Flyers Win Wild One, 5-4
In a penalty-riddled game that felt more like a track meet, the Philadelphia Flyers improved to 3-0-0 with a 5-4 win over the defending Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks (1-1-1).
It was Claude Giroux who got the scoring started in the contest as he tallied power-play goal just 7:14 into the first period. Five minutes later, Chris Pronger added a power-play goal of his own to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead.
After Scott Hartnell took a high-sticking penalty, Vancouver finally got on the board when Mikael Samuelsson beat Ilya Bryzgalov. Although it seemed the Canucks had taken the momentum from the Flyers, James van Riemsdyk scored less than two minutes after Samuelsson’s tally.
Vancouver showed all the signs of a team with the talent and experience that they boast in the second. Henrik Sedin scored 6:41 into the period to trim the Flyers lead to one.
Again, the Flyers would bounce back. Jakub Voracek scored his second goal of the season on a beautiful pass from rookie Sean Couturier to extend the lead to 4-2. However the game’s scoring continued at a torrid pace when Christopher Higgins rounded out the second stanza scoring.
The third period looked to have all the makings of a Flyers let down, especially after Daniel Sedin tied the game. Sedin’s goal came just 3:39 into the third on a Canucks power play after van Riemsdyk was sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Despite Sedin’s score, the Flyers once again rallied and pushed back against Vancouver. Daniel Briere found Andrej Meszaros entering the offense zone and the defenseman beat Roberto Luongo on the top shelf for the eventual game-winning goal.
The remainder of the third period wasn’t without anxiety for Flyers fans as Vancouver’s solid power play unit had four chances to tie the game.
In the end, the Flyers penalty kill saved the day. Although they allowed two power-play goals, they ended the game halting the Canucks five times. With the extraordinary talent Vancouver boasts, their performance was well-received.
There were times last season when Philadelphia simply failed to rise to the challenge after the opposition gained momentum. Wednesday’s game saw the Flyers score three goals coming within three minutes of Vancouver tallies. For a young team, that composure and hunger is encouraging.
With three solid wins to start the season, there’s plenty to be encouraged about in Philadelphia.
Bryzgalov saved 36 of 40 shots on the night; Vancouver’s first goal ended his scoreless streak at 126:53. The Flyers outshot Vancouver 14-9; the Canucks outshot Philadelphia the rest of the way, 31-13. Couturier’s assist was his first point as an NHL player. Giroux has three goals in three games, and earned the game’s first star with three points. Philadelphia blocked 27 shots. Canadian-born Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Danny Watkins was in attendance.