Flyers Top Kings In Leighton’s Return
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mike Richards had two goals and two assists, Michael Leighton made 32 saves in a raucous season debut and the Philadelphia Flyers lit up the Los Angeles Kings’ normally sturdy defense in a 7-4 victory Thursday night.
Danny Briere, James van Riemsdyk and Jeff Carter each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers, who rebounded from consecutive losses by shredding the mistake-prone Kings.
Los Angeles gave up 13 goals in back-to-back losses to close a stretch of four games in five days.
Scott Hartnell and Carter also scored during Philadelphia’s four-goal second period that chased Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier.
Ville Leino scored a third-period goal, and Claude Giroux had a career-high three assists for the Flyers.
Ryan Smyth scored two goals for the Kings, who hadn’t allowed more than three goals in any period this season before giving up two four-goal periods in the past two nights to Phoenix and Philadelphia.
Leighton won eight games during the Flyers’ run to the Stanley Cup finals last summer, but hadn’t played since giving up Chicago’s title-winning goal in overtime June 9. He had surgery on a herniated disk in his back last Oct. 20 and did two rehab stints in the AHL.
The Kings kept Leighton scrambling for much of the night, but his teammates scored more than enough goals to ensure a win in the second stop of a five-game road trip.
Justin Williams and Jack Johnson also scored for the Kings in their unimpressive start to an eight-game homestand. Los Angeles’ worst two-game defensive stretch of the season pushed it out of the Western Conference lead in goals allowed per game.
Bernier allowed six goals on 22 shots before coach Terry Murray pulled him late in the second period. He was replaced by Jonathan Quick, who got pulled in favor of Bernier in Wednesday’s 6-3 loss at Phoenix.
Leighton got off to a rough start when Smyth’s simple backhand from the corner slipped past his skates less than three minutes in. After Briere’s team-leading 18th goal a few minutes later, Williams scored his 15th goal during a lengthy 6-on-5 advantage due to a delayed penalty.
Hartnell put the Flyers ahead 3-2 early in the second period when Giroux’s pass into the crease deflected off his skate. Richards then easily scored his second goal 66 seconds later on van Riemsdyk’s cross-ice pass.
Carter connected in the final seconds of an 86-second two-man advantage to put the Flyers ahead 5-3 midway through the second period, and van Riemsdyk added another power-play goal four minutes later.
NOTES: Richards got an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty after the Flyers’ fifth goal for apparently talking trash to Bernier. … Flyers LW Jody Shelley began his two-game suspension for punching Vancouver’s Andrew Alberts in the head during Tuesday’s loss to the Canucks. The suspension is the fifth in the career of Shelley, the longtime Sharks enforcer. … Flyers D Sean O’Donnell returned to Los Angeles, where he spent eight seasons during two stints with the Kings before leaving last summer. Kings assistant coach John Stevens was the Flyers’ head coach before getting fired on Dec. 4,
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)