Both clubs look to carry their momentum into the second half of the season as the Kings, opening an eight-game road trip, visit Philadelphia on Tuesday for the first time in nearly five years.
|Anze Kopitar and the Los Angeles Kings return to action tonight at Philadelphia as they will face the Flyers for the first and only time this season.
A season after finishing with the league's worst record, the Flyers (27-16-5) have moved into a tie with New Jersey atop the Atlantic Division by going 11-2-1 in their last 14 games.
"That was a goal of ours all year," Flyers center R.J. Umberger said. "It's a crucial time now."
Los Angeles (20-29-2) won five of its final seven games leading into the break, but still has the fewest points of any team in the league. Coach Marc Crawford hopes four days off for All-Star festivities can further rejuvenate his club.
"Even though we're in last place, our guys still need a break," Crawford said, "especially from hearing the voices of the coaches, including me."
Many of the Flyers felt similarly even though they were playing some of their best hockey of the season heading into All-Star weekend.
"A couple days off from the rink to recharge the batteries is important," captain Jason Smith told the Flyers' official Web site. "Anytime you have a chance to refocus and just have some time to mellow, it's good."
This is the first of eight straight road games for Los Angeles, which does not play at home again until Feb. 15. The trip includes games against every Atlantic Division team as well as trips to Detroit, Columbus and St. Louis.
It's been almost eight years since the Kings won in Philadelphia. They have played there only twice since that victory, with the last visit coming on Feb. 20, 2003 as the Flyers won 5-0. Philadelphia is 6-1-1 in the last eight meetings, including a 4-3 win on Nov. 16, 2006 in the most recent matchup as Umberger scored twice.
The Flyers are 8-1-1 at home versus Los Angeles, with the only regulation loss coming on April 1, 1993.
Philadelphia defeated Pittsburgh 4-3 on Thursday as Umberger had a goal and two assists before Mike Knuble scored the game-winner with 14:35 to play.
|Scott Hartnell, right, hopes to keep the Flyers atop the Atlantic Division in the second half of the season. (AP Photo/Ed Betz)|
Scott Hartnell contributed two assists, giving him 16 points in his last nine games.
"Everyone is doing a great job collectively," Hartnell said. "We're fighting together, playing together, and it's awesome to see."
The Flyers have scored a power-play goal in 10 consecutive games, going 18-for-53 (34.0 percent) during that span. They lead the league at 25.1 percent for the season.
Los Angeles has been the Western Conference's worst penalty-killing team at 78.6 percent, but has not allowed a power-play goal in its opponents' 12 opportunities over the last three games.
The Kings have held the opposition to 1-for-14 on the power play in their last five road games, winning four.
"We're buying into the system and our goalie has been great," said Derek Armstrong, who had a goal and an assist in Thursday's 3-1 win over Anaheim. "When you play with a structure, you have a chance to win every night."
Jason LaBarbera made 31 saves Thursday, improving to 5-2-0 with a .926 save percentage in his last seven starts.
Anze Kopitar scored in the latest win and leads the Kings with 46 points. The 20-year-old center was the youngest player in Sunday's All-Star game but went pointless.