OC Register Kings seek to extend winning streak in Philadelphia


They see me rollin'. They hatin'.
Staff member
Jul 28, 2004
After sweeping the Canadian half of their four-game trip, the Kings were back in the States preparing for another opportunity to rule the road in a matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

They have been fond of fresh bed sheets and tiny mints on their pillows, producing a flawless record across five away contests thus far. For the team with the Western Conference’s best points percentage at home last season –– and just one win in their building this year –– the road has become something of a refuge.

“We have a little bit more of a swagger to win some games, get some points on the road, which is a good thing,” said Adrian Kempe, who has scored a goal and two assists on the journey thus far. “It’s just confidence, for sure, we feel like we’re a pretty good road team and we can go into any building and get points.”

An unsuccessful late-game power play meant shifts for the Kings’ top 10 offensive skaters with critical moments lying ahead. But the fourth line provided a reliable shift ahead of a final minute where the Kings fended off Ottawa’s efforts, and the Kings won 3-2. Coach Todd McLellan and center Phillip Danault concurred that a major part of the Kings’ success has been their ability to deploy four lines comfortably behind a well-conditioned defense corps.

“Just rolling the lines. We can trust everyone on the ice, whether it’s defensively or offensively,” Danault said on the Bally Sports broadcast.

Entering the game, much was made of the various storylines that involved the Kings and Senators.

Quinton Byfield picked up his third point in two games, while Tim Stützle was held scoreless, though 2020’s No. 3 pick has generally out-shined its second selection. Cam Talbot won a matchup in which Joonas Korpisalo also played formidably with 35 saves in defeat against the goalie with whom he switched places this summer. Winger Dominik Kubalik, whom the Kings drafted but ultimately were unable to sign, scored a goal for his third franchise since his departure from the organization. In a juxtaposition of trade-deadline acquisitions, Jakob Chychrun had an assist for Ottawa, but not before Vladislav Gavrikov had directly prevented a score and preserved a one-goal lead when he negated Drake Batherson’s power-play shot attempt destined for an open net.

“Gavi is five-star, defensively, for sure, that’s why we need him [in order] to win,” Danault said on the broadcast.

In Philadelphia, the Kings will see yet another old chum, defenseman Sean Walker, who played the first five seasons of his career in Los Angeles.

He was involved in what was effectively a salary dump of Cal Petersen’s $5 million cap hit this past offseason. Walker, Petersen, prospect Helge Grans and a second-round pick were dealt to Philadelphia, which also had the Kings retain $2 million of defenseman Ivan Provorov’s contract on his way to Columbus as part of the three-way trade.

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Walker, who dealt with gruesome facial injuries and then reconstructive knee surgery across the course of the 2020-21 and 2021-22 campaigns, returned to action last season. He needed the early part of the year to get his legs back under him, but was a steady contributor for the Kings. He has seen his role expand for the rebuilding Flyers. He has four points in 10 games with Philly, and has been a regular on the penalty kill with both of his goals coming shorthanded.

“I’m feeling good, the team’s playing pretty good right now so we just want to keep rolling with it,” Walker said by phone.

The Flyers’ promising start gave way to a three-game winless streak, which they carried into the back half of a home-and-home set with the Buffalo Sabres Friday. Travis Konecny leads the Flyers with 11 points. The void on the blue line left by Provorov has been filled by Travis Sanheim, who has exploded for 10 points in 10 games.

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