The Los Angeles Kings hope to take advantage of a team playing for the second time in two nights when they open their 2017-18 season against the visiting Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. Los Angeles has had no success since winning its second Stanley Cup in three years in 2014, sandwiching a pair of non-playoff seasons around one in which it made a first-round exit.
The Kings are counting on a full season from former Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick, who was limited to 17 games last campaign due to a groin injury suffered in the 2016-17 opener. Philadelphia continues its season-opening four-game road trip after kicking it off with a 5-3 triumph at San Jose on Wednesday. Wayne Simmonds registered his second career hat trick while Jakub Voracek and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere notched three assists apiece as the Flyers bounced back after squandering 2-0 and 3-2 leads. The club got off to a good start on the power play, converting three of its five opportunities, but it also allowed a pair of man-advantage goals.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
ABOUT THE FLYERS (1-0-0): Philadelphia opened the season with five rookies on its roster, although only three were in the lineup against the Sharks. Robert Hagg, a 22-year-old Swedish defenseman, and 23-year-old left wing Taylor Leier received significant ice time, but all eyes were on Nolan Patrick. The 19-year-old center, who was selected second overall in last June’s draft, registered three shots and blocked one while going 5-4 on faceoffs in 13 1/2 minutes of action.
ABOUT THE KINGS (2016-17: 39-35-8, 5th in Pacific): Jeff Carter led the club last season with 32 goals, marking the fourth time he reached the 30-goal plateau in his career and first since netting 36 in 2010-11 with Philadelphia. The Kings had only one other player hit the 20-goal mark as Tanner Pearson scored a career-high 24 in his second full season. More offense will be expected from veteran Mike Cammalleri, who returns to the team with which he spent his first five NHL seasons after recording only 10 goals in 61 games with New Jersey in 2016-17.
1. Los Angeles’ Alec Martinez (lower body) will begin the season on injured reserve and likely be replaced on the roster by fellow D Paul LaDue, who notched eight assists in 22 games last season - his first in the NHL.
2. Michal Neuvirth could get the start in goal for the Flyers after G Brian Elliott made 32 saves in his debut with the team on Wednesday.
3. The Kings will honor the victims of Sunday’s tragic shooting in Las Vegas prior to the game and wear a special “CD” sticker on their helmets in memory of team employee Christiana Duarte, who was killed in the incident.
PREDICTION: Kings 4, Flyers 1