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Preview: Philadelphia Flyers at Vancouver Canucks (10/28/21)

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

On the heels of their first back to back of the season, the Philadelphia Flyers find themselves in Vancouver tonight to face off against the Canucks. It’s an abrupt end to their short season series, as the Canucks took down the Flyers in a shootout on opening night 5-4 in Philadelphia.

The Flyers are coming off a huge victory against the Edmonton Oilers, who were unbeaten heading into the game last night. They took down the Oilers 5-3, thanks in large part to Carter Hart, a blazing start, and a lot of shot blocking. 

Goals from Claude Giroux and Nate Thompson had the Flyers out on top early but the Oilers came back to tie things up late in the first period. With 0.6 seconds left Cam Atkinson ripped a buzzer beater past Mikko Koskinen to take a 3-2 lead into the second period. The Oilers tied it up in the first minute of the period from a great shift by the top line of Connor McDavid, Zach Hyman, and Jesse Puljujarvi. The Flyers added 2 more goals in the third period from Cam Atkinson and Sean Couturier to end their long drought in Western Canada. 

Carter Hart made 34 stops on 37 shots, the Flyers blocked 26 shots, and the penalty kill came up big again late in the game. After surrendering some shaky goals in the first period, Hart rebounded tremendously, eerily similar to his performance against the Canucks, stopping the final 22 shots he faced. 

The Flyers were also able to break their Western Canadian hex as they were winless in their last 6, dating all the way back to 2017. 

As for the Vancouver Canucks (3-3-1), they head into this game coming off a hard fought loss on Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild, falling 3-2. Equipped with a lot of offensive firepower, the Canucks have welcomed back Brock Boeser, who missed the season opener against the Flyers.

Conor Garland and J.T. Miller lead the Canucks with 8 points, followed by Bo Horvat and Quinn Hughes with 5. Elias Pettersson has struggled lately with only 4 points in 7 games, 2 of those coming against the Flyers, and he was last spotted manning the third line centre position. Thatcher Demko is 3-2-1 on the season with a .921 save percentage and a 2.62 GAA.

Playing on a back to back, Alain Vigneault rolled out all 4 lines and 3 defense pairs, trying to maximize energy, stamina, and endurance for this 3 games in 4 night road trip. Ryan Ellis, who missed the game last night with an upper-body injury, remains day-to-day, and Martin Jones will be in the crease for the Flyers, appearing in what will be his second game of the season.

The Flyers have been taking a lot of penalties lately with 7 coming against the Florida Panthers and 4 against the Edmonton Oilers. They became a lot more restrained and disciplined in the latter half of the game, with 3 coming in the first period alone. However, the Canucks’ power play is clicking at a rate of 23.1% and let’s not forget they scored twice on the man advantage on opening night. Discipline is going to be a factor yet again.

Cam Atkinson’s shoot-first mentality has been a ray of sunshine for the Flyers as he has potted 6 goals in 5 games to start the season. The Flyers’ captain Claude Giroux has potted 4 goals as well, on top of having 2 assists. Flyers goaltending has been stout no matter who’s in the crease and the hope is that Jones builds off his win against the Boston Bruins, where he made 37 saves on 40 shots.

After beating the Flyers on opening night, the Vancouver Canucks lost back-to-back games agains the Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres. They followed that up with back-to-back wins against the Seattle Kraken and Chicago Blackhawks before falling to the Wild in their last game.

The Canucks are never a team to be taken lightly, so the Flyers will need a much better start in this one if they want to sweep their first back to back set of the season. The Canucks pose a similar threat as the Oilers with their up-tempo style of hockey and physical style of play in the defensive zone. Tired legs and fatigue will most likely play a factor in the latter half of the game, so it’s even more important to get an early lead and to stay out of the penalty box.

With 26 blocked shots, 27 hits, and 34 shots on goal against the Oilers, while averaging 4.6 goals per game on the season, the Flyers have proven their mettle and that they aren’t a team that will easily back down or be taken advantage of.

Philadelphia Flyers Projected Lines:

Claude Giroux – Sean Couturier – Travis Konecny

Joel Farabee – Derick Brassard – Cam Atkinson

Oskar Lindblom – Scott Laughton – James van Riemsdyk

Zach MacEwen – Nate Thompson – Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Ivan Provorov – Justin Braun

Travis Sanheim – Rasmus Ristolainen

Keith Yandle – Nate Seeler

Martin Jones

Vancouver Canucks Projected Lines:

Tanner Pearson – Bo Horvat – Conor Garland

Vasily Podkolzin – J.T. Miller – Brock Boeser

Nils Hoglander – Elias Pettersson – Justin Bailey

Matthew Highmore – Juho Lammikko – Alex Chiasson

Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Tyler Myers

Quinn Hughes – Tucker Poolman

Kyle Burroughs – Luke Schenn

Jaroslav Halak

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