Sometimes a game can be decided by a single inch. The Philadelphia Flyers found that out against the Los Angeles Kings during a Saturday afternoon matinee at the Staples Center.
Three minutes and eighteen seconds remained on the third period clock when Justin Williams’ wrap-around shot hit the post. About one minute after Williams almost tied the game, Mark Streit spun at the blue line, keeping the puck just inside the blue stripe and backhanded a pass into the corner. The puck skittered to the stick of Scott Hartnell who found a wide open Claude Giroux at the goal mouth. Giroux roofed the puck over a diving Jonathan Quick and the Flyers sealed a 2-0 victory over the Kings.
Giroux’s goal, his 17th of the year, was one of 13 shots the Flyers put on the future United States Olympian.
Steve Mason turned in a remarkable goaltending performance. He made 35 saves and earned his second shutout in three starts.
The Kings, who have scored two goals in their last four games, fired a barrage of shots over three periods, but Mason continued to make stop after stop.
Wayne Simmonds, who wore the alternate captain’s “A” because Kimmo Timonen was out of the lineup, opened the scoring in the second period.
Simmonds’ goal came from a turnover in the Kings’ defensive zone. Giroux swatted down a clearing attempt with his stick and found a streaking Vincent Lecavalier on the opposite side of the ice. Lecavalier cocked his stick as if he were shooting, but passed to Simmonds who was on and island at the left of the goal mouth. Simmonds double clutched before he slammed the puck into the net for his 18th goal of the season and his 100th career goal.
Lecavalier nearly had his second assist of the game when he made a backhand pass to Brayden Schenn who was in front of the net. Schenn attempted to backhand the puck, but Quick went down into the splits and got a pad on the puck to keep the game close.