Preview: Kings at Flyers
A season-high eight-game winning streak has positioned the Philadelphia Flyers as the talk of the NHL, even though some of the team's players are hesitant to speak on it. The Flyers vie to continue their ascent in the standings on Thursday when they face the Los Angeles Kings in the third contest of their five-game homestand.
"We've got L.A. Thursday. Let's focus on that," said Jakub Voracek, who scored the eventual game-winning goal in Philadelphia's 2-1 victory versus Vancouver on Monday to boost his point total to 13 (two goals, 11 assists) in his last 11 contests. Sean Couturier tallied for the second straight outing to lift his goal total to a team-best 21 for the Flyers, who have won four straight one-goal games to move within seven points of Columbus for the last wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Tyler Toffoli has helped ignite a rare win streak for Los Angeles, scoring in overtime in Monday's 4-3 triumph versus the New York Rangers before tallying twice in a 35-second stretch in the third period of Tuesday's 5-1 romp in New Jersey. The 26-year-old Toffoli notched an assist in the first meeting with Philadelphia, although the Flyers skated to a 5-2 victory to record its first win streak of the season.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FS West (Los Angeles), NBCS Philadelphia
ABOUT THE KINGS (22-27-4): Ilya Kovalchuk summarily was booed in Tuesday's tilt with the Devils, but that didn't stop the 35-year-old Russian from scoring late in the third period to boost his point streak to three games (two goals, two assists). "That's not something you're expecting, but that's OK," Kovalchuk said of the game-long reception. "You know that's their emotions, and that's how they react, so that's what I think. I was happy when I scored. That's always the best answer." Kovalchuk, who was playing in his first game in New Jersey since leaving the club in 2013 to continue his career in Russia, scored and set up a goal in the first meeting with the Flyers.
ABOUT THE FLYERS (24-23-6): Although celebrated rookie Carter Hart has rejuvenated Philadelphia by winning each of his last seven contests, Anthony Stolarz will get the start for the first time since his 38-save gem in a 1-0 victory over the Rangers on Jan. 29. Oskar Lindblom scored in the first period of that contest and has three goals and three assists in his last seven games after mustering just 12 points in his previous 45. The 22-year-old Swede score and set up a goal in the first encounter with Los Angeles while potential trade target Wayne Simmonds also tallied versus his former team.
1. Los Angeles G Jonathan Quick owns an 8-3-1 mark with two shutouts, a 1.59 goals-against average and .947 save percentage in 13 career meetings with Philadelphia.
2. The Flyers are 7-for-10 on the power play in the last three contests while their penalty kill is 8-for-9 in the last four.
3. Kings captain Anze Kopitar set up three goals on Tuesday and is riding a five-game point streak (three goals, six assists).
PREDICTION: Kings 3, Flyers 2