EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- They were still talking about how well they played in Anaheim and came away with nothing Thursday when they deserved a point.
That's how this three-game, six-day West Coast romp began and now the Flyers are facing an L.A. Kings squad that is in worse shape, having won just three of its last 10 games.
“Like I told my players, yeah we played good enough, but in the end it wasn’t enough,” Craig Berube said after Friday's practice that was largely devoted to the power play in which puck passing and protection was atop the focus.
That's because the Ducks scored a late shorthanded goal that turned out to be decisive in Thursday's 5-3 win.
“We have to keep that in perspective against L.A. -- it’s about winning,” Berube said. “They are a physical, dangerous team that plays hard.”
On the same sheet of ice two hours earlier, Kings coach Darryl Sutter ran his four lines over and over in shooting drills. They’re having trouble scoring goals.
Sutter has been juggling his lines. On Friday, he had Mike Richards centering Justin Williams and Matt Fratin. Jeff Carter was on Anze Kopitar’s line with Tyler Toffoli.
Berube has no changes planned for the Kings, but said he was impressed enough with how Michael Raffl played between Zac Rinaldo and Adam Hall to keep the Austrian there. Berube wants more speed down the middle on the fourth line.
Saturday's rare afternoon match at Staples Center will be the first time Wayne Simmonds has played in the building since joining the Flyers.
Friday was also his first visit to his old practice facility.
“Everything still looks the same,” Simmonds said. “I talked to the trainers this morning. It’s nice to talk to guys I have not seen in a while. They kind of renovated the place. This place is amazing.”
Simmonds said he thought the loss to Anaheim was the “hardest” physical battle the Flyers put up this season.
“It was a physical game -- those are type of games I love to play,” he said. “Unfortunately, we came out of it with nothing. We got to draw from the negatives and take it on [Saturday]. The Kings are a big, physical team, kind of the same mold as Anaheim.
“Big bodies. I’ve been watching them lately. They haven’t scored any goals, but that can change on any given night and we’ve got to focus on ourselves.”
There were 46 hits in the Flyers-Ducks game. Yeah, it was physical.
“It’s going to happen where you have great games and don’t get points and the opposite is you play brutal and get a bounce or a break or the goalie stands on his head,” Scott Hartnell said.
“It’s frustrating. We had a lot of chances, a lot of zone time. We were physical -- one of our best games of the year and to come out it with nothing leaves a bad taste in our mouths. Tomorrow, you will have two hungry teams going at it and both desperately need a win.”
Kopitar has points in eight of his last 12 games. Carter has goals in four of his last nine games. Richards has five points in his last eight games.
Incredibly, goalie Jonathan Quick went into Thursday’s 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh with a 1.66 goals-against average and .934 save percentage over his previous 12 games.
Yet, Quick was yanked in the first period against the Penguins after giving up three goals on the first seven shots.
“They’re not doing well either and it’s a dangerous game,” Berube said. “We’ve got to be prepared to compete like we did [against Anaheim]. It comes down to clean hockey.”
By that, Berube means mistake-free -- not penalties. The Flyers had a couple of breakdowns -- a goal allowed with 35.1 seconds left in the first period and a shorthanded goal in the third period. That cost them the game. Those plays, he said, were not “clean.”
Especially, the shorthanded goal.
“From a faceoff in the offensive zone, it shouldn’t happen and it did,” Berube said. “If we had done that (played clean), we would have won the game. Has nothing to do with work ethic or competiveness. Just make it clean.”