On a night where Vasily Podkolzin scored his first NHL goal and was benched for the third period, the Vancouver Canucks gave up two goals late and snuck out a win in the shootout to kick off their road trip with three points in their first two games.
The Vancouver Canucks continued their road trip with a stop in Philadelphia to face the Flyers.
One of the big stories going into this game was seeing that Vasily Podkolzin was going to be playing on a line with Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller. We will see how long this one lasts as it was a massive opportunity for the youngster.
Thatcher Demko got the call for the Canucks with Carter Hart holding down the blue paint for the Flyers.
— Brendan Batchelor (@BatchHockey) October 15, 2021
After a strong game in the season opener, Travis Green talked about Nils Höglander’s ability to jumpstart any line that he is on. This was a strong possibility as we saw Podkolzin playing on a top line to begin the game.
The third pairing stayed the same with Jack Rathbone and Kyle Burroughs showing well in the season opener. They received another chance to show their worth to the lineup as the third pairing in this game.
It’s an early puck drop and we are all set for it now.
Tyler Myers took a penalty four minutes into the period and the Flyers went to work on their first power play of the game.
The Canucks were able to keep the puck out of the net for the two-minute duration but the Flyers got their first goal of the game just as the power play expired. Joel Farabee had a puck go off of Tucker Poolman in front of the net and Farabee found it, forcing the Canucks to play catch-up. 1-0 Flyers.
At the point of the goal, the Flyers had an 8-0 lead on the shot chart. They were sustaining pressure on the Canucks for what felt like the entirety of the opening eight minutes of the game.
The Canucks were able to scurry out of the first 10 minutes with a one-goal deficit on the back of some quality goaltending from Demko. He faced a handful of scoring chances in the opening half of the period and looked strong throughout.
The Canucks were able to get a bit of offence going as the halfway point passed through. They battled back with a few shots of their own to balance out the shots and scoring chances.
Play was continuous throughout the central portion of the period. The Canucks were able to somewhat balance out the shots on net count but the Flyers continued to have better chances. Demko was tested often and was the main reason that the score stayed at 1-0.
Podkolzin on the first line didn’t last through the first period. Höglander made his way up to the Pettersson and Miller line as Green pulled out his famous blender.
Thoughts from the first
After 20 minutes, the Flyers had a stronghold on the possession numbers. It’s nights like this where you have to appreciate having a strong goaltender like Demko, he was excellent and kept the Canucks in the game.
The Miller-Pettersson-Podkolzin experiment didn’t last long as Höglander got time with the top scoring line before the period expired. Podkolzin looked fine but wasn’t skating as hard as you’d like to see. Green has talked about him moving his feet more and that was lacking in the period.
After being moved down in the lineup, Podkolzin found some open space as he came in on the right side. He looked to pass but then ripped a wrist shot over Hart’s shoulder for his first career NHL goal. 1-0 Canucks.
— Harman Dayal (@harmandayal2) October 16, 2021
After the goal, the Flyers somehow took a high-sticking penalty on Myers and the Canucks received their first opportunity on the power play.
The first unit went to work and Pettersson had a shot that bounced off the end boards and off of Hart’s leg and in. 2-1 Canucks.
— Sportsnet 650 (@Sportsnet650) October 16, 2021
The Canucks’ two goals in 91 seconds gave them a lead and just seconds after the second goal, Rathbone took a holding penalty to give the Flyers another power play opportunity.
The Canucks were able to kill off the penalty and the Flyers took a delay of game penalty one minute later. This sent the Canucks’ power play unit back onto the ice to fire away at a shaken Carter Hart.
They were able to get a couple of shots off and Demko denied a shorthanded breakaway. With 35 seconds left in the power play, the Flyers took a too many men on the ice penalty and the Canucks went to a five-on-three.
With the two-man advantage just about to expire, Alex Chiasson received a great pass from Miller as the net-front presence and he smashed it past Hart to give the Canucks a two-goal lead. 3-1 Canucks.
They had 85 seconds remaining on the second power play.
The second unit had some quality scoring chances from Conor Garland and Höglander but was unable to finish on their attempts.
The Flyers fought back as Farabee made a great pass from behind the net to a streaking Cam Atkinson. He one-timed the shot and beat Demko to cut the lead to one. 3-2 Canucks after the Atkinson goal.
