A quick start gave them the lead, then the Philadelphia Flyers rode the solid goaltending of Martin Jones to a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in NHL play Thursday night.
All the game’s goals came in the first seven minutes of the first period.
Sean Couturier scored just 22 seconds into the match then added an assist on James van Riemsdyk’s power play goal at 6:58 of the first period. Claude Giroux had two assists for Philadelphia (4-1-1), extending his points streak to six games.
Jones, a Vancouver native, stopped 27 shots. He was particularly sharp over the final two periods when the Flyers were outshot 24-13.
“He was an all-star tonight,” said Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault. “He played extremely well. He made the difference.”
In one sequence in the second period Jones stopped a drive from the point. The rebound went to Canuck winger Juho Lammikko parked just outside the crease. Lammikko fired from point-blank range, but Jones made the save.
Jones said it’s always special to return to Vancouver and play at Rogers Arena, where his father Harvey was once vice-president of arena operations.
“It’s always fun to come home and play in front of family and friends,” he said. “I thought we played really well. The penalty kill was really good, we defended well.”
Couturier, who scored his third goal in six games, also praised Jones.
“In the second, and even in the third, he made some big saves late to keep us ahead, saved us a couple of times on the penalty kills,” he said. “He was awesome and played a heck of a game.”
Quinn Hughes scored for the Canucks (3-4-1), tying the game just 1:55 after the Flyers opened the scoring. It was the sixth time in eight games Vancouver had given up the opening goal.
“It would be nice to go out there and score first,” Hughes said. “We didn’t come out ready to play in the first. We had our chances, but it didn’t go in for us.”
The Canucks were 0-5 on the power play. They had a great chance to tie the game with 1:20 remaining when Flyer defenceman Ivan Provorov was called for tripping. With goaltender Jaroslav Halak pulled, Vancouver had a six-on-four advantage and managed two shots but couldn’t score.
Halak stopped 26 shots.
“Power plays can’t win the game all the time,” said Canuck forward Tanner Pearson. “You have to create a bit of something five-on-five.
“You have to have it right at the start.”
Vancouver has scored two or less goals in five games this season.
The Flyers, who had played the night before in Edmonton, showed more speed and controlled the puck early but the Canucks took over the play as the game progressed.
Philadelphia took advantage of a bad Vancouver pinch to score on the game’s first shift. Travis Konency got behind the Canuck defence and passed to Couturier who beat Halak on the far side.
Hughes tied the game at 2:15 with a shot from the blue line that hit the post, hit Jones’s skate then went into the net.
Philadelphia took the lead again at 6:58, needing just 10 seconds to take advantage of Hughes being called for interference.
Giroux made a nice play, banking the puck off the back boards. Couturier picked up the puck and passed to van Riemsdyk, who scored into an open net.
Canuck defenceman Luke Schenn said Giroux made a hard play look easy.
“He makes some pretty special plays,” said Schenn. “That was really a perfect bank.”
The Canucks remain winless in two home games and have lost four times in six starts.
“It’s frustrating,” said Hughes. “Everyone in the room wanted that one. It’s a young season but that’s frustrating.”
NOTES: Vancouver centre Elias Pettersson has gone six games without a goal. … The Canucks scored on their first shot of the game but were outshot 15-4 in the first period. … Former Canuck Zack MacEwen had a spirited second-period fight with Schenn. …. The Canucks played without defenceman Tucker Poolman, who left Tuesday against Minnesota with an upper body injury. … The Flyers defeated the Oilers in Edmonton 5-3 Wednesday night. …. Philadelphia defenceman Keith Yandle played his 928th consecutive game. He last missed a regular season game in March 2009.
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