Bill Meltzer: Flyers Blanked Again in 4-0 Loss to Canucks



The Philadelphia Flyers suffered their second straight shutout loss and sixth of the 2014-15 season, falling 4-0 to the Vancouver Canucks at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night.

Philadelphia dominated the early minutes of the game but deflated after Vancouver scored its first goal and never gained any significant momentum thereafter.

The Flyers trailed 2-0 at the first intermission and then yielded two early goals in the second period to seal their fate.

Lost in the outcome was a stellar performance by Vancouver Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller. The veteran netminder made numerous strong saves at junctures when Philly had a chance to get something going, especially during a 4-on-3 Flyers power play in the second period.

Flyers starting goaltender Ray Emery lasted 21:21 in goal, yielding three goals on 12 shots. He was relieved by Rob Zepp, who was beaten on a breakaway seconds after entering the game and then stopped each of the next nine shots he faced.

The Canucks used their power play to take over the game, exploiting Philly’s penalty-killing problems, Power play goals by Henrik Sedin and Radim Vrbata — sandwiched in between even strength goals by Nick Bonino and Jannik Hansen turned a 1-0 lead into an insurmountable hill for the Flyers to climb.

Vancouver went 2-for-3 on the power play. The Flyers went 0-for-4. 1st PERIOD

The Flyers generated a lot of quick pressure,including strong back-to-back shifts by the Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux lines. Shots were quickly 4-0 Flyers within the first three minutes of the game.

At 3:41, after Wayne Simmonds took a check from Kevin Bieksa, the Flyers forward and Vancouver defenseman dropped the gloves and fought.

The Canucks took a 1-0 lead at 6:35 on Nick Bonino’s 10th goal of the season.

On a line rush, Bonino did a spin-o-rama move to go wide around Michael Del Zotto and then snapped the shot past Emery. Shawn Matthas and Ryan Stanton earned the assists. The goal came on Vancouver’s fourth shot of the period.

Vancouver received a too many men on the ice penalty at 9:15. The Flyers did not generate any shots or scoring chances on their first power play of the game.

At the 13:00 mark mark Carlo Colaiacovo received a holding minor. Vancouver went on its first power play of the game. Twenty-one seconds later, the Canucks scored to make it 2-0.

Henrik Sedin re-directed a shot by twin brother Daniel past Emery for his ninth goal of the season. Alexandre Burrowos got the secondary assist at 13:21.

The Flyers got their second power play at 15:15. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare kept his feet moving through the neutral zone to draw a holding penalty on Matthias. Philly did not capitalize.

With 1:38 left in the period, Miller denied a right-circle backhander by R.J. Umberger after Umberger hit the blueline with momentum and received a pass in stride.

Shots in the first period were tied at 9-9. Faceoffs were 16-5 in the Flyers’ favor. 2ND PERIOD

Vancouver came out attacking early. In a scrum around the Flyers’ net, Zac Rinaldo received a high-sticking minor at 1:06. Vancouver went on its second power play and made short work of it. Just 18 seconds into the power play, the Canucks scored to make it 3-0 on a shot that quickly went in and out of the back of the net. The play was reviewed briefly.Radim Vrbata hammered home a one-timer off a Henrik Sedin for his 17th goal of the season. Daniel Sedin got the secondary assist at 1:28.

Zepp entered the game in relief of Emery at this point. Emery stopped nine-of-12 shots.

Moments later, he was greeted by a Jannik Hansen breakaway and a goal high to the stick side on the Dane’s 10th goal of the season. Alex Edler got the lone assist at 1:43.

At 2:54. the Flyers went on their third power play as Nick Bonino closed his hand on the puck. The 5-on-4 advantage lasted just seconds as Del Zotto got called for elbowing near the offensive blueline. Moments after that, Philly went on a 4-on-3 power play as Edler interfered with Voracek at the blueline at 3:14. Wayne Simmonds had a pair of glorious scoring chances on the 4-on-3 advantage but could not bury either one. Mark Streit hit the post on a right-circle chance.

With 13:35 left, a pinching Luke Schenn had all sorts of time and space to shoot from point blank range. Miller robbed him for his 15th save of the game. Save number 16 came at 7:59 when Miller picked Bellemare’s shot from the left slot with the glove.

The Couturier line generated a lot of pressure in the offensive zone as the game neared the midway point. However, their shift was not followed up by the other lines in the next couple shifts.

With about eight minutes left in the period, Brayden Schenn made a gutsy block of a shot in the defensive zone after losing his stick.Play remained in the Philadelphia end and the Flyers eventually iced the puck. Craig Berube took his timeout at 12:44.

