The Philadelphia Flyers started their first West Coast trip of the season by enjoying the same kind of success they've enjoyed on the East Coast.
The Flyers won for the seventh time in eight games by holding off the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 at the Staples Center on Wednesday night in their first game outside the Eastern time zone. Mika Pyorala scored his first NHL goal and backup goalie Brian Boucher made 37 saves as the Flyers won for the seventh time in eight games.
Philadelphia, which had played 12 of its previous 15 games at home, also got goals by Mike Richards and rookie James van Riemsdyk to win the opener of a five-game trip that continues in San Jose on Friday.
"I didn't think we had out 'A' game by any means, but good teams find a way to grind it out and get a win, and that's what we did tonight," Flyers coach John Stevens said.
Jarrett Stoll had a goal and an assist, and Jonathan Quick stopped 17 shots for the Kings, who lost in their first game back home after a 3-2-0 five-game trip.
"We didn't show up to play, and that's why we lost the game," said Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, whose power-play goal 12:19 into the final period cut the deficit to one goal. "The first two periods, we weren't too solid. It wasn't like we were playing that bad. We just let them have three easy goals. We can't have that. We talk, and watch video on our D zone all the time, and when we make little mistakes like that, it’s tough and we've got to learn from it."
The Kings fired away at Boucher in the third period, outshooting Philadelphia 21-5. Doughty trimmed the Flyers' lead with a power-play goal on a long slap shot though traffic with 7:51 to play, but Los Angeles couldn't get the equalizer. The Kings did come close in the final 15 seconds when Michal Handzus' tip in front of Boucher skittered under the goalie and missed the right post by an inch or two.
It was Boucher's first win in his second hitch with the Flyers. Ray Emery has started all but two games this season.
"Boosh is rested, we have lots of hockey this week, so I think it's a good opportunity for Boosh to get in," Stevens said. "We need him to play well here and at the same time, give Ray some rest, heading into a busy week here."
The Kings got their first taste of life without injured forward Ryan Smyth, a 15-year veteran whose steady presence at NHL scoring leader Anze Kopitar's side has propelled Los Angeles to a solid start. He may miss a month with an upper-body injury sustained in Monday's win at Florida. Coach Terry Murray replaced Smyth on the top line with Alexander Frolov, who's been shaky this fall after leading the Kings with 32 goals last season.
Kopitar was held scoreless for just the fifth time this season. He hasn't scored a goal in five games, his longest drought of the season.
"The line itself — I don't want to talk about Fro, necessarily — but the line itself needs to be better," Murray said.
Even without Smyth, the Kings took the lead when Stoll scored at 14:53 of the opening period, beating Boucher through the pads from near the goal line to the left of the goaltender. Pyorala tied it 7:52 into the second, flipping home a rebound of Scott Hartnell's shot with a backhand while falling face-first to the ice. The 28-year-old Finnish center hadn't scored in his first 17 games with the Flyers, who signed him in July after he played in Sweden last winter.
"[Braydon Coburn] was on the blue line and he faked a shot and gave it to Hartsy," Pyorala said. "He took a shot and I got the rebound and the puck went into the net."
Philadelphia took control after its first goal, dominating the puck before Mike Richards put the Flyers ahead at 18:55 with a one-timer on a behind-the-net pass from Claude Giroux. van Riemsdyk made it 3-1 by scoring in his third straight game, deflecting a rebound off Quick at 1:47 of the third period.
"We played well enough to win, but the Flyers played a real good road game," Murray said. "They played smart. They're a good team. They've got some premier players, and they capitalized on turnovers, mistakes, decisions that we made, and they win because of it."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.
1 - 0 LAK
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 PHI
James van Riemsdyk