Flyers-Kings: 5 things you need to know

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Flyers-Kings: 5 things you need to know

The Flyers (26-23-6) continue their California trip today against the Kings (30-20-6).

Puck drop is set for 4 p.m. at Staples Center (CSN).

Here are five things you need to know:

1. Drier Island?
We know all about it, so going in depth is redundant.

Bottom line: The Flyers' decision to trade Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in order to sign Ilya Bryzgalov has proven to be the worst decision this franchise has ever made.

On Saturday, Richards and Carter will face the Flyers as teammates for the first time since being traded.

It will be the first time Carter has faced his former team, and the second time for Richards.

Carter leads the Kings with 20 goals, though he's in the midst of a five-game goalless drought. He has 67 goals total since being traded from the Flyers.

Like Carter, Richards is in the middle of a goalless drought. His is seven games, and Richie hasn't had a point in five games.

On the season, Richards has seven goals and 35 points. But anyone with any hockey knowledge knows there is more than the stat sheet when evaluating a hockey player.

Richards was never a goal scorer, or a prolific point-getter. He's above average offensively, but one of the top two-way players in the game. What he brings is invaluable.

Say what you want about the trade, the Flyers still haven't replaced Carter's goal scoring and they still miss Richards' leadership.

2. Real D please stand up
This game will tell you exactly how bad the Flyers' defense actually is, as the Kings enter today's contest 29th in the NHL in scoring.

Only the Sabres score fewer goals than the Kings and they have 15 fewer wins than L.A.

Meanwhile, the Flyers have allowed 23 goals in their last six games. While some of that can be pinned on Steve Mason, the defense has been brutal.

Whether it's missing assignments, turning the puck over or being caught flatfooted, the defense has been exposed badly.

With trade freeze looming at the Olympic break and the trade deadline only days after the NHL resumes, today's game will serve as a good test for GM Paul Holmgren to judge his roster.

3. G-lifornia dreamin'
In five career games, Claude Giroux has no goals against the Kings.

But today might be the day that snaps, as Giroux has been racking up points recently.

The Flyers' captain has six points in his last five games and has 16 goals this season. Giroux finished January with 13 points in 15 games.

Playing against Carter, who some believe took Giroux's spot on Team Canada, will provide some extra motivation for the 26-year-old.

4. Both struggling
Today's matchup features two teams struggling to win games.

The Flyers are 1-4-1 in their last six games. They lost 5-3 to Anaheim on Thursday and have allowed 23 goals in the five losses. Their only win was a 5-0 shutout over a depleted Detroit team.

Los Angeles is 1-6-1 in its last eight games. The Kings have just three goals in their last five games and have been shut out twice.

5. This and that

• Vinny Lecavalier has three goals in his last 22 games and hasn't had an even-strength goal since Jan. 14.

• The Flyers have a power-play goal in five straight games. It's the second time this year they have had a PP goal in at least five consecutive games.

• The Flyers are 6-1-1 all-time at Staples Center.

• Jonathan Quick is 1-5-1 in his last seven games with a 2.14 goals-against average.

• The Kings and Flyers are tied as the ninth-best penalty-kill unit in the NHL (83.6 percent).

• Former Flyer Justin Williams has played 186 consecutive games, the longest on the Kings.

Flyers Injury Update: Jordan Weal practices, but won't play vs. Washington

Flyers Injury Update: Jordan Weal practices, but won't play vs. Washington

VOORHEES, N.J. — Jordan Weal participated in the Flyers' full practice Tuesday at Skate Zone but will remain out of the lineup against Washington on Wednesday with an apparent concussion.

He was nailed in Edmonton by Oilers defenseman Eric Gryba. The hit in the corner came at 13:57 of the opening period.

Video replays show Gryba sandwiched Weal hard on the boards with Weal striking his head and right shoulder, then falling to the ice. Actually, Gryba hit him earlier in the period as well, but it was the second hit that seemed to go the most damage. 

Weal said both he and trainer Jim McCrossin agreed it was better to not return to the game after the second hit.

“He kind of drove me in pretty good there,” Weal said. “It’s a hockey play, though. Not much you can do.” 

The Flyers are being cautious with the head injury.

