Following Wednesday’s shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers, the Canucks headed to Philadelphia to square off with the Flyers Friday afternoon on game two of their season-opening 6-game road trip.
In a battle of young goaltenders, 25-year-old Thatcher Demko started his second consecutive game for Vancouver, while 23-year-old Carter Hart started on the other side of the ice.
The Flyers started the game coming out fast and strong, controlling play early with non-stop pressure in the Canucks’ zone. Demko made a couple of huge saves in the first five minutes to keep Vancouver from facing an early deficit. The Flyers recorded the first 8 shots of the game.
Despite Thatcher’s strong start, Joel Farabee found the back of the net right after Philadelphia’s first power play had expired. Farabee took a shot that ricocheted off Demko’s right pad, that then deflected off Tucker Poolman and into the net.
Philadelphia continued their first period offensive onslaught, outshooting the Canucks 13-5. Thatcher Demko’s first period brilliance in net, including three straight in-close pad saves with 15 seconds to go in the opening frame, kept this game at 1-0. The Canucks were very fortunate to be heading into the dressing room down by only one after a lackluster period.
The Canucks came out of intermission sharper and more aggressive, controlling the play early in the period.
Vasily Podkolzin snapped a wrist shot past the upper glove of Carter Hart for his first career NHL goal, tying the game at 1, just 2:36 into the second period. Podkolzin took a pass from Tyler Myers and skated up uncontested on a 3 on 2 zone entry before ripping it past Hart.
Just over a minute and a half after Podkolzin tied the game, Elias Pettersson gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead on the power play following a high-sticking called on Travis Konecny. Pettersson gave Vancouver the lead with a crazy wrist shot that ricocheted off Ivan Provorov’s shin, then deflected off the end boards, and then snuck behind Carter Hart rebounding off the back of his pads into the net.
Almost immediately after the Canucks killed a Flyers power play with Jack Rathbone sitting in the box for holding, Ivan Provorov was called for a delay of game for sending a puck over the glass. Provorov’s penalty was followed by a too many men penalty on Philadelphia’s bench, giving Vancouver a two-man advantage for 35 seconds.
J.T. Miller dished out a beautiful pass to Alex Chiasson in front of the net that was initially turned away by Carter Hart, but on the second attempt, Chiasson slid it under Hart’s pads to give the Canucks a 3-1 lead. This was Chiasson’s first goal as a Canuck and it came with one second remaining on the two-man advantage.
Not even three minutes after Chiasson gave the Canucks a 3-1 lead, Cam Atkinson cut it in half scoring his first goal as a Philadelphia Flyer. Atkinson snuck a quick one timer past Demko, setup by a perfect pass from Farabee behind the net.
The second period offensive explosion continued with just under three minutes to go with another strange goal, this time by J.T. Miller. Elias Pettersson soared into the offensive zone, beating Keith Yandle to the puck, and immediately threw it on net towards Carter Hart’s skates. The puck got lodged between Hart’s skate and the post without him knowing, and Miller poked it home to give the Canucks a 4-2 lead going into the second intermission.
Vancouver cashed in on two of their three power plays during the second period, while outshooting the Flyers 13-10 and outscoring them 4-1.
Coming out of the dressing room for the third period, the Canucks went right back onto the power play after Max Willman had cross-checked Conor Garland to end the second. Vancouver was unable to score on the man advantage despite a couple of shots on goal.
As the final frame continued, Demko and Hart traded saves, as both teams traded chances. The Flyers continued their heavy hitting, physical performance, finishing the game with 38 hits.
With Carter Hart on the bench and the extra attacker out for Philadelphia with time winding down, Oliver Ekman-Larsson was called for a controversial slash, giving the Flyers a two-man advantage with the empty net. Travis Konecny, who drew the penalty, snapped a shot bar down on the power play with 2:17 remaining to cut the deficit to one.
Just over a minute after Konecny’s goal, Claude Giroux shocked the Canucks and tied the game at 4, giving the Flyers their second goal with Hart on the bench for the extra attacker. Sean Couturier set up the play with an unbelievable bank pass off the end board right to Giroux’s stick, who snapped the puck in up high past Demko.
The rest of the third period dwindled down with little activity as the game headed to overtime. Carter Hart turned away a couple of breakaways by Elias Pettersson in overtime to keep the game going, as the Canucks controlled play and had a majority of the chances in the extra five minutes. With none of their chances reaching the back of the net, just like Wednesday, the Canucks were headed to a second consecutive shootout.
In the shootout, Sean Couturier was up first and pushed an attempt wide of Demko, and then for the Canucks, Pettersson snapped a low shot past Carter Hart. Next up was Claude Giroux, who tried to dangle past a sprawled out Demko, who made a great save. J.T. Miller was the Canucks’ second shooter with the game on his stick and as he skated in, deked past Hart eventually sliding the puck into the back of the net, giving Vancouver the shootout win.
Thatcher Demko ended the game with 35 saves and was the sole reason the Canucks were still in the game after the first period. J.T. Miller also had a big night with two assists, a goal, and the shootout winner. Elias Pettersson tallied a goal, an assist, and a successful shootout attempt. Alex Chiasson also had a goal and an assist in the game.
The Canucks start the season taking three of a possible four points on the road and will continue their 6-game road trip in Detroit tomorrow afternoon, with puck drop at 4:00PM Pacific Time.