Philadelphia Flyers: Win over Kings was a rare but comforting sight

(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

Looking for a rebound performance after Thursday night’s 4-1 loss to Montreal, the Philadelphia Flyers flipped the script against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, winning by the same margin.

The Philadelphia Flyers have been playing their share of white-knuckle hockey this season.

They lead the league in shootouts, for one. But even when their games don’t need sudden death, every single contest has seemed to come down to a nail-biting finish.

That’s why Saturday night was such a relief.

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Facing a Los Angeles Kings team with the second-worst record in the league and who also had ten days off immediately following the game, the Flyers took advantage of a team that was looking for an excuse to mail it in. It was also nice to see the Flyers seemingly motivated, not only after their latest loss, but by the ugly New Year’s Eve defeat that they had suffered to these same Kings in Los Angeles just a few weeks ago.

The Flyers’ defense got a boost with the return of Justin Braun, and this one never really felt in doubt after Travis Konecny opened the scoring just 3:48 into the game. The Flyers expanded the lead almost exactly one period later with another marker by Konecny, and everything just seemed to flow from there.

Most satisfying was the night that James van Riemsdyk had. Clearly in need of a big game, JVR delivered the primary assist on both of Konecny’s markers before adding a power play goal of his own in the third period with a skillful tip of a Claude Giroux shot.

Yes, Giroux and van Riemsdyk put up power play points!

JVR was highly noticeable on this night, and it was hard to believe that he received only 14:58 of ice time. Game to game consistency has plagued him this year, so maybe this can provide a nudge in the right direction. He logged some quality minutes on Saturday. I wonder what finally lit a fire under him.

Brian Elliott also delivered his second consecutive solid performance since the injury to Carter Hart. He was seeing the puck extremely well against the Kings, handling 34 of their 35 shots. And even when L.A. drew to within a 3-1 score in the third period, Elliott’s calmness and steady play on the night assured that the contest would not be in doubt.

Just about the only thing you can criticize is the way that the Flyers sagged in the third period, with the Kings outshooting them 15-4 in the final stanza. But despite the push, the Kings never came close to having the Flyers on their heels or giving the impression that they were going to mount a furious rally. Again, Elliott’s play was important, but the team in front of him still played effectively enough despite the lopsided shot total in the third.

For the Flyers, this was their first win by more than one goal since December 23. And it was just their tenth multi-goal victory out of their 26 wins if you count a 5-3 win over Carolina on November 21 as a one-goal win since the last tally was an empty-netter.

The Orange and Black shouldn’t expect many nights like this, ones that are relatively easy by NHL standards. Things just happened to align right for them, plus they put enough effort in over the first two periods that they got away with a subpar third.

By and large, the tight, single-goal games are what this team needs to get accustomed to playing. That’s what happens to you in the playoff race and when you ultimately (hopefully) get to the postseason.

Next. Flyers: Loss to Montreal shows Carter Hart's importance. dark

Still, nobody is going to complain about a nice, tidy win like the Flyers had on Saturday. It was downright relaxing.