The Vancouver Canucks (23-11-6) close out 2013 and reach the midway mark of their 2013-14 regular season when they host the Philadelphia Flyers (18-16-4) at Rogers Arena tonight.
It’s the second meeting of the season after the Canucks opened a seven-game road trip with a 3-2 victory in Philadelphia on October 15th. Ryan Kesler scored twice that night while Chris Higgins had the other.
The Canucks are right back to work after a 2-0 win in Calgary last night. Jannik Hansen and Mike Santorelli had the goals and Eddie Lack made 18 saves for his second shutout of the season. Lack now boasts the third best goals-against average in the NHL at 1.74. He has surrendered two goals or fewer in 11 straight appearances and seven straight starts. He has given up one goal since early in the 2nd period in Chicago three games ago.
This morning the Canucks recalled defenseman Frank Corrado from AHL Utica. The 20-year-old has 2+3=5 in 29 games on the farm this season. He played three regular season games and all four playoff contests for the Canucks last season.
As a team, the Canucks are 10-1-1 in their past 12 games and riding a six-game home ice win streak. The Canucks are 7-1-1 in their last eight at Rogers Arena. Overall, the club has given up 12 goals in its last 8 games while 8 different goal scorers have provided offense in the past five contests.
Former Flyer Tom Sestito leads the NHL in fighting majors with 11 after last night’s bout with Brian McGrattan. Back-up goaltender Joacim Eriksson was originally a Philadelphia draft pick (7th round 2008).
This is the Canucks 10th set of back-to-back games this season. They are 6-3 in the second game having won four in a row in that situation (@CAR, CAR, BOS, @CHI). This is the third time in the past five home games the Canucks have played the night before.
Despite being 12 points ahead of the Flyers in the overall standings, the Canucks sit 4th in their division and would be a wild card team if the playoffs started today while Philadelphia is 3rd in the Metropolitan division and would be an automatic post-season qualifier.
Philadelphia is here after a 4-3 shootout victory in Edmonton on Saturday night. The Flyers trailed 2-0 before that game was five minutes old. Rookie Michael Raffl scored the shootout winner. The Flyers have won two straight, four of five and are 5-1-1 in their past seven. Since starting the season 1-7, Philadelphia is 17-9-4 in its past 30 games.
Wayne Simmonds had a pair of power play goals on Saturday and has matched a franchise record by scoring twice in three straight games. That means half of his team-leading 12 goals have come in the past three outings. Jakub Voracek has 6+9=15 on a nine-game point streak and Claude Giroux has 5+10=15 on an eight-game streak – both are career highs.
Philadelphia has scored twice as many PPG on the road (18) as at home (9) this season. At 25.4%, their road PP is 5th in the NHL.
The Flyers enter tonight’s action sitting on exactly 1,000 hits for the season.
The Flyers lost their last visit to Vancouver 6-2 on December 28, 2010. That ended a run of seven straight wins here and a stretch of 14 games without a loss (10-0-4) dating back to 1989.