Jakub Voracek had an outstanding shift, winning several battles — including even a 1-on-3 — as time ticked below six minute in the period but no shots resulted.

Couturier went to the penalty box for tripping at 18:35. Vancouver took 35 seconds of carryover power play time into the third period.

Shots in the second period were 10-9 in Vancouver’s favor (19-18 Canucks through two periods 9-9). Faceoffs were 15-4 in the Canucks’ favor (22-20 Flyers through two periods). 3RD PERIOD

The Flyers killed off the remaining penalty time. As Couturier exited the box, there was a chance for a breakaway but Giroux and Couturier missed connections on the pass.

The Couturier line generated pressure on a shift with time ticking down to 16 minutes. Shortly thereafter, Zepp made a good save on a 3-on-2 rush.

Play got stagnant over much of the third period. Shots for the period were 5-1 for the Flyers through the first 12:06. Vancouver was content to do a lot of extra passing and keeping a third man high in the offensive zone, while Philly couldn’t do much of anything with the puck.

With 5:47 left, Zepp made good stop on Christopher Higgins as the defense backed off. There was a scrum after the whistle. Zac Rinaldo received a 10-minute misconduct.

Shots in the third period were 12-3 Flyers (30-22 Flyers for the game). Faceoffs were 8-7 in the Canucks’ favor (29-28 Flyers for the game). POSTGAME NOTES AND QUOTES

* The Flyers will not practice on Friday. This was expected as the team played three games in four nights and on back-to-back nights. On Saturday, the team is in Buffalo.

* The Flyers have only scored first in one game — Monday’s 7-3 blowout of Tampa — since the calendar flipped to 2015.Philly has scored first in just 16 of 45 games this season (11-2-3 record). In the 29 games the Flyers have yielded the first goal, they have a 6-19-4 record. That winning percentage ranks 26th in the NHL.

* Jakub Voracek has been held off the scoresheet in six of the last 11 games and has only one multi-point game since the Christmas break. However, as of the end of the game, he still led the Art Ross Trophy race.

* Sean Couturier, who was arguably the best Flyers forward in this game, led the team with four shots on goal and 12 total attempts. Four got blocked and four missed the net.

* Couturier on getting shut out in back-to-back games: “It is frustrating. Last night, at least we had chances. I think we played a good game, overall, but tonight, we went stretches where they [Canucks] were just all over us and had a lot of chances against us. When you give up so many chances, it takes the momentum away, and it’s hard to regain that in this league.”

* Zac Rinaldo was credited with a game-high nine hits. Ex-Flyers defenseman Luca Sbisa and forward Alexandre Burrows were credited with six apiece for the Canucks.

* Rob Zepp on the momentum swing in the game: “I thought that we came out really well and got a little deflated after that first goal, it seemed. Vancouver’s a great team, and we weren’t really able to recover from that. We had stretches in the game where we were playing really well in their end, and unfortunately, we weren’t able to get one.”

* Zepp on Ray Emery’s plight in the game: ““It’s not a fun feeling, but let’s call a spade a spade. It’s not Razor’s fault at all. The Bonino shot (was a perfect shot and, like I said, the Sedins goal was incredible. What are you going to do? Even the first goal, [Bonino] make a hell of a screen move and gets a great shot off. Yeah, I feel for Razor because I’ve been in that situation and it’s not fun. But by no means are any of those goals his fault.”

* Emery on whether he got screened on Bonino’s goal: “I saw it. It’s a spin and I kind of got caught going one way and he put it on the other side.”

* Emery in response to question on whether he’s becoming concerned about his playing time: ““I’m a competitive guy. I want to win when I get in there. I always want to play, but you’re not going to play all the time. You’re not going to win all the time. You just gotta stay consistent and focus every time and do your best when you get in there. That’s how I take it no matter what.”

* Mark Streit in response to question asking for his take on Emery saying the club got a bit discouraged after Vancouver went ahead early: “I think he’s right, and for no reason. I know we had a rough loss last night, but we were in good spirits for this game, and then tough first period, we’re down by two, but it shouldn’t be a reason to hang our heads or to lose our sense of urgency out there. After those two first goals it felt like we let each other down and we got too passive, and just let them the puck and let them play way too much.”

* Craig Berube on whether the team got discouraged and energy level dropped after starting out well and then yielding an early goal: “Well, that is probably the way they are thinking. You know the thing that bothers me about it all is that it is only 1-0 there is a lot of hockey left, you know play and compete and work. That is the one thing that you can control, how hard you compete and we stopped doing that.”

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