The Vancouver Canucks had scored 12 goals over their first two games enroute to a hot start. The Philadelphia Flyers said enough of that as Carter Hart stopped all 25 shots he faced, leading his team to a 2-0 victory. And despite throwing just about everything they could at goaltender Thatcher Demko, the Flyers needed just two goals in the opening period to come away with the victory.
It was Egor Zamula who kicked things off first just under two minutes into the game. Zamula, who played well in the Flyers’ opening game of the season, fired a perfectly placed shot from the point that went over the left shoulder of Demko. Zamula did a nice job of waiting out a diving Conor Garland before firing his shot. It was the young Russian’s first NHL goal. Zamula fired a total of three shots on net in the first period, coming close to scoring a second goal as well. It should be hard for John Tortorella to take him out of the lineup.
It was Vancouver who controlled most of the play in the first period, though. Despite maintaining possession in the Flyers’ zone, the Canucks missed multiple opportunities to tie the game. Then came Sean Couturier. Heading down the ice on a breakaway with just over 2:30 to go, Couturier was impeded on his way in and awarded a rare penalty shot. And the veteran forward did not miss. Going out wide as he skated in the zone, Couturier quickly turned to his side before switching back and shooting it over the outstretched Demko. It was his first goal since Dec. 10, 2021.
Couturier had over 22 minutes of ice time, four shots, and was 48% on faceoffs. If Couturier is able to continue improving and regain his pre-surgery form, it gives the Flyers another weapon that they had been missing.
While the first period was all Canucks, the Flyers turned up the pressure in the second period. While throwing a total of 22 shots on net, they gave up just three shots against. Demko did all he could to keep the Canucks in the game throughout the night but his offense just couldn’t help him out. While it appeared that they finally got on the board in the third period, the goal by Garland was quickly challenged and taken off the board due to goaltender interference.
That would be the only puck to get past Hart in this one and it wouldn’t even end up counting. A 25-save shutout for Hart earned him the first star of the night as the Flyers swept the night there as well. Zamula and Couturier would take the third and second stars respectively. Getting back in the win column, the Flyers won’t have an easy test coming up when they welcome in Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.