Flyers-Canucks: 5 things you need to know

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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.

Sean Couturier excited to play for Team North America at World Cup after summer rehabbing

Sean Couturier excited to play for Team North America at World Cup after summer rehabbing

VOORHEES, N.J. — The last time Sean Couturier played a meaningful game, he got drilled into the side boards by Washington’s Alex Ovechkin.
 
Couturier suffered an AC sprain in his left shoulder during the second period of Game 1 against the Capitals and missed the remainder of the playoffs.
 
“Most of the summer was a lot of rehab, trying to strengthen that shoulder,” the Flyers' center, who is practicing at Skate Zone, said Monday. “Now I feel good. I’m not gonna lie, it took me longer than I thought.”
 
The 23-year-old reported early. He’ll travel to Montreal on Sept. 4 for Team North America’s training camp and the upcoming World Cup of Hockey Tournament next month.
 
“I’m trying to skate as much as I can to get back in the rhythm,” Couturier said. “I think it’s going to be tough to get in the rhythm right away. We’re not used to playing that high-level hockey in September, but every guy on every team is going to be like that.
 
“Once we get out there, the level is going to be pretty high right off the bat. I think it can help me personally be ready for the season and step right into game action.”

Eight Flyers will participate in the eight-team competition. The others: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Claude Giroux, Shayne Gostisbehere, Mark Streit, Radko Gudas, Jakub Voracek and Michal Neuvirth.
 
Team North America is comprised of age 23-and-under players.
 
“I don’t really listen too much to the hype and stuff in the summer, but we can definitely surprise some people,” Couturier predicted. “I don’t think there’s much attention for our team. Really no one knows what we’re gonna look like.
 
“We’re gonna try and surprise the world, basically, and try to win the tournament. We’re not going there as tourists. We feel we have a good group and a lot of skill and speed and we’ll surprise some teams for sure.”
 
Couturier is a perfect North American because he has dual citizenship — U.S. and Canada. Though born in Phoenix, he spent nearly his entire childhood in Canada.
 
“For me, I’m dual citizenship, so that’s the way I see it,” Couturier said of playing favorites. “It’s a little different, but at the same time the mindset is more about trying to win the tournament. Once you’re out there and on a team, you’re just trying to win and I think that’s what we’re looking forward to.”
 
This tournament offers Couturier a chance to test his shoulder competitively before preseason NHL games start.
 
Obviously, the Flyers will open camp here without some of their best players.
 
“Everyone’s had a long summer, so I think everyone’s kind of looking forward to getting back into action,” Couturier said. “We’re lucky. We’re fortunate to get back into action earlier than we usually do. I’m just happy to be part of it and live the experience.
 
“I know a little what to expect international-wise — I went to the Worlds two years ago. This is going to be high level. No easy games.”
 
Loose pucks
Ten players, including Gostisbehere and free-agent Russian forward Roman Lyubimov, who was signed in July, are also working out at Skate Zone, which is under major reconstruction. … Because of construction, the Phantoms' dressing room no longer exists. The Flyers have a logistics problem of where the majority of their players are going to dress during camp. ... Construction won’t be completed until sometime this fall. … As part of the club’s 50th anniversary celebration, the Flyers have decorated walls throughout their dressing room area with steel plates from old newspaper pages, and other media, commemorating their two Stanley Cups, plus other historic moments from the past. … Brayden Schenn, who will miss the first three games of the regular season on a suspension, will play in preseason.

NHL Notes: Brandon Pirri, Rangers agree to terms on one-year deal

NHL Notes: Brandon Pirri, Rangers agree to terms on one-year deal

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers have agreed to terms with forward Brandon Pirri on a $1.1 million, one-year deal.

The 25-year-old Pirri spent last season with the Florida Panthers and Anaheim Ducks, recording 14 goals and 15 assists in 61 games. His 29 points were a career high.

A second-round pick, 59th overall, in the 2009 draft, Pirri has been traded twice and was considered a potential bargain in NHL free agency. Pirri is something of a shootout specialist, scoring on five of his six attempts last season, and that 83.3 percent success rate ranked first among players with at least five attempts.

In 166 NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks, Panthers and Ducks, Pirri has 49 goals and 31 assists for 90 points.

