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.

Flyers' trip to Ottawa brings back 'fond memories' for Travis Konecny

Flyers' trip to Ottawa brings back 'fond memories' for Travis Konecny

OTTAWA, Ontario — Exactly one year ago, Dec. 1, 2015, Travis Konecny was a member of the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67’s.

He had just learned that he had been invited to the Team Canada selection camp for the World Junior Hockey Championship and he was at the Canadian Tire Centre spending time with future Flyers teammates during the morning skate as they prepared for a game that night against the Ottawa Senators.

Fast forward one year to today, Dec. 1, 2016, and Konecny is back at the CTC, this time to face the Senators alongside his current Flyers teammates as a key part of the team’s offense.

Quite a step forward in just one calendar year for a kid not named Crosby or McDavid.

“It’s crazy how fast it happened and I’m definitely humbled I was given the opportunity. They believed enough in me to make the jump this year and it definitely hits me every day that I get the opportunity to play in the NHL,” said Konecny, who has scored four times and added nine assists through the first 25 games of his NHL career. He has also added a team-leading 33 penalty minutes and that goes a long way in explaining the type of game he plays.

“I don’t know what happened. I’ve never been like that before," Konecny said before the Flyers' 3-2 overtime win Thursday (see game story). "When you’re playing in the NHL, some guys will run over you all game if they can so I think part of these penalties I’m taking is me just having to step up and I’m just setting an example of sticking up for my teammates."

It wasn’t until his second game in the league that he took his first penalty, but he was on the score sheet before that having collected two assists in his debut Oct. 14 in a 4-2 win over the Kings in Los Angeles.

His first goal came Oct. 25 in a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. The key for his success in making the jump from junior to the NHL is simple.

“Just keeping things simple," he said. "Learning in the NHL is about reading off mistakes. You can’t always make a play, you have to be smart and make sure you’re doing what’s right for the team and I think just keeping my game simple is what got me here." 

There is one main difference between the two levels, Konecny added.

“The speed, and I don’t necessarily mean just skating," he said. "Thinking wise and how fast plays happen. Guys like [Senators defenseman Erik] Karlsson, he’s thinking so fast and he knows his play two or three steps before the next guy does, so you just have to try and outthink guys and to me that’s been the biggest jump.”

Konecny is not foreign to the Senators’ home ice surface. He spent part of his time in junior playing there while the 67’s home arena was being renovated.

He had to leave several passes for friends and family for the game Tuesday night, his first as a pro in the city that was dazzled by his play in junior for 2½ seasons.

“It was a lot of fun and it brought back a lot of memories," Konecny said after going scoreless in 14:13 of ice time. "We didn’t play in front of as many fans as we did tonight but definitely a lot of games played here and a lot of fond memories.

“Even flying in [Wednesday] was something special and driving around the city looking at the roots where I was for three years.”

Best of NHL: Hossa gives Blackhawks OT win over Devils

Best of NHL: Hossa gives Blackhawks OT win over Devils

CHICAGO -- Marian Hossa scored his team-leading 12th goal through a screen at 1:31 of overtime to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.

Hossa's shot through traffic from high in the slot beat Cory Schneider on the glove side, moments after New Jersey's Mike Cammalleri hit the post on a prime chance against Chicago's Corey Crawford.

New Jersey's Travis Zajac scored his third goal of the game at 8:49 of the third to tie it 3-all after scores by Chicago's Artem Anisimov and Niklas Hjalmarsson late in the second period had put the Blackhawks ahead.

Marcus Kruger also connected for Western Conference-leading Chicago to end a 22-game drought as the Blackhawks won their second straight and played beyond regulation for third consecutive time. They are 3-0-1 in their last four.

The Devils have dropped four straight (0-2-2) (see full recap).

Crosby, Penguins run away from Stars
PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby broke the game's final tie and assisted on another score in the third period as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Dallas Stars 6-2 on Thursday night.

Crosby scored his league-leading 16th goal in the second period and assisted on Conor Sheary's sixth as Pittsburgh scored three goals in the final 4 minutes. Eric Fehr's third of the season was the 100th of his career and Patric Hornqvist's seventh came on the power play. Nick Bonino and Ian Cole both scored their third for Pittsburgh, which avoided consecutive regulation losses for the first time this season.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 33 saves for Pittsburgh. Fleury, who won for the first time in five starts, has six wins in his last nine home games.

Tyler Seguin scored his eighth and Devin Shore his second for the Stars, who continue to struggle on the road. Dallas has lost its previous five away from home and has three wins in 14 road games this season. The Stars have lost three straight and seven of their last 10.

Antti Niemi , playing in his 400th career game, stopped 34 shots (see full recap).

Eichel helps Sabres knock off Rangers
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jack Eichel scored two goals in the third period, and the Buffalo Sabres beat the New York Rangers 4-3 on Thursday night for their second straight victory.

Buffalo's winning streak coincides with the return of Eichel, who missed the first 21 games with a high ankle sprain. The 20-year-old center had a goal and an assist in Buffalo's 5-4 win in Ottawa on Tuesday and has recorded a point in seven straight games dating to last season.

In his first home game of the season, Eichel scored on a power play with 7:15 remaining and netted the winning goal 1:43 later. Buffalo is now 10-3-1 when Eichel has more than one point (see full recap).