Love/Hate – Canucks slip by Flyers
The Vancouver Canucks slipped by the Philadelphia Flyers in a sloppy 3-2 win on Tuesday, taking advantage of a lucky bounce and some timely third period points to earn a win to start their seven-game Eastern road swing.
The Flyers appeared to carry play for the first forty minutes, but were unable to hold on at home as another splitting of the Sedins caught the home team off guard, sparking the comeback.
1. Ryan Kesler
Sometimes you’d rather be lucky than good, but Ryan Kesler was both on Tuesday night in Philadelphia. Kesler was one of the Canucks‘ best skaters against the Flyers, and was in the right place at the right time when Jannik Hansen‘s dump-in deflected off the end boards directly on to his stick.
Poor Steve Mason was left hanging behind the goal line, but that wouldn’t be the only time Kesler caught Mason out of position on Tuesday.
The trio forced the puck on net, and after an initial rebound Kesler was once again in position to bat home his second of the night, giving the Canucks a late lead to hold on to with just under three minutes to play in the third.
After a quiet series of games closer to home Kesler came alive in Philadelphia, leading the team with six shots on goal and a pair of points. Vancouver’s second line center simply has to be more consistent moving forward as the Canucks battle for points night in and night out.
2. Higgins Helps Out
Chris Higgins found the score sheet on Tuesday for the first time this season, burying a beautiful feed from Henrik Sedin as the captain established himself in the office directly behind Steve Mason’s net.
The Flyers seemed confused as to how to deal with the dishing Sedin, leaving Higgins out front to get in shooting position and wait for the perfect pass he knew his teammate was capable of.
After missing a true second line to start the season it was nice to see both Kesler and Higgins get themselves going in the first game of a seven game road trip. The team will need both players to be better moving forward, and Tuesday in Philadelphia was a solid start.
3. Henrik Hits 800
Henrik Sedin notched career point #800 on Tuesday, but in an odd twist of fate did so without his brother Daniel on the ice. John Tortorella once again decided to split up the Sedins in Philadelphia, finding a spark with the new configuration of Kesler, Henrik, and Higgins.
While I don’t expect the Sedins to remain split up for long it is nice to see Henrik thrive with a variety of linemates.
1. Kassian Continues To Struggle
Zack Kassian was a non-factor again on Tuesday, struggling to involve himself in the play after beginning the game alongside capable linemates in David Booth and Jordan Schroeder. Kassian played 9:47 against the Flyers, but I struggle to remember a single significant play of his save for a first period fight with the Flyers’ Luke Schenn.
Kassian needs to find a way to come alive on this road trip.
2. Schroeder A No-Show
Jordan Schroeder was similarly hard to find on Tuesday, playing a relatively irrelevant 10:52 in his regular season debut. Often matched up against the knuckle-dragging trio of Zac Rinaldo, Jay Rosehill, and Adam Hall, Schroeder simply has to find a way to display his skill more often.
While I’m happy to give him a pass in his first game back, I don’t expect John Tortorella to be so kind moving forward.
3. Fourth Line Flops
These two need to find a way to impact the game before they find themselves replaced by skaters who can.