Enroth replaces injured Lerner for Sweden at World Cup
NEW YORK -- With goaltender Robin Lehner still not fully healthy, Sweden replaced him on its World Cup of Hockey roster with Jhonas Enroth.

The Buffalo Sabres' starting goalie was bothered by a right ankle injury for much of last season that limited him to 21 NHL games. Lehner underwent surgery in March and had been working to get ready for the World Cup, which begins Sept. 17 in Toronto.

"We really wanted to give Robin the opportunity to recover from his injury from last year, but unfortunately it wasn't enough time for him to feel 100 percent recovered," coach Rikard Gronborg said in a statement released by the Swedish Ice Hockey Association.

Concussion problems held Lehner to 23 games in 2014-15, and he looked to be over those after the Ottawa Senators traded him to Buffalo at the 2015 draft. The 25-year-old injured his ankle early in the season opener and aggravated it in March.

It was not immediately clear when the Sabres expect Lehner to be back to 100 percent.

"As Robin continues to progress during the offseason in his rehab from last season's ankle injury, he felt that it was best to withdraw from Team Sweden for the upcoming World Cup," Buffalo general manager Tim Murray said in a statement. "Robin felt it was important to continue his rehab in Buffalo to prepare for training camp. He has been working out both on and off the ice and we look forward to seeing him on the ice with our team next month."

Enroth, who spent last season with the Los Angeles Kings, recently signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He joins Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Jacob Markstrom of the Vancouver Canucks as the goalies on Sweden's roster.

The 28-year-old has a 2.80 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 147 career NHL games. Enroth was on the Swedish team that earned a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, though he never appeared in a game. He started for Sweden at the 2013 and 2015 world hockey championships, winning gold in 2013 with a 1.15 GAA and .956 save percentage (see full story).

NHL Notes: Panthers flip Dave Bolland's contract, prospect Lawson Crouse to Coyotes for picks

NHL Notes: Panthers flip Dave Bolland's contract, prospect Lawson Crouse to Coyotes for picks

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes have acquired prospect Lawson Crouse and veteran Dave Bolland's contract from the Florida Panthers for two draft picks.

Arizona sent a 2017 third-round pick and a conditional 2018 second-rounder that could become another 2017 third to Florida. The Coyotes are taking on the final three years of the injured Bolland's deal to pick up Crouse, the 11th pick in the 2015 draft.

Nagging injuries limited Bolland to 25 games last season, and the 30-year-old forward has three years left on his deal at a salary-cap hit of $5.5 million. But Arizona general manager John Chayka said Bolland isn't expected to play for the foreseeable future and could be placed on long-term injured reserve.

Crouse, 19, is a 6-foot-4 left winger who could make his NHL debut this fall.

Avalanche name Jared Bednar head coach
DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche have hired Jared Bednar as their new head coach.

Bednar replaces Patrick Roy, who abruptly stepped down as coach and vice president of hockey operations earlier this month.

The 44-year-old Bednar won the American Hockey League's Calder Cup championship as coach of the Lake Erie Monsters last season. He also won the ECHL's Kelly Cup in 2009 with the South Carolina Stingrays.

President of hockey operations and general manager Joe Sakic said upon Roy's sudden resignation that he'd look outside the organization for Colorado's next coach. He did just that with Bednar, who had been in the Columbus system.

Sidney Crosby named Canada's captain for World Cup of Hockey
Canada has chosen Sidney Crosby as its captain for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

Crosby returns as Canada's captain after wearing the "C" for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He's coming off his second Stanley Cup as captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber will serve as the alternates.

Crosby scored one of Canada's biggest goals in international history when he beat U.S. goaltender Ryan Miller to win the gold medal on home ice at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Now 29, he has two gold medals, two Cup rings and a Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Canada begins training camp Sept. 5 in Ottawa. The World Cup begins Sept. 17 in Toronto (see full story).

Coyotes hire NHL's first female coach
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes have hired Dawn Braid as skating coach and say she is believed to be the first full-time female coach in NHL history.

Braid has a long association with the NHL.

She worked part-time for the Coyotes last year and has served as a skating consultant with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames.

Braid also spent seven years with the Athletes Training Center as director of skating development. Among the skaters she worked with while there is New York Islanders center John Tavares (see full story).