Coach Dave Hakstol was vague as to when Weal would re-enter the lineup. Weal had just been called up last week to replace Travis Konecny, who was placed on IR.

“I feel good,” said Weal, who took extra practice on Tuesday. “It definitely has been progressing every day. ... I’m day-to-day and as soon as I’m ready to go, I’m ready to go.

“It’s one of those injuries you just have to take your time with. I think when I feel I’m ready to play, I’ll be in.

“It’s frustrating. But it’s part of the game. With these injuries, it’s tougher than if it was, say your finger or your shin or something where you could put ice on it and get it better. You just have to treat it right and get back as quick as I can.”

Gudas’ departure
Defenseman Radko Gudas left early during what was a brief but long-delayed 45-minute practice on Tuesday.

What was noteworthy about Gudas’ departure, however, was that he picked up his gear and headed back to the dressing room while both trainers remained on the bench.

So he wasn’t injured.

Immediate speculation was that he might have been traded. An hour later, general manager Ron Hextall announced Gudas had had a dentist appointment to fix a broken tooth, incurred during the recent road trip.

Needless to say, Gudas’ leaving blew up Twitter with trade rumors.

Lower, lower body
Jake Voracek took a shot below the belt and couldn't stand for a few minutes near the end of practice. He remained in obvious pain in the dressing room and did not talk … as if he could. 

Michael Del Zotto on trade watch as NHL deadline nears

Michael Del Zotto on trade watch as NHL deadline nears

VOORHEES, N.J. — Michael Del Zotto knows the score.

With the NHL trade deadline just a week away, this can be a very uncomfortable time of year for an unrestricted free-agent-to-be.

Players who are expecting a pay day on a club where there are at least two or three younger and far less expensive rookies anticipating a promotion, know what that implies.

They’re on trade watch.

“It happens every year,” Del Zotto said. “It’s not like it’s the first time. I’ve been traded before. It is what it is. It’s a business.

“You realize that pretty early in your career. I understand where I’m at as far as my contract, being a UFA this summer.

“Same thing with taking each game one day at a time. You take each day one day at a time. Go home, make dinner, get ready for tomorrow and whatever happens, happens.”

The 26-year-old Del Zotto was traded in 2013-14 from the New York Rangers to Nashville. That trade occurred in January, well before the deadline, during a season after which he was about to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time.

That same summer, Del Zotto signed a one-year deal with the Flyers for $1.3 million. His current deal pays him $3.875 million. He’d have to take a pay cut to stay here given the long line of prospects ready to step in at a first-year NHL salary and that fact he has struggled defensively this season.

Del Zotto averages 19:23 ice time. He has 10 points in 32 games and is second among Flyers defensemen with 113 hits. He’s missed a total of 22 games this season with two different injuries, one to his left knee, the other to his left leg.

If you had a chart ranking of Flyers likely to be dealt at next Wednesday’s deadline, Del Zotto would be No. 1, with Mark Streit and one of the Flyers’ two goalies right behind him.

If possible, general manager Ron Hextall would like to add draft picks at the deadline.

“It’s a business and these things are out of your control,” Del Zotto said.

When he was traded to Nashville a few years ago, Del Zotto said he saw it coming.

“Anytime it does happen, and for the first time, it hits you hard,” he said. “Being in New York, I had my brother and wife living with me, it made it extra tough. With our schedule being tough, you don’t get to see them very often, but with them living with me, it was pretty special.

“That’s what hurt the most. Leaving my family. I decided, it’s a business and you never know when it can or can’t happen ...”

The line behind him in Philadelphia includes Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Travis Sanheim, Philippe Myers, etc.  

Del Zotto laughed and admitted he’s aware of those waiting.

“That’s the part of the game that is out of my control,” he said. “That is why you have the GM and coaching staff. To make those decisions. My job is to come into work every day, give everything you have.

“That’s one thing. I can always look myself in the mirror. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I give everything I have every day. At the end of the day, if I can look myself in the mirror, I’m happy. That’s all I can control.”

The Flyers host Washington on Wednesday before going to Pittsburgh for their Stadium Series outdoor game this weekend.

"[Those] are huge four-point games for us," he said. "We can't overlook that. We know where we are in the standings."