The Philadelphia Flyers played with a lead for most of the game, but their inability to convert on chances hurt them once again, as the Vancouver Canucks grabbed a 3-2 win tonight at the Wells Fargo Center. Ryan Kesler had a pair of goals in the win including the game-winner, while Chris Higgins provided the second tally of the game for the visitors. Roberto Luongo had 20 saves in the road win.
Tye McGinn is making his case to stay on the Flyers’ roster, as he had both of the team’s tallies tonight in the loss. Steve Mason produced another respectable performance, as he denied 22 of Canucks’ 25 shots on net. The problem for Philly once again was their inability to come through late.
“We got to go and take it to the other teams in the third period and win the game,” head coach Craig Berube said after his squad’s third straight loss. “We’re sitting back a little bit and waiting for something bad to happen. You know how that goes, but we have to get over that hump.”
It was another strong game from the Flyers, but they couldn’t convert on their chances when they were dictating play early. Due to this fact, the Canucks were able to hang around in the game and eventually come back for the win. The good teams find a way to win these games and the bad teams find a way to lose them. Unfortunately tonight, the Orange and Black ended up on the wrong side of the decision. It’s not just the loss that stings, it’s the fact Philly couldn’t come away with a point while entering the final stanza with a lead.
With that being said it was arguably the Flyers’ best game of the year, as they provided several scoring chances, a pair of goals, and dictated play for a good chunk of the game. Although they found themselves trapped in the defensive zone at times, the hosts did a good job of managing the puck and avoiding trouble. If may be a third straight loss, but it still feels as though things are heading in the right direction. Positive losses don’t help in the standings and the Flyers will need to start providing wins in the games they should win.
The scoring started with McGinn’s first goal of the evening, which came 12:26 into the contest.
After Erik Gustafsson dished the disc to Nicklas Grossmann in the neutral zone, the former Dallas Star strolled into the Canucks’ zone and let go of a slap shot. Luongo tried to push a rebound to his left, but knocked it right to McGinn. The forward grabbed the puck on his backhand and found the back of the cage for his second goal for the Flyers this season.
The lead lasted all of 10 seconds before the Canucks answered.
Following the faceoff after McGinn’s first goal, Christopher Tanev passed the puck to Jannik Hansen, who dumped the disc into the Flyers’ zone. As Mason went behind the net to play the puck, the biscuit took a funny bounce off the boards and traveled to the crease, where Kesler tapped it home for a 1-1 game.
Despite a strong first 20 minutes both offensively and defensively, the Flyers were tied at one in a game where they had a 9-7 shot advantage. McGinn regained the lead for Philly in the second period, however, for his third goal of the 2013-2014 campaign.
As Jakub Voracek skated down the side boards to Luongo’s left, he got behind the defense in the corner before he lifted a pass to the slot. The puck hit Claude Giroux’s upper body in the slot, which caused Luongo to drop to the ice. After the disc hit Giroux, it glided across the crease to McGinn, who slammed home his second of the tilt.
After McGinn’s goal, the Flyers spent most of the remaining time in the second period in their own zone, as Mason had a few key stops. His biggest stop was a 2-on-1 rush led by Kesler, who Mason ultimately denied to keep the lead intact.
Higgins was the benefactor of a great play from Henrik Sedin to tie the game at two halfway through the final frame.
Sedin held on to the puck behind Mason’s catch before he worked his way to Mason’s right and set up Higgins from point blank to beat the helpless netminder to make it a 2-2 game with 12:29 left.
Kesler’s game-winner came later in the frame to finalize the 3-2 loss.
Philly has one day off before they host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.
Notes: The Flyers have lost three of their last four games against Vancouver…Philly dropped to 1-3-0 at home and the Canucks improved to 2-1-0 on the road…Philadelphia’s power play was 0-for-2 tonight. They have failed to convert on 17 straight power-play opportunities…The Flyers have been outscored 10-2 in the third period this season…Luongo improved to 5-7-3 against Philadelphia in his career, while Mason dropped to 4-6-2 against Vancouver in his career…Tonight was Braydon Coburn’s 500th NHL game. He was minus-3 with a hit and three blocks in 22:54 TOI…Henrik Sedin’s primary helper on Higgins’ tally was the forward 800th point in his NHL career…Hal Gill, Kris Newbury, and Andrej Meszaros were scratched for the Orange and Black…Tom Sestito had two hits in 5:21 TOI against his former team. Andrew Alberts was scratched…Alexander Edler served his second game of his current three-game suspension tonight for his hit on Tomas Hertl…In addition to Alberts and Edler, Zac Dalpe was scratched for Vancouver…Jordan Schroeder made his season debut tonight for Vancouver. He had two hits in 10:52 TOI….The Flyers dropped to 0-2-0 against the Pacific Division and to 0-2-0 against the Western Conference…The Canucks improved to 2-0-0 against the Metropolitan Division and to 2-1-0 against the Eastern Conference this season…The Flyers dropped to 1-6-0. They were 2-5-0 after seven games last season.