Flyers-Canucks: 5 things you need to know


Flyers-Canucks: 5 things you need to know

The Flyers have been plagued by several issues through the first six games of the season -- lack of discipline, poor play on the special teams and goal scoring most notably.

Tuesday’s matchup with the Vancouver Canucks (3-3-0), who have had problems of their own as of late, is the perfect opportunity for the Flyers (1-5-0) to turn things around.

With puck drop set for 7 p.m. at Wells Fargo Center (CSN), here are five things you need to know for Flyers-Canucks:

1) Stay out of the box
It seems fairly simple, but the Flyers can’t seem to stay out of the penalty box in the early going.

The orange and black have been shorthanded 33 times and have allowed seven power-play goals already this season. Head coach Craig Berube knows it’s an issue that needs to be corrected.

"We've got to stop taking penalties, we really do," Berube said after the Flyers’ 5-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday (see story). "It's been an issue in this organization for too long. The dumb penalties have to be eliminated altogether because they are unacceptable."

Although they entered the game 0 for 10 on the man advantage, the Red Wings burned the Flyers for three power-play markers.

The Flyers would be smart to use the loss to Detroit as a learning experience as Vancouver has also had its troubles on the man advantage. The Canucks enter Tuesday’s action 0 for 7 over their last four contests while up a man and are just 2 for 19 on the PP overall this season. That doesn't mean the Flyers should take them lightly.

2) The other guys
Defenseman Erik Gustafsson and forward Tye McGinn made an immediate impact in their first action of the season for the Flyers on Saturday. Each player netted a goal and they combined for seven shots.

Gustafsson, who admitted he had a poor training camp and sat out the Flyers’ first five games, replaced Andrej Meszaros on the blue line against Detroit. He was paired with veteran Kimmo Timonen and played over 18 minutes in the loss.

The 24-year-old was a turnover machine during the preseason but was solid in both ends of the ice in his season debut. Gustafsson will remain in the lineup for Tuesday’s matchup (see story).

McGinn brought a ton of energy and performed well while skating with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. He played just less than 17 minutes and created several offensive opportunities for the Flyers’ top line (see story).

With Scott Hartnell (upper body) out for two to four weeks and Vinny Lecavalier (lower body) sidelined for at least a week, McGinn has a chance to prove he belongs with the club. If he has more games like he did in Detroit, the 23-year-old will make it difficult for general manager Paul Holmgren to send him back down to the Phantoms.

3) Keep an eye on …
A key for the Flyers -- or any team playing the Canucks really -- is shutting down Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

That’s much easier said than done. The Swedish twins have combined for three goals, 11 assists and 40 shots through Vancouver’s first six games of the season.  

In case you didn’t know, Henrik (No. 33) is the passer and Daniel (No. 22) is the scorer. One thing in the Flyers’ advantage is Henrik and Daniel’s usual linemate, Alex Burrows, is sidelined with a foot injury and won’t play on Tuesday.

However, new Canucks head coach John Tortorella switched things up in Vancouver’s 5-4 win in Calgary on Sunday. Toward the end of the third period, Henrik played on a line with Chris Higgins and Mike Santorelli while Daniel skated with Ryan Kesler and Jannik Hansen.

It’s still unclear if they will play together in Philadelphia, but one thing is certain: The Sedins have good numbers against the Flyers. Daniel has three goals and eight assists in 11 career regular-season games vs. the orange and black. Henrik, in the same number of games, has two goals and 13 assists.  

4) It’s been awhile
Because last year’s 48-game, lockout-shortened season saw teams play only within their conferences, the Flyers and Canucks have not faced off since Oct. 12, 2011.

It was the lone matchup between the two clubs in the 2011-12 campaign, a 5-4 Flyers victory at the Wells Fargo Center.

Giroux had a goal and two assists to pace the Flyers. Henrik and Daniel Sedin had a goal and assist each for Vancouver.

5) This and that
• Matt Read has yet to register a point for the Flyers this season but is first on the team in shots on goal with 19.

• Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo is 2-3-2 with a 3.46 goals-against average in his last seven starts against the Flyers.

• The Flyers have just eight goals total and have not scored more than twice in a single game this season.

Best of NHL: Oilers blank Jets to win outdoor Heritage Classic

Best of NHL: Oilers blank Jets to win outdoor Heritage Classic

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Cam Talbot made 31 saves and Mark Letestu scored the first of three second-period goals, lifting the Edmonton Oilers over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday in an outdoor game delayed almost two hours by sunlight melting the ice.

The Heritage Classic victory extended Edmonton's winning streak to three in front of 33,240 at Investors Group Field. Fans wore both Jets and Oilers jerseys to the league's 19th outdoor game.

