Better With Popcorn

Weekly Flyers Preview: Oct. 27-Nov. 2

The Flyers look to build off of a successful road trip against some quality opponents this week.

They won back-to-back road games, beating Pittsburgh 5-3 on Wednesday before surving a 4-2 win against Detroit on Saturday.

The Flyers (3-3-2) have a real chance at finishing October with a .500 record. They still have two more 2013-14 playoff teams left on the schedule, but they could very well survive a month in which nine of their 10 opponents were playoff teams last season.

Tonight, October 28 vs. Los Angeles Kings (6-1-1, 13 points, 2nd Pacific) 7 p.m., CSN

The Flyers start the week off against some familiar faces out west.

The Kings have won six straight games, and have only allowed two goals once during that span. However, this game will be only their second on the road, losing at Arizona on Oct. 11.

Old friend Jeff Carter leads the team in points (12), but his five goals are not first. Carter’s linemate, Tanner Pearson, leads the Kings with seven goals. Tyler Toffoli (four goals) rounds out “That 70’s Line”.

Other than that line, the Kings offense hasn’t generated many goals. Only Anze Kopitar (two) has multiple goals, while Dustin Brown, Justin Williams and Dwight King each have one. Despite the struggles, the Kings have a 18.5 percent conversion rate on power plays (19th in the league).

Where the Kings are winning games is in their own end. No surprise as goalie Jonathan Quick has started hot, going 5-1-1, while boasting a miniscule 1.61 goals against average. Quick has also saved 95.3 percent of shots while blanking opponents twice already this season.

With stellar goaltending and defense, the Kings own the seventh best penalty killing unit in the league, killing off 85.7 percent of penalties.

Thursday, October 30 @ Tampa Bay Lightning (5-3-1, 9 points, 2ndAtlantic) 7:30 p.m., CSN

The Lightning will come off a five game road trip in which they went 3-2. In their last outing Saturday, they were soundly beaten 7-2 by Minnesota.

Tampa Bay averages three goals a game, which ranks tenth in the league. Leading the way for the Lightning is Steven Stamkos, with six. Ondrej Palat, Ryan Callahan and Victor Hedman each have three goals for the high-powered Tampa offense. They have connected on 23.5 percent of man advantages this season (ninth).

Ben Bishop has started six of Tampa’s nine games, and finished one in relief. This season he has a 4-1-1 record to go along with a very good 2.21 goals against average and a .918 save percentage. Veteran Evgeni Nabokov (1-2, 3.02, .873) is the backup.

The Lightning own the sixth ranked penalty kill, killing off 86.2 percent of penalties.

Saturday, November 1 @ Florida Panthers (2-2-3, 7 points, 6th Atlantic) 7 p.m., TCN

The Panthers will also come off of a road trip, splitting four games. They currently are 0-2 at home, losing to New Jersey and Ottawa in the first week of the season.

Florida’s offense is not one to be afraid of, as they have only scored more than two goals once this season. Their 1.43 goals per game rank 29th, only ahead of Buffalo.

Brad Boyes, Brandon Pirri and Sean Bergenheim have two goals each to lead the team. Boyes’ four points is also a club high. With a struggling offense, the Panthers have not scored on many power plays (11.1 percent, 24th)

In net, Roberto Luongo has done his best, winning two of six games. He has a solid 2.57 goals against average and has saved 91.7 percent of shots, but the lack of offense have prevented Florida from winning games.

The Panthers also struggle killing penalties, where their 73 percent kill rate ranks 28th.


Dan MacNeal
Staff Writer
Twitter: @Realdeal411@TCLFlyers