The period was full of action and we saw some more later in the period. Pettersson fired a shot on net from a sharp angle and Miller followed up and tapped the puck in as it sat on the goal line. 4-2 Canucks.
— Sportsnet 650 (@Sportsnet650) October 16, 2021
It was Miller’s third point of the game as the Canucks scored four goals on 11 shots in the second period.
Thoughts from the second
The Canucks were able to take advantage of bad goaltending and scored four goals in the period. They took a stranglehold on the momentum and it felt like it all came from the great play from Demko in their own end.
Garland was establishing his peskiness throughout the period as he threw a ton of hits and was under the skin of multiple Flyers. If he continues to play with this type of energy, he will quickly become a fan favourite.
The period began with a Canucks power play as Garland drew a cross-checking call at the end of the period.
The Canucks were unable to score but dominated possession for the first five minutes of the period. They were cycling in the offensive zone and getting good quality shots off at even-strength.
Green was running through his top-three lines at the midway point of the third. With a game on the following night, shifts were short and quick as the Canucks protected a two-goal lead.
Podkolzin and Justin Dowling were stapled to the bench for the third period. Each of the two were without a shift through the period as Green attempted to protect a lead.
As the period was flying by, we reached the final few minutes. The Flyers pulled their goalie and Oliver Ekman-Larson took a slashing penalty.
The Flyers went to work at six on four and wasted no time. They scored a quick goal to cut the lead down to one. 4-3 Canucks.
There were just under two minutes remaining and the Flyers pulled their goalie once again to push the Canucks in an attempt to tie the game.
With 1:12 remaining, Claude Giroux called for a bank pass and fired home a goal from the left side to tie the game up with 72 seconds remaining in the period. 4-4 after the Giroux goal.
The seconds ticked away as Philadelphia Flyers fans were going nuts after their team put together a couple of late goals to force overtime.
Pettersson had a clear-cut breakaway where he tried to slide the puck through Hart but he made a pad save.
Höglander had a dangerous shot from the right side as he earned the coach’s trust for some three-on-three action.
The Canucks had a few long shifts that had the Flyers’ players gassed as they were unable to change during the Canucks’ cycling.
No team was able to score in the extra frame and we were off to a shootout.
Sean Couturier shot first and he dangled to the forehand but Demko stuck with him and made the save.
Petterson went first for the Canucks and fired a wrist shot past Hart’s glove for a goal.
Giroux made a great dangle back to the forehand but Demko made a great save.
Miller shot next and buried it after a forehand deke to give the Canucks their first win of the season.
J.T. Miller had three points in the game and played over 24 minutes. He had a much better game two after some puck-bobbling in game one. Miller said that he felt that he didn’t possess the puck much in the first game but felt really good about his play in Friday night’s game.
Elias Pettersson had six shots on net to go with his goal and primary assist in Friday’s game. He was good defensively as well as his presence in the lineup was clearly missed last season. He makes a big difference in every game.
Though the Canucks played very passive in the third period, J.T. Miller believed that they were good in the period and outplayed them.
“I thought it was about as good of a third period that you could play on the road,” said Miller. “I thought we outplayed them in the third period. We don’t want to sit back there but they made some good plays. I don’t think they took the life back honestly. I thought we had an awesome third period.”
The Canucks received a combination of good bounces and bad goaltending on their goals. The weirdest had to be when Pettersson fired a shot on the power play that deflected off a Flyers defenceman, then off the boards and off of Hart’s leg and into the back of the net.
“Weirdest, luckiest, call it whatever you want,” said Pettersson when asked if that was the weirdest goal he’s ever scored in his life.
Pettersson went on to give high praise for Nils Höglander as he was moved to Pettersson’s wing late in the first period.
“He’s tiny or short but he’s so strong on the puck,” said Pettersson. “He’s just a small power forward who creates a lot and he’s fun to play with.”
The Canucks snuck out a win in a game where it almost fell out of their grasp. The Flyers scored two quick late goals that tied the game up and forced overtime. Miller and Pettersson clutched up in the shootout on top of a strong performance from Demko on the night.
Unfortunately, there is no time for rest as the Canucks head to Detroit for the second of a back-to-back. The game time is 4 pm on Saturday.