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Virtanen scores first NHL goal as Vancouver Canucks down Philadelphia Flyers 4-1

NHL.com @NHL

VANCOUVER - Jake Virtanen scored his first NHL goal and Ryan Miller made 27 saves as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 on Monday.

Bo Horvat, with a goal and an assist, and Jannik Hansen also scored for Vancouver (6-2-4). Matt Bartkowski added another into an empty net with under a minute to go.

Claude Giroux replied for Philadelphia (4-5-2), while Steve Mason stopped 30 shots as the Flyers dropped their fourth in a row.

The Canucks announced Sunday that Virtanen and fellow 19-year-old rookie forward Jared McCann would be sticking with the club beyond the nine-game mark rather than being returned to junior, triggering the first year of their entry-level contracts.

With his team already leading 2-1 in the third period, Virtanen took the puck hard to the net on a 2-on-1 and beat Mason on a backhand at 8:28 before Bartkowski added his second late as Vancouver won its second straight game on home ice after dropping its first five of the season.

Horvat gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead at 10:10 of the second period with the teams playing 4-on-4, wheeling out from behind the Philadelphia net before firing a low shot past Mason for his second goal of the season.

Wayne Simmonds came within inches of getting the Flyers even a few minutes later, but his shot rang off the post behind Miller. Vancouver then almost stretched its lead to 3-1, but Philadelphia's Chris VandeVelde cleared a bouncing puck off the goal line.

Christopher Tanev had another great opportunity from the slot with the Canucks buzzing, but Mason got across to block the defenceman's effort.

Down 1-0 after the first, the Flyers tied things up at 2:54 of the second when Giroux protected the puck from Bartkowski before roofing a backhand on Miller. The Philadelphia captain's fourth goal of the season and first in five games came after Mason made a great save on a Horvat breakaway moments earlier.

The Canucks opened the scoring just 68 seconds into the first period on a nice passing play. Sven Baertschi fed Horvat on the rush, and he in turn found Hansen, who deked Mason for his second.

Vancouver led 8-1 on the shot clock when Philadelphia finally started to push back. The Flyers crashed the Canucks' crease on a couple of occasions, with Miller stopping Vincent Lecavalier from the slot before taking a Michael Raffl shot off the shoulder to keep his team ahead through 20 minutes.

Notes: Monday's was Virtanen's ninth game, while McCann played his 10th. ... Philadelphia continues a four-game road trip Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers. ... Vancouver hosts the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday before starting a seven-game road trip Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres. ... Dan Hamhuis returned to the Vancouver lineup after missing three games with a lower-body injury. Fellow defenceman Luca Sbisa has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.

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