After handing the Edmonton Oilers their first loss of the season, the Philadelphia Flyers look to maintain their winning ways when they continue a Western Canada road swing with a game against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.
The Flyers, who dropped the Oilers by a 5-3 count on Wednesday, are among the highest-scoring teams in the league, and they used that potent attack to kick off a road trip that will conclude Saturday against the Calgary Flames.
Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux said after the Edmonton win, in which he opened the scoring with his fourth goal of the season, “Last game we played, at home against Florida, we had a tie game going into the third period and didn’t get the job done. We didn’t play the right way, and tonight was a different story.
“We had all four lines going, everyone was chipping in and playing the right way, and when you do that, you give yourself a chance to win.”
Not only are the Flyers showing an impressive offense so far this season, with an average of 4.6 goals per game, second most in the league, but they are getting timely tallies.
Case in point was Cam Atkinson’s marker in the final second of the opening period, 17 seconds after the Oilers netted a power-play goal to tie the score.
“To end a period like that, it’s a huge momentum boost for us. A great effort by him,” Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle said.
After a strong outing by No. 1 goalie Carter Hart in Edmonton, the Flyers plan to start Martin Jones — who hails from Vancouver — against his hometown team.
The Canucks are coming off a 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, a disappointing result in their home opener, especially after they claimed a pair of victories to cap a 3-2-1, season-opening road swing.
With the Flyers in town, they want to give their fans — who waited nearly 600 days for the opportunity to attend a game in person — a better result.
“It was fun to have the fans back in the building again,” Vancouver captain Bo Horvat said. “When we gave them something to cheer about, they were cheering loud.”
Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko added, “It felt like a playoff game. It came down to a game of inches like it typically does when it’s structured that way. We were able to feed off the fans in the third and claw our way back into it.”
That said, there were lessons for the Canucks in their home-opening loss. The biggest one, coach Travis Green said, was limiting mistakes and turnovers, as the speedy Wild took advantage. The Canucks likely will be more defensive-focused against the Flyers.
“It’s a fine line between winning and losing,” Green said. “We turned over a couple of pucks we would like to have back. Sometimes it’s the difference between one or two mistakes in tight games. We were on the wrong end of it and didn’t create a whole lot. We better capitalize if we are not creating a lot.”
What remains to be seen is how much the injury bug has taken out of the Canucks. Forward Jason Dickinson was a late scratch against the Wild due to an undisclosed injury and defenseman Tucker Poolman left the game midway through due to an upper-body injury.
–Field Level Media