The Vancouver Canucks head east for their second game of the season as they pay a visit to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
The Canucks seemingly were off to a hot start to their 2022-23 campaign when they pounced on the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday, jumping ahead 3-0 by the first minute of the second period. However, the Oilers rallied back and scored five unanswered goals in their 5-3 victory.
“I thought we played outstanding in the first half of the game,” Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “You could see them building, but in the end, if our special teams were better, I think it would have been much different. We had some opportunities; two breakaways when we had a 3-1 lead and that would have made it difficult for them to come back. Then we had some open nets at that time. If you give teams too many chances to come back, they’re going to come back.”
Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller and rookie Andrei Kuzmenko were the goal-scorers in the season-opening loss while Thatcher Demko yielded four goals on 24 shots against.
It was a deflating 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 need to respond in Philadelphia as part of a season-opening five-game road trip. They don’t play their first home game until Saturday, Oct. 22 against the Buffalo Sabres.
Brock Boeser recorded an assist after he was questionable for the opener following preseason hand surgery.
The Flyers didn’t have much in terms of expectations entering the season, but managed a season-opening win over the visiting New Jersey Devils on Thursday, 5-2. It was a positive start for the club under new head coach John Tortorella.
“We played hard,” Tortorella said, “Do we have to clean some things up? Yes, but if we can just stay with that type of effort … it’s a find-a-way league. Nothing’s perfect. Not all minutes are perfect. Sometimes it’s ugly. Sometimes it just looks awful. But it’s a find-a-way league, 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 season-opening victory.
It’s seemingly 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 across 72 appearances in that time. Tortorella had praise for his young netminder who didn’t play any preseason games due to a lower-body injury.
“I thought the first goal was a bad goal, but then I thought he was outstanding,” Tortorella said, “He gave us an opportunity, made key saves at key times.”
Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen missed the contest with an undisclosed ailment while Joel Farabee dressed after undergoing disc replacement surgery on his neck in the offseason.
Owen Tippet left Thursday’s game with an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day. Tippet logged 4:20 of ice time before departing.
After Saturday’s clash with the Canucks, the Flyers embark on a three-game road trip that takes them through Tampa Bay, Florida, and Nashville.
–Field Level Media