The Flyers' branch of the family woke up a bit faster than the Kings on Saturday afternoon and took advantage, holding on for a 2-1 victory at Staples Center.
Three former Flyers have played prominent roles for the Kings — Justin Williams, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. Newly minted Flyers General Manager Ron Hextall was a front-office executive for many years with the Kings. And Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds, who had the game-winning goal Saturday, started his NHL career in Los Angeles.
The Kings outshot the visiting Flyers by a wide margin — 38-16 — but they gave up a goal on the first shot of the game, by Claude Giroux, and another on a fluke, as Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick got part of Simmonds' shot before it went in. Those were the only scores for the struggling Flyers, who have won only three times on the road, but it was enough to earn the win.
"We obviously weren't prepared for the 1 o'clock game today," Williams said. "But at the same time, when you fall behind, you have a chance to come back and we certainly had our chances to come back, to atone for our start. The power play just didn't get it done. We had some shots blocked and as a result, we lost."
The lone Kings goal came from the determined Williams, who scored at 4:09 of the third period, going after a loose puck, to cut the Flyers' lead to 2-1. It was his sixth of the season and the assists went to center Jarret Stoll and defenseman Robyn Regehr.
With his usual linemate, Marian Gaborik, sidelined for an undetermined period because of an upper-body injury, Kings center Anze Kopitar has been on a line with Carter and Tanner Pearson, with Kings Coach Darryl Sutter splitting up the earlier combination of Pearson-Carter-Tyler Toffoli.
"Carter is actually playing quite well," said Sutter, noting that Carter had a least four "Grade A" chances. ""When we split them up, it's because we went on a long trip and Tanner and Tyler had a lot of heavy lifting on the road and couldn't handle it."
Gaborik has missed the last four games and Sutter was asked if he would accompany the team on its five-game trip, starting Tuesday in Buffalo. Sutter said that Gaborik would let them know when he is ready to play.
Even before Gaborik exited the lineup, Kopitar has struggled to score.
"We just have to finish and focus and bear down better than we did," said Kopitar, who has gone nine games without a goal. "Obviously, no disrespect to him [goalie Steve Mason], he played a good game, but we have to do better."
Said Simmonds, who scored on the power play at 2:08 of the second period: "They're a good team, Stanley Cup champs. They've got a lot of big players on their team and they all do a good job of finishing their checks. I think we did a good job of competing tonight. That should do a lot for us.
"It shows we can hang in with the big boys. We have a lot of confidence in ourselves and we know we can play better than we have to this point. It's on all of us as players to go out there and do it."
It all came back to the sluggish start for the Kings. That and the struggling power play, which went 0 for 5.
"There's no excuses for it," Stoll said of the slow start. "I won't even give you one of them. We've got to be better. We have enough experience in this room, enough character in this room not to be doing that. Lesson learned, again."