Kids are all right in opener

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Greg Beacham

LOS AN­GE­LES >> Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov al­ready looked com­fort­able with the Philadel­phia Fly­ers from the first mo­ments of their NHL de­buts.

The Fly­ers all made them­selves quite com­fort­able at Sta­ples Cen­ter in an im­pres­sive sea­son opener.

Boyd Gor­don and Sean Cou­turier scored 48 sec­onds apart to kick off a four-goal sec­ond pe­riod in Philadel­phia’s 4-2 vic­tory over the Los An­ge­les Kings on Fri­day night.

Cou­turier got two goals, Mark Streit also scored and Michal Neu­virth made 23 saves as the Fly­ers took a 4-0 lead and cruised to a win in their sea­son opener for the first time since 2011.

But even af­ter run­ning over the two-time Stan­ley Cup cham­pion Kings, the Fly­ers’ vet­er­ans mostly wanted to talk about 19-yearold rook­ies Konecny and Provorov, two first-round draft picks from 2015 who cracked the Philadel­phia ros­ter in train­ing camp.

“It’s awe­some hav­ing them here,” de­fense­man Shayne Gostis­be­here said. “They bring an el­e­ment I don’t think we nec­es­sar­ily had last year. They’ve got speed, and they can make plays.”

Konecny had two as­sists, set­ting up both of Cou­turier’s goals with nifty plays. Provorov added an­other as­sist on Streit’s goal.

“I can play bet­ter, and I’ll play bet­ter (Satur­day),” Provorov said. “You ex­pect the best. It’s the best league in the world. (Los An­ge­les) came out hard. We weath­ered the storm and started to play our game.”

Drew Doughty and Bray­den McNabb scored in the home opener for the Kings, whose 50th an­niver­sary sea­son is off to an 0-2 start af­ter a strong first pe­riod led to a dis­mal sec­ond against Philadel­phia.

“We were turn­ing over pucks, giv­ing odd-man rushes and had a few bad changes,” said Doughty, last sea­son’s Nor­ris Tro­phy win­ner. “It was one of the worst pe­ri­ods we have played as a team in a long time.”

Jeff Zatkoff made his home de­but with 26 saves in his first game as the Kings’ pre­sump­tive starter in the ab­sence of Jonathan Quick, the Vez­ina Tro­phy fi­nal­ist. Quick is out for sev­eral weeks with a groin in­jury, but Zatkoff wasn’t the Kings’ big­gest prob­lem while his team­mates re­peat­edly left him with­out help through poor de­ci­sions.

“(Quick) is ar­guably the best goalie in the NHL, but we can’t do any­thing about it,” Los An­ge­les cap­tain Anze Ko­pi­tar said. “We have to play hard and play with what we have.”

The Kings’ opener went down­hill from the pregame cer­e­mony to kick off their land­mark 50th an­niver­sary sea­son. The Fly­ers, who en­tered the NHL along­side the Kings in the league’s Sec­ond Six ex­pan­sion, also cel­e­brate their 50th this year.

The Fly­ers couldn’t put a shot on Zatkoff un­til Streit’s tame try 13 min­utes into the first pe­riod, but Gor­don started the scor­ing for his new team early in the sec­ond af­ter the Kings made a poor change. Cou­turier then scored con­sec­u­tive goals 7:21 apart.

Streit capped the bar­rage when the Swiss de­fense­man banked a shot off the back of Zatkoff’s head.


Fly­ers cen­ter Sean Cou­turier, cen­ter, cel­e­brates his goal with de­fense­man Bran­don Man­ning against the Los An­ge­les Kings on Fri­day.

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