LOS ANGELES - The Flyers have swept SoCal and have their first winning streak of the season.
Ivan Provorov scored the Flyers' first goal and the team never trailed for a second straight game, winning, 5-2, in Los Angeles over the Kings.
Did the penalty kill give the Flyers a first-period boost and which rule preserved Oskar Lindblom's goal off his skate?
Here are my observations from STAPLES Center:
• The Flyers were once again careless with their sticks in the first period as they were called for three minors, giving L.A. a two-man advantage for 1:36. The Flyers' penalty-killers did a solid job of closing off the cross-ice passing lanes, Radko Gudas had a big block and Brian Elliott made two huge saves to keep the Kings off the board.
• The Kings didn't have the look of a big, heavy team that we've seen in years past in how it dictates and creates possession with its size and physicality. L.A. had no sustained forecheck and the Flyers simply outworked it through the first 30 minutes with good backchecking and forcing turnovers.
• Sometimes it's good to be bad. Dale Weise, playing some of his best hockey since the end of 2016-17, completely whiffed on a sharp-angled shot, but still had plenty of time to collect the puck and feed a cutting Provorov in the slot for the game's first goal.
Interestingly, the Kings have been a frail team this season playing from behind. During its six-game losing streak, L.A. didn't have a lead at any point during that stretch. Incredible!
• Jori Lehtera can be an effective penalty-killer as long as he's not out there for longer than 30 to 40 seconds, not 59 seconds, like he was on the Kings' first goal. On the Kings' first power play of the second period, Lehtera had a failed clear with the puck on his stick, but he rimmed it down the board instead of throwing it up the middle. Lehtera's legs were shot as he couldn't get off the ice and couldn't keep up with Jeff Carter, who tied the game at 1-1.
• Rule 49.2, section 2 is the one that saved Lindblom's goal, which extended the Flyers' lead to 3-1. The rule states: "A kicked puck that deflects off the stick of any player shall be a good goal." The kick/deflection appeared to had taken place simultaneously as Kings defenseman Sean Walker was trying to prevent the puck from moving forward. Good break for the Flyers.
• The Flyers defensively got really leaky in the final 10 minutes of the second period as the Anze Kopitar line took advantage against the Flyers' top line. It created a couple of transition chances and eventually the Kings' second line cashed in with Ilya Kovalchuk moving up to the second line with Carter. It was the most sustained pressure the Kings had through the first 40 minutes of the game.
• Jakub Voracek had an opportunity to ice the game with a breakaway attempt at 10:37 remaining in regulation, but he appeared to release a backhanded shot a little earlier than expected. Kings goaltender Jack Campbell had an earlier save, stoning Weise to keep it a one-goal game, but he couldn't come up with a miraculous effort against Claude Giroux, who sprung free, corralled a pass and fired a shot that hit the inside of the post and in for a 4-2 lead late in the third.
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