Zack Kassian had a goal and an assist and Darnell Nurse also scored for Edmonton.

Connor Hellebuyck, who had a tuque attached to his helmet, stopped 29 shots for Winnipeg.

The NHL said the start of the Heritage Classic game was delayed "due to intermittent sunlight on the playing surface" and "in the interest of player safety." (see full recap)

Girardi leads Rangers past Coyotes
NEW YORK -- Dan Girardi scored 1:55 into the third period and New York beat Arizona.

Josh Jooris and J.T. Miller also scored for New York, which has won consecutive games to improve to 4-2-0. Henrik Lundqvist made 27 stops.

Radim Vrbata had both of Arizona's goals, and Louis Domingue made 23 saves. The Coyotes have lost their first four games on a six-game trip since beating Philadelphia in overtime at home to start the season.

Girardi put the Rangers ahead with a slap shot from the right point. The veteran was paired with rookie Brady Skjei in his first game after missing New York's previous three with a strained groin, and Skjei assisted on the goal (see full recap).

Tavares' big night helps Isles defeat Wild
NEW YORK -- John Tavares had two goals and an assist, Johnny Boychuk scored for the second straight game and New York beat Minnesota.

Calvin de Haan, Alan Quine and Thomas Hickey also scored to help New York get its highest scoring total of the year and win for the third time in four home games after opening with two road losses. Thomas Greiss stopped 26 shots for his first win in two starts this season.

Islanders rookie Anthony Beauvillier had two assists, giving the 19-year-old at least a point in three straight games.

Zach Parise scored twice for Minnesota to top 300 goals for his career, and Nino Niederreiter also scored. Second-string goalie Darcy Kuemper made 27 saves (see full recap).

Ducks hand Canucks 1st regulation loss
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Nick Ritchie scored the tiebreaking goal on a rebound with 8:36 to play, captain Ryan Getzlaf had three assists and Anaheim finally opened its home schedule with a victory over Vancouver.

Andrew Cogliano, Cam Fowler and Corey Perry also scored for the Ducks, who have won two straight after a four-game winless start. John Gibson made 17 saves in the Western Conference's final home opener, thanks to a schedule that forced Anaheim to play in five teams' home debuts this month.

Henrik Sedin scored the tying goal early in the third period for the Canucks, who lost in regulation for the first time this season. Bo Horvat scored a short-handed goal, and Loui Eriksson had two assists (see full recap).

Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton return to practice

Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton return to practice

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers welcomed two more players out on to the rink for their practice following Saturday’s 6-3 win over Carolina. 

Michael Del Zotto (lower body) and Scott Laughton (lower body) returned to the ice for the first time since suffering injuries within days of each other. Before Sunday’s light practice, Del Zotto and Laughton had skated two consecutive days prior to work on their conditioning. 

“It’s nice to see them back with the group,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. 

Laughton, who injured himself during a training camp practice after losing an edge, was a bit more forward than Del Zotto on when he hopes to return. 

“I would say within the next five to seven days,” Laughton said.

The 22-year-old pointed to Saturday’s game with Pittsburgh as his target to return. 

As for Del Zotto, the defenseman didn’t want to jinx anything, saying it’s a “day-by-day” situation. He would like to think he’s working on the same timetable as Laughton. If that’s the case, he would be back either a few days before or right on cue with the projected four to five weeks he was scheduled to miss after suffering an injury to his left knee in the preseason against the New York Rangers on Oct. 6. 

“It’s kind of trial and error,” Del Zotto said. 

Above all else, though, the two were just happy to be back with their teammates. Del Zotto said that being around everyone really rejuvenated his spirits. 

“Just being back around the guys and having that team chemistry and camaraderie and being able to joke with the guys,” Del Zotto said, “it’s probably been the best thing for me.”

This past month has especially been hard on the two because of the timing and how last season ended for them. 

While there’s never an ideal time to suffer an injury, the pair saw training camp and the approaching start of the regular season in a different light than most of their teammates.

It was supposed to be their new start. Last season, Del Zotto missed the final few months, including the postseason, after ligament damage to his left wrist. He was having a strong preseason, arguably the top defenseman in camp at the time before suffering his setback.

“Being out so long last year and having to sit and watch playoffs than having six months of grueling rehab to get back into it … that made it sting that much more,” Del Zotto said. “That’s part of the game. It’s a contact sport. I signed up for this.”

The same can be said for Laughton, who experienced a scary injury in Game 4 against Washington after being dumped head first into the boards. 

“I was really excited to have camp and start the year here,” Laughton said. 

The two will be traveling to Montreal with the rest of the Flyers for Monday’s contest. They will each do the morning skate with another bag skate afterward.