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Flyers start Western trip with visit to L.A.

by Brian Compton /

FLYERS (11-5-1) at KINGS (13-7-2)

Last 10 -- Flyers 7-3-0; Kings 5-3-2.

Season series -- This is the lone meeting between the teams this season. Jonathan Quick made 31 saves on Jan. 3 as Los Angeles earned a 2-1 shootout victory against Philadelphia at Staples Center. Philadelphia won the last meeting between the teams, 2-0 at the Wachovia Center on Feb. 25.

Big story -- Philadelphia heads to the West Coast with plenty of momentum after putting an end to the New Jersey Devils' winning ways on Monday night. New Jersey had a chance to tie the Buffalo Sabres for the most consecutive victories on the road to start a season (10), but Ray Emery made 33 saves in the Flyers' 3-2 win at the Wachovia Center -- which also ended the Devils' eight-game overall winning streak.

Team scope :

Flyers -- One of the many reasons Philadelphia has won six of last seven games is the play of James van Riemsdyk. The rookie forward has looked awfully good skating on a line with Danny Briere and Jeff Carter. He scored his fifth goal of the season during Monday's win against the Devils.

"Danny B (Briere) and Carts (Carter) were great on the forecheck there," van Riemsdyk said when asked to describe his goal. "It kind of caused a turnover, and I think the goalie might have poked it; Marty might have poked it out there. I was just at the right spot at the right time, and just threw it on net."

Kings -- Los Angeles returns home following a successful five-game road trip. The Kings ended their trek on a winning note when Jack Johnson scored in the shootout to give L.A. a 4-3 victory at Florida on Monday night.

"It's a fairly successful road trip," Johnson said after his team racked up three wins. "Obviously you want to go 5-0, but you're playing in the NHL and you're playing a lot of games. I think if we can win more than we lose on the road, and win our home games, we'll be in a great spot."

Who's hot -- Flyers forward Claude Giroux had a pair of assists against New Jersey and now has 10 points in 17 games. … Not only did Johnson score in the shootout on Monday, but the Kings' defenseman also scored on the power play in the third period. He has 6 points and 18 penalty minutes in 22 games.

Injury report -- Flyers right wing Arron Asham is expected to miss 10-14 days after suffering a strained oblique muscle on Monday. Left wing Simone Gagne (hernia) is out 4-6 weeks. … Los Angeles will be without veteran forward Ryan Smyth (upper body) and defenseman Rob Scuderi (lower body). Alec Martinez is also out with high ankle sprain.

Stat pack -- After this one, the Kings will play 17 of their next 18 games against Western teams. Twelve of those are against Central and Northwest Division opponents.

Puck drop -- This will be a very memorable trip for van Riemsdyk, who grew up in Middletown, N.J. The 20-year-old has never been to the West Coast.

"It's definitely a huge thrill," he said. "Kansas, I think, is the farthest west I've been. It will be pretty cool to see the whole country. I've never seen the Pacific Ocean. It will be great to go out there and see those buildings and the atmosphere out there. It's obviously a different experience, so that will be a pretty big thrill."

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