View Original Notice ? Kings pit their good vibes against reeling Flyers
Saturday’s matinee meeting between the Kings and Flyers in Philadelphia will feature one team with two contrasting milestones in its rearview mirror and another dragging a string of 13 losses behind it like Jacob Marley’s chain.
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty played in his 1,000th game on Thursday night, a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders, and center Quinton Byfield scored his first NHL goal in the game as well.
“The young and the old, I guess,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “I don’t think Drew would like that word, and he isn’t old by any means. He has a lot of hockey left.”
McLellan also pondered where he would be when Byfield, the second pick in the 2020 draft, played his 1,000th game. Doughty and Byfield spoke fondly of one another.
“He’s been a great leader to all the young guys and a leader to the team as well,” Byfield said of Doughty, who was the second overall pick in the 2008 draft. “He’s a competitive guy and he makes you want to do more out there. It’s exciting to share that with him.”
For Doughty’s 1,000th game, he was also joined by fellow career Kings and 1,000-game veterans Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. The Kings have five points through the first three games of their six-game road trip.
Doughty, Brown and Kopitar each contributed an assist against the Islanders. Winger Andreas Athanasiou recorded a goal and an assist in his first game since Dec. 14.
The Flyers, on the other hand, have not had much to celebrate this season.
They became the first NHL team in more than a decade to endure two streaks of at least 10 consecutive games without a win in the same season. They reached that ignominious distinction for the first time in franchise history, and in less than half a season.
Coach Alain Vigneault and assistant Michel Therrien were fired amid an earlier 10-game skid.
Assistant-turned-interim coach Mike Yeo has presided over the ongoing debacle, which is the longest stretch without a win in franchise history. The Flyers and Kings both entered the league in 1967.
In its most recent loss, Philadelphia defenseman Keith Yandle played in his record-setting 965th consecutive game. Yandle surpassed Doug Jarvis, whose mark had stood since 1987.
Center Claude Giroux and winger Cam Atkinson, who had three assists in a 6-3 loss to the Kings on Jan. 1, have paced the Flyers offensively. Exacerbating their upheaval have been voids at center, with Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes among those who have sustained injuries.
KINGS AT PHILADELPHIA
When: Saturday, 10 a.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center
TV/Radio: Bally Sports West / iHeartRadio