Vancouver Canucks at Philadelphia Flyers
When/where: Tuesday, 3 p.m., Wells Fargo Center
TV: SN Pacific. Radio: Sportsnet 650
The buzz: Never dull when the entertaining and erratic John Tortorella is patrolling the opposition bench. Home-opener for rebuilding Flyers, who are already talking trade. Tough town. Tough fans. Win or else. Appointment viewing.
The history: The Canucks went 1-1-0 against the Flyers last season. They dropped a 3-2 decision in Philadelphia on Oct. 15 as Travis Konecny potted the winner with 6:07 remaining. Kyle Burroughs and Conor Garland scored for the Canucks, who blew a 2-0 lead and went 0-for-5 on the power play. Ivan Provorov had six shots and 10 attempts. The Canucks avenged the setback with a 6-2 home-ice triumph on Feb. 18 as Elias Pettersson had five points (2-3) and Arturs Silovs made 35 saves for his first NHL win.
The hope: Carson Soucy (knee) skated in a third practice pairing with Noah Juulsen on Monday. He’s a game-time decision and could take the lineup spot of Akito Hirose. Soucy’s size, defending and penalty kill expertise brings needed elements.
The fear: Canucks aren’t ready to play. Head coach Rick Tocchet guarded against that Monday with a long and hard practice that included extra skating after the session. That always gets the players’ attention.
The top guns: Pettersson is the NHL’s second star of the week for his six points (1-5) in two games. Gritty winger Konecny leads the Flyers with four points (3-1) and seven shots through two games.
The wounded: Canucks: Ilya Mikheyev (knee), Teddy Blueger (ankle), Guilliaume Brisebois (upper body). Flyers: Rasmus Ristolainen (undisclosed), Ryan Ellis (back), J.R. Avon (undisclosed).
The quote: “I don’t even know how many points he has. For me, it’s his overall 200-foot game. He understands what it’s going to take to win like Sidney Crosby or Stevie Yzerman or Joe Sakic. They played situational hockey but still got their points and he knows that.” — Tocchet on Pettersson.
The lineup: Kuzmenko-Pettersson-Garland/Di Giuseppe-Miller-Boeser/Joshua-Suter-Beauvillier/Hoglander-Lafferty-Studnicka/Hughes-Hronek/Cole-Myers/Soucy-Juulsen.
The prediction: The Canucks let one get away in Philly a year ago. Can’t afford to dip their toes in the water Tuesday. Dive into the deep end of the competitive pool and make an early splash. If so, a 4-2 win sealed by empty-netter is a reasonable expectation.
(FAN FORUM: Do you have a specific question for a player? Pass it along to @provincesports and we’ll get it in a future edition).
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