Canucks visit Flyers, aim to stay perfect

After splitting their first two road games, the Philadelphia Flyers open the home portion of the schedule when they host the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday.

The Flyers defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 and then fell 5-2 against the Ottawa Senators.

Philadelphia gave up three power play goals against the Senators.

“We don’t even give ourselves a chance by taking that many penalties,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said. “A highly skilled team, eight blocked shots (by the Flyers); it’s not a good recipe. And they had the puck most of the night.”

The Flyers made a number of roster changes in the offseason but still expected this to be a bit of a rebuild.

While the loss at Ottawa had to be frustrating, the Flyers understand what’s at stake in the long run.

“We’re not going to panic, but our penalty kill, our power play, our offense, our defense, we were outplayed in all categories tonight,” Tortorella said. “We’ll look at the tape and dust ourselves off and get ready for a game on Tuesday.”

Travis Sanheim committed a key turnover in the Flyers’ zone, and the Senators capitalized with 5.1 seconds remaining in the second period for a 4-2 lead.

Philadelphia was also outshot 31-21, including 25-9 in the first two periods.

The result was a three-goal loss.

“We’ve got to get more shots,” Tyson Foerster said.

Rasmus Ristolainen, Bobby Brink and Egor Zamula were all scratched and it’s unclear if they’ll be available to face the Canucks.

The Canucks look to remain undefeated, having swept a home-and-home matchup against the Edmonton Oilers, winning 8-1 and 4-3.

Edmonton managed just one even-strength goal in two games.

“I think any team that has success over time wins puck battles,” Canucks defenseman Ian Cole said. “I think it needs to happen, it’s a non-negotiable aspect of being a good hockey team.

“There are some things that ‘Tocch’ (head coach Rick Tocchet) and the coaching staff said are non-negotiable items and we have to do these things if we want to do anything this year, and that was one of them. So far through two games, we’ve done well.”

Tocchet replaced Bruce Boudreau as coach on Jan. 22 last season.

Since that point, the players appeared to have accepted his style. These two wins to start the 2023-24 season are further proof.

“I think we’re more in position,” Elias Pettersson said. “We defend ourselves better and the goalies are making a lot of saves, so we need to help out and box out, because we know what those players can do.”

The Canucks’ stop in Philadelphia will be the first of a difficult four-game road trip, which also includes games against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators.

“You win the first two games and that’s great, but in theory, it’s possible you could lose the next 80 and it would be a whole different story,” Cole said. “Let’s stay focused, let’s keep working and hopefully, we’ll win more games than we lose here.”