LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Steve Mason didn’t care that the Los Angeles Kings were having trouble lately putting the puck in the net.
He was more concerned about getting himself back in a groove.
Mason posted his second shutout in three games with 35 saves and Wayne Simmonds scored his 100th NHL goal, leading the Philadelphia Flyers to a 2-0 victory on Saturday.
It was the 22nd career shutout and third this season for Mason, who stopped 33 shots in a 5-0 win against Detroit last Tuesday after getting pulled by coach Craig Berube in two of his previous three starts.
“You’ve got to have a short-term memory,” the six-year veteran said. “People like to talk about negative things, and as players, you’ve just got to put it behind you and move on.
“It was pretty much a 1-0 game the whole way, so there’s not room for error. They have some big forwards up front and guys who can come to the net hard.”
Claude Giroux added his 17th goal on a power play with 1:58 left, converting a cross-ice pass at the left of the crease from Scott Hartnell while Matt Greene was serving an interference penalty. The Flyers have had a power-play goal in six straight games.
The Kings have scored fewer than three goals in 16 of 20 games since their 25-8-4 start, and are 5-13-2 during that stretch with five shutout losses. When they score more than two, they are 19-3-0.
Los Angeles has only three goals in its past six games combined—all of them by Anze Kopitar. Mason got a huge break with less than 3 1/2 minutes left, when Justin Williams tried a wraparound and hit the left post.
“We just need that dirty goal,” Kings forward Tyler Toffoli said. “I think we had chances to bury them tonight and couldn’t finish them, so we’ve really got to bear down. It’s time to get back on track. It’s just two games before the (Olympic) break, so we’ve got to get ourselves going in the right direction.”
The Flyers had managed only five shots on net before Simmonds got his 18th goal at 7:48 of the first period. Jonathan Quick, who faced only 13 shots, overplayed Vincent Lecavalier at the right of the crease along with Kings defenceman Jake Muzzin following a turnover by the Kings in their zone, and Simmonds slammed the puck into a wide-open net.
“I’ve been sitting on 99 for five games, so it felt good to get it,” Simmonds said. “I got my first one here and my 100th in this building, so it was pretty nice. I’ve been playing with great linemates and I’ve been really determined this year.”
Simmonds and teammate Brayden Schenn returned to Staples Center for the first time since the Kings swapped them for Mike Richards in June 2011.
“It was a little bit difficult, obviously, not knowing anything else in the NHL,” Simmonds said. “The Kings gave me an opportunity to play in this league, and I’m forever grateful for that. But once you get traded, it’s a business and immediately you’ve got to try and forget about it.
“I gave my heart to the Kings, and now my heart’s with the Flyers. I bleed orange now, and that’s the way it’s going to be. It was nice to see some familiar faces, but there are no friends when you lace up the skates.”
The Kings’ Robyn Regehr played in his 1,000th NHL regular-season game, becoming the 98th defenceman in NHL history to reach that plateau, and the club marked the occasion with a pregame ceremony. Regehr’s first game was Oct. 28, 1999, with the Calgary Flames at Ottawa. Among those taking part in Saturday’s ceremony were former Calgary teammate Craig Conroy and Regehr’s grandmother, who wore a Flames jersey with his old No. 28.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter appreciates what Regehr has gone through to get this far. They were together for three seasons in Calgary—including 2003-04, when the Flames came within one victory of winning the Stanley Cup.
“With the injuries he’s had and the way he trains, you have to give him a lot of credit for him to continue to play the same way and continue to be a really good role model for young players,” Sutter said.
“He’s obviously not the player he was, because that’s just what happens as you get older. But the role model part is really good—especially for the young players to see that.”
This was the first meeting between the Kings and Flyers since Oct. 15, 2011, when Los Angeles won 3-2. It also was a reunion for Kings centre Jeff Carter, whom the Flyers traded to Columbus on June 23, 2011—the same day they dealt Richards to Los Angeles.
Eight months later, the Kings acquired Richards by sending Jack Johnson to the Blue Jackets. Carter and Richards led Los Angeles to its first Stanley Cup title in 2012, two years after helping the Flyers get to the finals.
NOTES: Richards has one goal in his past 32 games, and that one came on the power play. Carter has no goals in his past six games, following a four-game goal streak. … Kings C Colin Fraser is one of seven forwards in the league to have played 30 or more games this season without scoring a goal—and average at least nine minutes of ice time. … Among the numerous Kings-Flyers connections is fan favourite Ian Laperriere, who played eight-plus seasons with Los Angeles and is now an assistant coach with Philadelphia.