Canucks Lose 2-0 In Philly, Make Moves With Pittsburgh

After a resounding 8-1 win and another 4-3 victory over Edmonton to start the season, the Vancouver Canucks set out East for their first proper road trip. Carrying a 2-0 record into Tuesday’s game with the Philadelphia Flyers, the Canucks found themselves in a position to land in the top of the league’s standings pending a win. However, after a pair of wins that each came with their respective hardships, the team failed to take away a third win with the second game of a five-game trek.

The Bad and The Ugly:

The Canucks opened Tuesday’s game coming under quick offensive attack from the Flyers. A bustling barrage in front of Thatcher Demko would result in an early 1-0 strike for Philly, with Egor Zamula finding the back of the net at just 1:45 into play. Vancouver would find ways to settle the pace and push the puck in the offensive zone but still struggled to get quality chances on Philadelphia’s goaltender Carter Hart. A Garnet Hathaway hold on Elias Pettersson at 7:51 gave the team a first-period man advantage, though Vancouver struggled to gain any momentum with special teams play. Noah Juulsen would receive a slashing call with under three minutes remaining, drawing a penalty shot for Flyers forward Sean Couturier. Couterier’s penalty shot came with a clever bit of hip movement for a successful conversion, giving Philadelphia their second goal of the period and second and final goal of the game.

The second and third periods saw a Canucks team respond to first-period adversity with less-than-impressive effort. The Flyers would fail to net any more points after Couterier’s first-period penalty shot, but that is largely in part to the efforts of Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko. The Canucks defense was riddled with giveaways, often stalling the momentum built upon solid chances in the offensive end. Though the Canucks would hold the Flyers scoreless on the powerplay, Vancouver themselves struggled to make use of any extra man chances they garnered. The team wasn’t as successful at winning puck battles along the boards in the way they were against Edmonton and were often stopped when moving the puck through the neutral zone. A Conor Garland goal in the third period put the Canucks on the board, albeit briefly, as a successful challenge for goaltender interference nulled the Canucks’ tally.

Head Coach Rick Tocchet had a lot to say of the team’s lackluster performance in his post-game interview. When asked about the team’s efforts following their first-period performance, Tocchet held nothing back, stating, “We were off all over. We were off every single system, part of it, and then the compete wasn’t there.” Expanding on those comments, the coach continued, “They competed, we didn’t, bottom line. I don’t really have anything to say – no compete. We tried in spurts, but it wasn’t good enough.”

The Good:

The Canucks may have run into some of the existing issues from seasons past, but the damage control of Thatcher Demko remains next level. The Flyers put 42 shots on Demko in Tuesday’s game yet still only managed to get two past the Canucks netminder. It was yet again another showstopping performance from Demko, even if the team in front of him failed to complement. Head Coach Rick Tocchet shares the sentiment, stating post-game, “I can’t even pick one guy that played well except Demko; he was unreal.” Stopping 40 of 42 shots, the goaltender ended the night with a .952 save percentage.

It was Demko’s first game back in net since leaving Wednesday’s home opener earlier. The Canucks goalie had a solid opening performance, stopping 21 of 22 shots, but was pulled in the third period after he threw up in his goalie mask. Wednesday’s game may have been a sick performance from the netminder in the literal sense, but his sickest save of the season so far came on a Flyers shorthanded chance late in Tuesday’s third period. There’s still plenty of hockey left to play, but it’s an early save-of-the-year contender for sure:

Making Moves:

Credit: twitter.com/canucks

Prior to Tuesday’s outing against the Flyers, the Canucks made moves with another hockey team in Pennsylvania. The team announced that forward Karel Plasek and defenseman Jack Rathbone were dealt to Pittsburgh in a two-for-two style trade. Forward Ty Glover and blueliner Mark Friedman are the returning pieces. Glover is a 6’3”, 200-pound left-hand shot center that spent last season with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins of the AHL. The 23-year-old put up 12 points in 49 games with the Penguins in the 2022-23 season. Defenseman Mark Friedman is a 27-year-old right-shot defender that stands 5’11” and weighs in at 185 pounds. Friedman appeared in 47 games last season, split between the Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. He posted one goal and two assists while with the big club and one goal and five assists with Wilkes-Barre Scranton. Friedman, in particular, provides the Canucks with some needed right-hand side defensive support.

The move did leave some scratching their heads at the departure of Rathbone, though the young defenseman has had a tough time cracking the Canucks’ NHL line-up. General Manager Patrick Allvin spoke to this in the team’s statement, saying, “I would like to thank Jack for all the time he spent with our organization and always pushing hard when competing for a spot. It has been a tough couple of years for him, and this will give him a fresh start.”

The Canucks’ early season road trip continues Thursday when the Canucks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis is a freelance hockey reporter covering the ECHL's Jacksonville Icemen for Inside The Rink and the Vancouver Canucks for The Canuck Way. His work has been featured on Hockey of Tomorrow and The Daily Faceoff, and can be found on Twitter/X @FromTheDrewLine.

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