The Philadelphia Flyers (12-17-7) will aim to build upon their most recent victory, a 4-3 overtime win against the San Jose Sharks on Dec. 29, today against the surging Los Angeles Kings (21-12-6). Carter Hart, who sustained a concussion during the second period of their 6-5 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 23, may return to start in goal today. If he is unavailable, Sam Ersson could receive another starting opportunity as he is looking to build his confidence after his start against the Sharks.
Travis Konecny has been the Flyers’ most reliable forward in 2022-23 as he extended his multi-point game streak to four games against the Sharks. After struggling to score goals consistently for the majority of the seasonl, they have two straight games in which they tallied more than three goals. They will look to take advantage of the Kings, who rank 24th in goals against per game played (GA/GP) with a 3.41 GA/GP. Here’s our gameday preview.
Philadelphia Flyers Projected Lines
James van Riemsdyk – Morgan Frost – Owen Tippett
Joel Farabee – Noah Cates – Konecny
Kevin Hayes – Scott Laughton – Wade Allison
Nicolas Deslauriers – Patrick Brown – Zack MacEwen
Ivan Provorov – Cam York
Travis Sanheim – Tony DeAngelo
Nick Seeler – Rasmus Ristolainen
Hart/Ersson – Hart/Ersson/Felix Sandstrom
Flyers Win in Overtime, Konecny Notches Fourth Straight Multi-Point Game
The Flyers defeated the Sharks after trailing 3-1 early in the third period. Consecutive goals by Tippett, Konecny, and DeAngelo secured the win for a club that is aiming for an increase in goals per game. They rank 29th in the NHL with 2.61 goals for per game played (GF/GP) and only have two players in Konecny and Tippett who have more than 10 goals.
Konecny continued his fine season with two tallies against the Sharks, which gives him a club-leading 17 goals in 30 games. On Dec. 20 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, he finished with two goals in the Flyers’ 5-3 win. He had two assists in their 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Dec. 22 and followed that effort with one goal and one assist in their loss to the Hurricanes. His multiple goals versus the Sharks give him four straight multi-point games. He has been the most reliable forward for them by a large margin after their first 36 games.
Ersson started in his second career NHL game on Dec. 29 and earned his first victory as he stopped 25 of the 28 shots he faced. The 23-year-old netminder commented on his performance, “Definitely a game I needed to respond in. It wasn’t perfect for a stretch, but definitely a big step forward. I think I showed… coming up big a couple of times, made some big stops. That’s what I need to do. I gotta show that I can help this team and win to fight for playing time.”
Related: Flyers Look To Ersson and Sandstrom with Hart Out
Latest News & Highlights
Flyers head coach John Tortorella mentioned that he was “Big in the second period there, really big part of the game when we were killing the penalty. We couldn’t clear the puck out three or four times. That’s when he made three or four really big saves.” Ersson’s most recent start may work in his favor in seeing more starts as their backup goalie should he remain with the Flyers. In 18 games for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League (AHL), he has a goals-against average (GAA) of 2.72, a .910 save percentage (SV%), and a 9-8-1 record.
According to a tweet from Olivia Reiner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, he was the first goalie off the ice during the Dec. 30 team practice, but does not know if he is the starter for the upcoming contest versus the Kings. Hart stayed on the ice during the practice for additional work, but Tortorella did not comment on if he will start for today’s game.
Los Angeles Kings Projected Lines
Quinton Byfield – Anze Kopitar – Adrian Kempe
Alex Iafallo – Phillip Danault – Viktor Arvidsson
Kevin Fiala – Blake Lizotte – Gabriel Vilardi
Carl Grundstrom – Rasmus Kupari – Jaret Anderson-Dolan
Mikey Anderson – Drew Doughty
Sean Durzi – Matt Roy
Alexander Edler – Sean Walker
Pheonix Copley – Jonathan Quick
Kings Come Back to Defeat Avalanche in Shootout
The Kings scored two goals in the third period against the Avalanche to tie the contest at 4-4 and send it into overtime before winning in a shootout, 5-4. After getting shutout by the Buffalo Sabres, 6-0, on Dec. 13, they have won six of the last seven games entering today’s game versus the Flyers. Following the contest versus the Avalanche, Danault commented on their comeback during the third period: “I think we learned from the Buffalo game. We just stuck with it, we kept playing our game and we rallied back between the second and third. We weren’t cheating too much, we kept doing the right things and got rewarded again.”
The Kings will aim to win their 10th game of December today after going 9-3-2 previously during the month. In terms of wins and losses this month, they have improved dramatically since they lost to the Sabres, which has allowed them to get to two points behind the Vegas Golden Knights, the leader of the Pacific Division.
Players To Watch
Philadelphia Flyers – Carter Hart
Hart is expected to play during the road trip after resting during the last game against the Sharks. It will be interesting to watch how he performs if he starts in goal today after sustaining a concussion against the Hurricanes.
Los Angeles Kings – Phillip Danault
Danault has four goals and four assists in his last six games and is playing like one of the Kings’ best players at this point. His power-play goal against the Avalanche gives him 10 power-play points on the season, which ties him for third on the club with Fiala and Doughty.
Tonight’s game has a 4 PM ET start time and will be broadcast on NBCSP.
*Flyers lines from @ReinerOlivia on Twitter. Kings lines from @DooleyLAK on Twitter.