The Vancouver Canucks head east for their second game of the season as they host the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
The Canucks appeared to be off to a hot start to their 2022-23 campaign when they stormed the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday, jumping ahead 3-0 by the first minute of the second period. However, the Oilers came back and scored five unanswered goals in their 5-3 victory.
“I thought we played outstanding in the first half,” Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “You could see them build, but in the end, if our special teams had been better, I think it would have been a lot different. We had some opportunities; two escapes when we had a 3-1 lead and that would have made it difficult for them to come back. Then we had open networks at that time. If you give teams too many chances to come back, they will come back.”
Elias Pettersson, JT Miller and rookie Andrei Kuzmenko were the scorers in the season-opening loss, while Thatcher Demko had four goals on 24 shots against.
It was a tough loss for a Canucks team looking to turn things around this season. Vancouver finished fifth in the relatively weak Pacific Division last season, but will have to respond in Philadelphia as part of a five-game road trip to open the season. They don’t play their first home game until Saturday, October 22 against the Buffalo Sabres.
Brock Boeser had an assist after being questionable for the opener following preseason hand surgery.
The Flyers didn’t have a lot of expectations coming into the season, but they managed a 5-2 win over the visiting New Jersey Devils in their season opener on Thursday. It was a positive start for the club under new head coach John Tortorello.
“We played hard,” Tortorella said, “Do we need to clean some things up? Yeah, but if we can just stay with that kind of effort… it’s a league to find a way. Nothing is perfect. Not all minutes are perfect. Sometimes it’s ugly. Sometimes it just looks awful. But it’s a league of finding ways, and we found a way to win.”
Travis Konecny and Morgan Frost scored a pair of goals to lead the offensive attack, while goaltender Cart Hart earned the victory in the season opener.
This looks to be an important season for Hart, as the 24-year-old has struggled in each of the last two campaigns, posting a 3.34 goals-against average and .895 save percentage in 72 appearances over that span. Tortorella praised his young netminder, who has not played a single preseason game due to a lower-body injury.
“I thought the first goal was a bad goal, but then I thought it was outstanding,” said Tortorella, “He gave us a chance, made a key save in key moments.”
Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen missed the contest with an undisclosed illness, while Joel Farabee dressed after undergoing offseason neck disc replacement surgery.
Owen Tippet left Thursday’s game with an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day. Tippett logged 4:20 ice before departure.
After Saturday’s showdown with the Canucks, the Flyers embark on a three-game road trip that takes them through Tampa Bay, Florida and Nashville.
– Media in the field