Looking for what he calls a different look and feel, Peter Laviolette shifted the lineup going into Sunday’s contest against the Los Angeles Kings, but the reinvigorated offense still couldn’t crack a stalwart goaltender in Jonathan Quick.
The Flyers started with Claude Giroux centering Jeff Carter and Mike Richards – two centers themselves. This change stacked the majority of the scoring talent on the first two lines, sacrificing some of the Flyers’ impressive depth for an added punch.
“We haven’t generated as many chances as I’d like,” Peter Laviolette said. “We’re just trying to attack more offensively and I think we probably got close to 20 quality chances tonight, but we couldn’t top the goaltender.”
Despite a high number of chances and 40 shots on goal, the Flyers still couldn’t get a single puck across the line thanks to stellar play by Jonathan Quick.
Chris Pronger, who nearly beat him in the opening seconds of the game, agreed that it was just “one of those games.”
“We had a number of chances and a couple that [Quick] didn’t even know he stopped,” Pronger said. “When things are going your way, that’s what happens.”
The Flyers’ power play didn’t get a chance on the ice until they had already fallen behind after Drew Doughty beat Bobrovsky at the start of the second period. This forced the power play unit to work a little harder to come from behind.
But as Claude Giroux put it, they were working harder, not working smarter, and the Kings’ PK was able to control the play against a Flyers’ squad that forced the puck instead of letting plays develop, turning it over in the process.
In particular, a stretch of 5-on-3 play in the second left them banging their sticks in frustration. To the Kings’ leading scorer, Anze Kopitar, this was one of the game’s key moments.
“Winning the draw and clearing the puck frustrated the team and the crowd,” Kopitar said. “They started booing them … and that’s when we thought we could really shut them down.”
Fortunately, Sergei Bobrovsky was solid at the other end of the ice and gave his team a chance to win right up until the final seconds. He stopped 24 of the 25 shots he faced, with the lone goal sneaking by on a deflection.
Claude Giroux chalked this loss up to one part hot goaltender and one part bad luck, with the breaks just not going their way.
“When we had a scoring chance, [Quick] was there to stop it, but defensively we played well,” Giroux said. “It wasn’t a bad game overall.”
After this, the Flyers go down to Florida for back-to-back match ups against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers – coming after the Lightning shut the Flyers out to start the month of February.