Big Picture: With a game Saturday night in Detroit the Vancouver Canucks could have done without all of the extra work and skating late in the third period and through overtime, but bottom line, they come away from a hostile building with two points, winning in a shoot-out. The Red Wings by the way, will be without captain Dylan Larkin, serving a one-game suspension.
“You gotta put the work boots back on,” said JT Miller postgame. “We have a little break after that (Detroit), maybe a couple of days before the next one, so we’ve gotta go to work. It’s important on the road to string these together and not just get one. Gotta string a couple together and it starts tomorrow.”
The first period: All Flyers in the first four minutes. They won puck battles, won draws, won races to pucks, everything Philly. No surprise under consistent pressure the Canucks took a penalty at 4:12, Tyler Myers for tripping. The penalty kill did well, it started with Tucker Poolman, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, JT Miller and Jason Dickinson. Just after the penalty expired, a slapper from Joel Farabee from the near right point went off goalie Thatcher Demko’s right pad, off Poolman’s skate in front, and into the net.
9:20 into the period, under more frenetic pressure, Demko had to stop another puck that almost went in off teammate Dickinson.
The Canucks picked up their first shot-on-goal 6:48 into the first, while their first scoring chance came about 10 1/2 minutes into the stanza on a point shot by Kyle Burroughs. Flyers goalie Carter Hart was up to the task.
The game opened up and found some flow in the final seven minutes of the period, back and forth with decent chances both ways. James Van Riemsdyk hit a post off a scamble in the final fifteen seconds of the period.
All things considered the Vancouver Canucks were happy to be down just one, after one, and happy to be a part of the Thatcher Demko show. He stopped seven shots before his teammates generated one. Shots on goal were 14-5.
Philadelphia – Joel Farabee (1) – Unassisted, 6:15
Philadelphia Flyers 1, Vancouver Canucks 0.
Whole different look to the second period as the Canucks settled down and established a forecheck. Good pressure two minutes in, following by a beautiful rush by big D-man Myers, who dished to Vitaly Podkolzin, who walked in to the right circle and ripped one top corner, glove side on Hart for his first NHL goal.
The momentum continued. Travis Konecny went off for high sticking, taking a penalty 180-feet from his net, clipping Myers. The Canucks cashed in on a goofy goal. Elias Pettersson’s shot went off the end boards, caromed out, and bounced in off Hart’s skates. Not good for a goalie who’s trying to bounce back from a horrible year.
“Weirdest, luckiest (goal), call it whatever you want,” Pettersson said postgame, “it was very lucky, but every goal counts as one.”
At the other end of the ice, Demko stopped Nate Thompson on a break away to keep the score 2-1. It came off a Quinn Hughes bobble at the Philly blueline.
Other than the scoring chance, the Flyers melted down a bit and became flat-footed. Penalties ensued. On a 5-on-3, net-front power play specialist Alex Chiasson fit the bill, battling and crowding around Hart to accidentally boot in a goal for a Canucks 3-1 lead.
After the mid-period TV time-out, the Flyers had a push. They started to cycle effectively and did so quickly off the rush, getting a goal from summer acquisition Cam Atkinson, who came over from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jakub Voracek. The Canucks made some poor puck decisions along the way, fancy backhand passes in open ice by Miller and others.
Again, poor goaltending by Hart benefitted the Canucks as Miller jammed home a puck after Pettersson had sent it to the net from an impossible angle in the left corner. Hart pinned it to the post, didn’t know it, and Miller cashed in.
Vancouver – Vitaly Podkolzin (1) – Myers, Ekman-Larsson, 2:36 ES
Vancouver – Elias Pettersson (1) – Miller, Chiasson 4:07 PP
Vancouver – Alex Chiasson (1) – Miller, Hughes 9:36 PP (5-on-3)
Philadelphia – Cam Atkinson (1) – Farabee, Keith Yandle 12:17 ES
Vancouver – JT Miller (1) – Pettersson, Garland 17:07 ES
Vancouver Canucks 4, Philadelphia Flyers 2.
The Vancouver Canucks started the third period on the power play and failed. Hart actually made a couple of decent saves. At this point there was uneventful give and take as the clock ticked, a perfect situation for the Canucks. The Flyers and the crowd tried to rally about seven minutes in but Vancouver withstood it and managed some shots on goal at the other end.
The mid-period TV time-out seemed to kill the crowd. They were out of it as the Canucks managed to eat up more of the period with long possessions and calm play. They had solid puck retrieval and other than a couple of iffy decisions by young Jack Rathbone, clean break-outs and transitions.
The Philly boo-birds began moaning a bit with about four minutes remaining. After winning a D-zone draw, the Flyers rushed, gained the O-zone and pulled their goalie with just more than three minutes left.
At 17:36, Ekman-Larsson got called for a phantom high-stick, adapted to “slashing” to fit the moment. Tough call in both regards; tough one to spot for the veteran referees and tough the way it went against the Canucks. OEL was upset. It wasn’t a high stick but his follow-through, swinging high on the puck in the D-zone, did catch Konecny in the shoulder. Ultimately it was the puck that hit Konecny in the face, not the stick. The Flyers quickly cashed in for a goal on the 6-on-4 with their net empty.
It set up for a wild finish with the Flyers down 4-3 …
The Flyers were able to gain the zone and set-up 6-on-5 with their net empty again. The Canucks stood around. The Flyers cashed in. An end boards carom ended up on Claude Giroux’s stick and he banked it in off Demko to tie the game.
Philadelphia – Travis Konecny (1) – Miller, Hughes 17:43 PP (+ extra attacker)
Philadelphia – Claude Giroux (1) – Farabee, Keith Yandle 18:48 ES (extra attacker)
Vancouver Canucks 4, Philadelphia Flyers 4. (End of regulation)
In OT, Carter Hart made two big saves early, the second one on a breakaway from Pettersson, who was gassed by the time he shot it.
The Canucks then dominated. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen about 2 1/2 minutes of possession INSIDE the blueline the whole time, for one team. That’s what Vancouver pulled off. They failed to scored, but the Flyers failed to ever see another chance in OT.
PHL – Sean Couturier – Skated wide, toe save, FAIL
VAN – Pettersson – Slot, Wrister, GOAL
PHL – Giroux, fake shot, deke to backhand, save, FAIL
VAN – Miller – deke, delay, GOAL
Final: Vancouver Canucks 5, Philadelphia Flyers 4, Shoot-out.
Simmer’s Vancouver Canucks 3-Stars:
3) Elias Pettersson
2) JT Miller
1) Thatcher Demko
Big Moments: Every save Demko made in the first period, keeping his team in the game while being outshot 14-5. Nicely rewarded by winning a shoot-out that went just two rounds.
Forward line juggles that began in the 2nd period, D-pair juggles in the third.
A lot of other weird ones and big ones described above.
The Canucks will wake up in Detroit for a 4 pm pacific Saturday game against the Red Wings. Expect to see Jaroslav Halak in net for Vancouver.