By Alex Brenninger
Goalie Brian Elliott is back in goal tonight against the Kings at the Wells.
Maybe he’ll jump-start the he Flyers, who with third-string goaltender Alex Lyon seemed to lack energy in a 4-1 home defeat to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.
Lyon started because Carter Hart is out for two-to-three weeks with an abdominal strain and backup Elliott earned the 4-3 overtime win Wednesday at St. Louis.
Elliott (10-5-3, 3.14 goals-against average) is expected to start against Los Angeles.
Joel Farabee scored the only goal for the Flyers against Montreal.
The Flyers have recently picked up wins against some of the league’s top teams, such as the Blues, Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins. But they realize they must bring the same energy against teams such as the Canadiens and Kings.
“These are big games. There’s almost nothing separating teams,” Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said. “I understand emotionally, but points are the same. This game [against Montreal] was worth two. You’ve got to get up for it. You’ve got to get yourself ready.”
The Kings, like the Canadiens, are currently out of the playoff race.
Philly lost for just the fourth time in regulation at home against Montreal. To avoid a fifth defeat, a better effort has to be there from beginning to end.
The Kings will try to bounce back from a frustrating 4-3 loss on the road to the Florida Panthers on Thursday in which they fell behind 4-0 before a late push.
Los Angeles, which has dropped six of seven (1-5-1), also lost a tough 4-3 decision at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.
Against the Panthers, Anze Kopitar scored one goal and added a pair of assists while Alex Iafallo and Jeff Carter had one goal apiece. Goalie Jack Campbell made 22 saves.
The one-goal losses continued on the road.
“They swarmed. They held on to pucks in our zone. They made us make mistakes,” Kings head coach Todd McLellan said. “We’re professionals. We should be able to show up, but let’s get out of the sunshine, let’s get back to the cold weather.”
Kopitar leads the Kings with 17 goals and 26 assists for 43 points, but he’s much more concerned about winning. And it’s not happening in recent games.
“It’s the desperation part that kicked in in the second half of the third,” said Kopitar, whose goal cut the lead to 4-3 at 17:20 of the third period. “We’ve got to figure out how to bring that to the start of games.”
Kings center Blake Lizotte could be out for a fifth consecutive straight game with a lower-body injury. Lizotte is listed as day-to-day by the Kings.
This game will be an annual homecoming for center Jeff Carter, who began his career with the Flyers in 2007-08 before being traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in June 2011 and then to the Kings the following season.