Canucks foe, Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers Beat Canucks 4-1, Ending VAN’s 9-Game Point Streak

The Canucks had their chances but the Flyers played the more complete game as Philly beat Vancouver for the 2nd time this season. A three goal outburst late in the 2nd period led to Philadelphia’s 4-1 victory.

1st Period

Samuel Ersson started in net for the Flyers; Casey DeSmith for the Canucks.

As advertised, the Flyers power play, dead last in the NHL, was a circus, while their penalty kill, 5th best in the league, looked extremely sound. That realization came to the forefront early as Philadelphia picked up a man advantage on a Nils Höglander tripping penalty at 1:21 and then went shorthanded on a Joel Farabee holding infraction shortly thereafter.

The period was fast paced and tight checking at the same time. It was a matter of taking that speed through traffic and getting some bodies to the front of either net. It didn’t really materialize.

The best chance off a forecheck with some confusion around the net came to Ilya Mikheyev of the Canucks who fired a shot off Ersson’s blocker while he was looking the other direction. A few moments prior to that, Flyers forward Cam Atkinson made a kick save in the left wing circle to stop a bid from Andrei Kuzmenko towards a half-empty net.

Atkinson had a chance alone trying to go 5-hole with a slapper from the right circle and Scott Laughton had a decent wraparound chance for the Flyers but DeSmith was up to the task.

We went scoreless through 20 minutes with the Flyers leading in shots 13-7 and winning an incredible 88.2% of the face-offs (15 of 17).

2nd Period

Not much happening in the early going until Joel Farabee took an unnecessary interference penalty at the 6:06. That led to the Canucks getting their first two shots of the period and a couple of glorious scoring opportunities on the power play. The best came to Brock Boeser who had the puck knuckle off his stick while shooting for a gaping cage from the right wing circle.

Tough sledding most of the way otherwise.

When Flyers forward Owen Tippett successfully embellished while getting bumped by Tyler Myers, earning the big Canucks D-man an interference penalty at 14:18, the floodgates suddenly opened.

D-man Egor Zamula sent a seeing-eye wrister past DeSmith on the power play for his 2nd career NHL goal — the first one came against the Canucks in October — and Philly finally opened the scoring.

Not surprisingly the Flyers gained a momentum boost and scored at even strength just 1:23 later when another defenceman, Sean Walker, ripped a shot off the post and in following a beautiful pass on the rush from Tippett.

A letdown for the Canucks coincided. Just 43-seconds later, Nikita Zadorov turned a puck over in neutral ice and Farabee made it 3-0 with a nice deke on a breakaway at 17:09.

3rd Period

The Canucks trailed entering the 3rd period for just the 8th time this season.

Just :25 into the period, their hottest line changed the complexion of the game. Dakota Joshua found Teddy Blueger going to the net with a drop pass and the centre ripped home a shot to put Vancouver on the board. Linemate Conor Garland was alone at the right post if they needed him. The 3rd-line magic cut the lead to 3-1.

Following a scramble two minutes later, Ersson left the game due to dehydration and made his way to the dressing room, replaced in net by Carter Hart. Hart shut-out the Canucks in Philadelphia on October 17th.

Things were looking perilous for him with Vancouver owning the momentum.

The Flyers went shorthanded at 4:51, but instead of the Canucks taking advantage, Ryan Poehling chipped a puck past Quinn Hughes, chased it down, centered to Garnet Hathaway, who scored on his own rebound for a shorthanded goal and a 4-1 Philly lead.

It was the first “shortie” relinquished by Vancouver this season.

Shots on goal ended up in favour of the Canucks 27-25. Power plays: Philadelphia 1-for-3, Vancouver 0-for-3.

The Flyers appeared to lose Travis Konecny at some point in the 2nd period. He didn’t return. Philly is in Seattle to play the Kraken on Friday night.

Canucks 3 Stars:

1) Dakota Joshua – A lovely assist on the Canucks lone goal. The only plus-player up front.

2) Teddy Blueger – On a night like this, why not simply hand out the honours to a line that deserves it. Had the lone goal.

3) Conor Garland – Tricky hard worker who created chances but didn’t see the stats.

Recent Canucks:

— Simmer’s Boxing Day 9: Canucks Leaders, THE Coach, Lying PR

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.