Kings finish rough trip with win over Flyers
PHILADELPHIA — Seconds after watching his teammates kill a key penalty in the third period, Adrian Kempe busted out of the penalty box to score a pivotal goal in the Los Angeles Kings’ 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night.
“I thought he was terrific tonight,” Kings coach John Stevens said. “He’s had some timely goals for us, and it was great to see him get rewarded.”
Alec Martinez, Trevor Lewis and Tyler Toffoli also scored for the Kings. Jonathan Quick turned aside 36 shots as Los Angeles (21-10-4) ended a four-game road trip with a win, snapping a three-game losing streak.
“We knew we were matched up against a team that had won six in a row and we knew we would need contributions from everyone in the lineup, and we did that tonight,” Martinez said.
Jakub Voracek scored the lone goal for the Flyers (14-12-7), who had their six-game win streak snapped.
Brian Elliott (21 saves) took his first defeat since Dec. 2.
“It was a tight game and they didn’t make any mistakes,” Voracek said. “We had a good run with six wins, and we’ve played really good hockey over the last two weeks. We’ve got to make sure we don’t get stuck on losing. We’ve got to find a way to win on Wednesday (against the Detroit Red Wings) and hopefully start another streak.”
The Kings killed off five of the Flyers’ six power plays. Los Angeles entered the game ranked first in the NHL with an 86.7 percent success rate.
“Special teams can generate momentum in a hockey game, and the PK is a really big part of that,” Martinez said. “Even the one we gave up today, (Drew) Doughty blocks a shot and it goes right to (Voracek). I’ll take that play every day of the week.”
The game turned early in the third period, when the Kings, clinging to a one-goal lead, killed off a cross-checking penalty to Kempe. The 21-year-old left winger scored just six seconds after being released from the penalty box, beating Elliott with a shot past his catching glove.
“I saw the goalie was cheating a little bit to the far side, so there was a little open spot on the glove side, and that’s what I tried to aim for,” Kempe said of his 11th goal of the season.
Elliot said, “He just shot through a screen and I didn’t see it. I just saw a guy driving backdoor, and he shot it through a screen.”
The Kings killed off two more Philadelphia power plays in the final period to secure the win.
Just as they did two nights earlier in a 4-3 overtime loss in Brooklyn, the Kings opened up a 2-0 first-period lead.
Martinez’s third of the season came 5:27 into the game off a faceoff win by Torrey Mitchell, who cleanly beat Scott Laughton and drove the net for a screen. It was Martinez’s first goal in 20 games since Nov. 4.
Lewis made it 2-0 at 16:46 of the first, beating Elliott past his catching glove on a nice feed from center Nick Shore. It was Lewis’ eighth goal of the season and first in 12 games.
“I didn’t think we were sharp enough at the start,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “We started off by giving them a faceoff goal. Their second goal is on a line change. I didn’t think we made them work hard enough for the opportunities they scored the goals on.”
The Flyers had a pair of power plays in the opening period and converted with 1:56 remaining to draw within 2-1. Claude Giroux’s shot was blocked by Doughty, and the puck went directly to Voracek. The NHL assists leader one-timed a shot past Quick for his eighth goal of the season and second on the power play.
NOTES: Los Angeles D Christian Folin left the game with an upper-body injury after the first period and did not return. He will be re-examined on Tuesday. ... Kings RW Dustin Brown played in his 999th NHL game. The hard-hitting 33-year-old veteran has been incredibly durable in his NHL career, missing just 17 games over the past 14 seasons. ... Los Angeles LW Andy Andreoff returned to the lineup after sitting out the previous 10 games. He played on a fourth line with C Torrey Mitchell and RW Jonny Brodzinski, who sat out the previous two games. ... Before the game, Flyers G Brian Elliott was named NHL’s second star of the week. ... The Flyers played their 23rd game against a Western Conference opponent, the most by any Eastern Conference team.