|Former Philadelphia coach Terry Murray is looking to mold his Kings team in the model of the Flyers.
As if the Los Angeles Kings didn't have enough similarities with the Philadelphia Flyers, Kings coach Terry Murray is looking for more.
There are connections to the Flyers up and down the Kings roster and front office.
Murray spent time as a player with the Flyers, and enjoyed a considerable amount of success as their coach from 1994-97. In those three seasons, Murray led the Flyers to two Atlantic Division Championships and to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1997.
Then there is Kings general manager Dean Lombardi, who spent time as a pro scout for the Flyers for two seasons.
Kings vice president/assistant general manager Ron Hextall was an outstanding goaltender for the Flyers for 11 seasons.
And if that weren't enough, recently acquired defenseman, Randy Jones, spent five seasons with Philadelphia.
Yet those connections have little to do with the performance of the team itself, something Murray is solely concerned with.
The Kings returned home from a five-game road trip only to lose to the Flyers 3-2 before an announced crowd of 17,821.
It was a sloppy game for the Kings playing their first game without left winger Ryan Smyth. The Kings outshot the Flyers 39-20 yet were unable to take advantage of opportunities offensively and suffered breakdowns defensively.
"It's a game I think we're going to look at as (one) we gave away," center Anze Kopitar said. "I think we're playing decent but just those two break downs in the second period cost us a goal, and when you're behind you're trying to chase it."
Jones made his STAPLES Center debut against his former team, and at practice Wednesday morning Jones emphasized that he was approaching the game as he would any other.
"It's another game, another game against a top team," Jones said prior to the game. "Obviously we're in a different conference but they're one of the top teams in the league so it's going to be a pretty good contest for us."
Jones was placed on waivers by the Flyers, eventually claimed by the Kings on Oct. 29, and said that there are no hard feelings.
"I've moved on," Jones said. "It's another step in my career and it's just an opportunity to play here with a classy organization and I'm more than happy to have the opportunity."
With the win on Wednesday, the Flyers have won seven of their last eight games, and Murray sees a lot of what the Kings aspire to be in that team.
"We're trying to bring an attitude the Flyers have shown over the past," Murray said. "We're trying to be a hard team, a gritty team, we want to play with good structure on the defensive side of the game first. I know that's been the philosophy of Philadelphia over the years. In order to be a successful team that's the foundation that you have to have and rely on on a consistent basis. So if that's the comparables then we take it as a compliment because we look at them as a pretty successful team over the years."
Murray also noted the success the Flyers have had at developing prospects and looking towards the NHL Draft as the best way to strengthen the team, a philosophy Lombardi has brought to Los Angeles.
"We're trying to get there," Murray said.
Kopitar said that while the game proved to be a measuring-stick game to see how far the Kings have come from last season and how they must now move forward without Smyth, this was a game he felt the team needed to have.
Goaltender Jonathan Quick chose to look at Wednesday's game with long-term implications.
"At the end of the year, you want to have games like this under your belt that you won, and tonight we couldn't get it done."