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POSTGAME 5: Clock strikes midnight

Flyers late rally not enough as Kings take New Year's Eve showdown, 5-3, in LA

by Bill Meltzer @BillMeltzer

HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED
The Flyers fell, 5-3, to the LA Kings in a New Year's Eve clash at the Staples Center on Tuesday night.

The Kings roared out to a 4-0 lead in the first period on goals by Kyle Clifford, Alex Iafallo, Tyler Toffoli and Adrian Kempe.

Justin Braun got the Flyers on the board with 5:01 left in the second period on a shot that generated a friendly bounce into the net, but Martin Frk put the Kings back ahead by four goals just 91 seconds into the third period. Claude Giroux converted a nice feed from Jakub Voracek, narrowing the gap to 5-2 and Scott Laughton made it 5-3 late in the third.

Brian Elliott was pulled after the first period, yielding four goals on 15 shots. He was also charged with two giveaways. Carter Hart went the rest of the way, turning back 13 of 14 shots. Jonathan Quick earned the win for LA. He stopped 32 of 35 Flyers shots.

Three Stars:
1st: Adrian Kempe (1g-1a)
2nd: Jonathan Quick (33 of 35 shots)
3rd: Kyle Clifford (1g)

TURNING POINT
A manageable early 1-0 deficit turned into a 4-0 crater after two power play goals and a shorthanded tally by LA. With the Flyers playing for the third time in less than 96 hours, they could hardly have made life any harder on themselves than they did by getting of to such as awful start.

MELTZER'S TAKE
* Entering this game, the Kings had the worst combined specialty teams in the NHL, but you wouldn't know it from how thoroughly they outworked the Flyers in scoring a pair of power play goals on a deflection and a second-effort play and then a shorthanded 2-on-1 goal off an ill-advised drop pass on an entry attempt at the other end.

* In the second period, Joel Farabee set up a great scoring chance for Mikhail Vorobyev. Later, although he didn't get a point on the play, Farabee took the D to the net and it paid off in some puck luck as Braun's shot deflected off a skate into the net to cut the Flyers' gap to 4-1. Video: PHI@LAK: Laughton deflects Braun's shot past Quick

* With the Kings leading 4-0, Kurtis MacDermid's aggressive high hit on Ivan Provorov was the type that can backfire by energizing the other team. Thankfully, Provorov got right back up to his feet. Ditto a bad retaliatory roughing penalty on Austin Wagner that gave the Flyers a power play with a chance to draw within 4-2. Unfortunately, the best ensuing chances were a shorthanded solo bid by Jeff Carter and then one for Wagner, taking the puck away from Shayne Gostisbehere after exiting the penalty box. Luckily for the Flyers, Carter Hart came up with big saves on both.

* After Giroux put home a perfect feed from Voracek, James van Riemsdyk had a golden opportunity to get the Flyers back within 2 goals. Quick shot out his pad to make his best save of the game. A Braun shot off Laughton's skate made it 5-3.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
* The Flyers suffered their fifth loss in the last six meetings against the Kings... The two will wrap up the season series in Philadelphia on Jan. 18.

* Claude Giroux scored his 12th goal of the season, which ties him for the team lead... It also extended his point streak to four straight games (1g-3a).Video: PHI@LAK: Giroux taps Voracek's feed home for PPG

* Justin Braun recorded his first goal as a Flyer and his first two-point game as a Flyer with an assist on Scott Laughton's goal.

* Jake Voracek recorded an assist to give him points in six of his last seven games (1g-6a).

* The Flyers defense has six goals in their last six games.

* The Flyers kick off 2020 with a game in Las Vegas when they take on the Golden Knights at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSP & 97.5 The Fanatic.

THEY SAID IT

Video: Hear from Flyers coach following loss to LAKVideo: Hear from Laughton, Niskanen and Elliott after loss

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