The Canucks look to sweep their season series against the Philadelphia Flyers for the second year in a row tonight when they play their third of six games on this current road trip.
To say the Canucks could not have gotten off to a worst start on their six-game trip would be an understatement. The trip has started with consecutive four-goal losses but while their 4-0 loss on Sunday to Chicago had a silver lining in that the team felt they competed hard and just didn't get the bounces, the same can't be said about two nights ago in St. Paul where they were completely flat in a 6-2 loss to the Wild. An effort similar to Tuesday's tonight against the Flyers and the Canucks can almost assure themselves of a third straight loss to begin this trip – even against a team they have already defeated 4-1 earlier this season and in a building that they have won in their last two visits to.
The Canucks practiced yesterday without Henrik Sedin although it's likely it was just a maintenance day for the team captain. Based on how the team skated yesterday, it does not appear any changes are necessarily forthcoming with the line-up although that could change depending on Henrik's availability as well as whether or not the team wants to insert big-bodied blue-liner Andrey Pedan in on the back end. With the Canucks off to Motown to play tomorrow night against the Red Wings, don't be surprised if goalie Jacob Markstrom gets the call for tonight's tilt.
Puck drop at 4 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet 360, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2015.16 Season Series
Last 10 games
Last 10 head-to-head
When the Flyers rolled into Rogers Arena back in early November, not only were they mired in a losing streak but their offence had also completely abandoned them. Over the last three weeks or so, however, the offence has been the reason for their turnaround. In their last 11 outings, the Flyers have scored at least three-or-more goals in eight of those outings amassing a combined 31 goals in that time. Compare that to their dozen games prior to that where they were held to two-or-fewer goals on 10 occasions and managed to score just 16 combined goals. Captain Claude Giroux has been one of the few players that has been dependable all season long but now some of his surrounding cast is getting into the act. Jakub Voracek had just nine points in his first 20 games but has 10 in his last 11. Wayne Simmonds also had just nine points in his first 20 games but has since notched seven in his last 11. Brayden Schenn has eight points in his last 11 games played (7 in his first 18) while Sean Couturier has seven points in his last 11 outings (3 points in his first 14).
Not everything is rainbows and sunshine for the Flyers, however. They lost their top offensive blue-liner, Mark Streit, several weeks ago to a groin injury. But one player's misfortune is another player's opportunity and that's where rookie Shayne Gostisbehere has seized the day. The 22-year-old native of Pembroke Pines, Florida, who was a third round pick of the Flyers back in 2012, began the season in the AHL with the Leigh Valley Phantoms but has essentially stepped in to fill the void left by Streit especially on the power play where he has been the first unit's quarterback and has notched six (4-2-6) of his 11 (6-5-11) overall points this season. His four power play goals are tied with Giroux for the team-lead, despite the fact he has played less than half of the team's games to date, while he leads the team with three game-winning goals.
Keys to the Game
Everyone buys in. Coach Desjardins lamented after Tuesday's loss that right now the Canucks are only getting contributions from three or four guys. If the Canucks want to win consistently starting tonight, it can't just be the Sedin show. It has to be all 20 players contributing.
Fix the D zone coverage. Not only did the Canucks give up 41 shots in Tuesday's loss to Minnesota, but they looked like they were stuck in mud each time they were in their own end. They can't let the Flyers' recently resurgent offence have that same opportunity tonight to run roughshod. Being able to block a few shots would help too.
Show no mercy. The last thing the Flyers want to do when facing a team that seems as disjointed as the Canucks are would be to let them off the hook. They need to be the early aggressors and, like the Wild did on Tuesday, make it a long night for the Canucks.
Canucks Gameday Road Report, Presented by Toyota
By the Numbers
Win percentage for the Canucks in games they give up at least one power play goal (3-9-6).
Win percentage for the Flyers in games they score three-or-more goals (11-0-2).
Straight games the Canucks have earned points against the Flyers (4-0-1; 3 straight wins).
Power play efficiency on home ice for the Flyers this season, among the league's worst (6-for-43).
Different Canucks that recorded a point in their 4-1 win over the Flyers back on November 2 (only 1 point from Daniel and Henrik Sedin combined).
Penalty kill percentage on the road for the Canucks this season, near the bottom of the league (45-for-62).