 12 times to start the third period this season and the win against Colorado was the third time they’ve come back to win.
“We’ve done that all year,” Kings defenseman Sean Walker said of the comeback. “Get down and we’ve been able to battle back. So, that’s kind of our identity right now, unfortunately, but hopefully we can play with some leads more often.”
Walker helped the Kings reach overtime by scoring his second goal of the season with 5:40 remaining in the third period to tie the score 4-4.
Walker is getting plenty of time to display his value to Los Angeles after playing just six games last season because of a knee injury.
“Walks has steadily gotten better as the season went on,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “Obviously, last year was a disaster for him as an individual. It takes a long time to get your game back, but I think he’s gotten better every night and he seems to be holding up well health-wise.”
One of the standout players for Philadelphia this season continues to be Konecny, who scored two goals against the Sharks to give him 12 in his past 16 games and 17 in 30 games this season — one more than he had in 79 games last season.
“I’ve said he’s a reactive hockey player,” Tortorella said of Konecny. “He just plays, he doesn’t overthink, he plays hard all the time, he’s in all situations, and I just think he thrives on not being afraid to make a mistake. He just goes and I think he gets rewarded for his effort.”
–Field Level Media