Flyers Tortorella, Canucks Tocchet

Canucks Game Day 36: The Return Of Torts, Momentum Restart

Canucks Game Facts

Tonight: Philadelphia Flyers at Vancouver Canucks

Where: Rogers Arena

When: 7 pm pacific

TV/Radio: Sportsnet / AM-650

Key Factors:

Starting goalkeepers: Samuel Ersson vs. Casey DeSmith

Carter Hart shut-out the Canucks 2-0 in Philadelphia back on October 17th.

If one thinks the Canucks schedule was a bit unusual surrounding the holiday break, then the Flyers schedule could best be described as downright whacked. Nagging might be another word.

Philadelphia played three games in four nights, finishing with a back-to-back set on December 21st and 22nd, had a five day Christmas break, and now resumes with three games in four nights starting with a back-to-back in Vancouver and then Seattle.

In their last game in Detroit they fell behind 5-1, charged back to take a 6-5 lead, only to lose 7-6 in a shoot-out. The Flyers goalie for all of that one was Hart. 24-year-old Samuel Ersson is the other option.

Despite the schedule, Philly is 7-1-and-2 in their last ten games, while the Canucks are 7-0-and-2 during a nine game point streak.

The match-up marks the return to Vancouver of John Tortorella, the Canucks bench boss for the 2013-’14 season. His record here was 36-35-and-11.

Torts is in his 2nd season with the Flyers and his 21st as an NHL head coach, if you don’t include the four games he led the New York Rangers as an interim in 1999-2000.

The Philly power play is dead last in the NHL.

Who’s Hot? And Not …

Owen Tippett is the hottest Flyer with six points over his last seven games. Travis Konecny, he who referred to Canucks winger Conor Garland as an “angry elf” back in 2021, is the club’s leading scorer with 27 points. Defenceman Travis Sanheim is 2nd with 24 points.

We recently summarized the Canucks various positions on the NHL leaderboards.

Reinstated top line winger Andrei Kuzmenko had two goals in opening the scoring last Saturday against the Sharks.

The 3rd line of Dakota Joshua, Teddy Blueger and Garland is clicking while the 4th line combinations have slowed down with offensive contributions. Pius Suter would be an exception with four points over his last four games.

Phil Di Giuseppe didn’t play against the Sharks; he’s pointless in 13 straight.

Special Teams

Philly went 0-for-2 on the power play while racking up six even strength goals in Detroit last week. They gave up one PP goal to the Red Wings. The season power play percentage for the Flyers sits dead last in the NHL at 10.6%. Tortorella never seems to have prolonged success with the man advantage over the length of his coaching career.

To the contrary, the PK is 5th best at 85.7%.

The Canucks went 1-for-4 on the power play against the Sharks and held San Jose to an 0-for-3 on their PP chances. Overall, Vancouver is hovering at 24.2% on the season with the man advantage. The penalty kill ranks 24th in the league at 77.8%

Coming In:

Flyers: 18-11-and-4 after last week’s 7-6 shoot-out loss to the Red Wings.

Canucks: 23-9-and-3 for 49 points, the most in the NHL, coming off a wild 7-4 win over the San Jose Sharks last Saturday night.

Recent Feature:

— Some Day Canucks?: BCHL Prospect Luke Melnik’s Life As A Hockey Nomad

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.