Flyers look to bounce back, finish strong vs. Canucks

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The Philadelphia Flyers will be searching for a way to finish a game the way they start it.

The Flyers fell for the fifth time in six games Saturday, blew a 2-1 late lead and lost to the visiting Calgary Flames 3-2 in a shootout. This was the league-leading eighth shootout for the Flyers.

Philadelphia will look to bounce back when it hosts the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.

“We’ve got to find a way to close it out,” said Jake Voracek, who scored one of the two goals against the Flames.

Kevin Hayes notched the other goal for the Flyers, whose offense has been inconsistent during the recent skid.

“Obviously, the ultimate goal is to get two points and we didn’t, so it’s not good enough,” Hayes said. “But I thought there were some positives in the game.”

Flyers first-year coach Alain Vigneault has not been shy in publicly challenging his players this season, especially veterans such as captain Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk, Shayne Gostisbehere and Voracek.

If not for an empty-net goal and ultimately a tough loss in another shootout, the Flyers easily could have won against Calgary. They did not.

“Had some great looks,” Vigneault said. “The best player on the ice this afternoon was obviously their goaltender (David Rittich). He kept them in, made some big saves, didn’t permit us to score that second goal, which would have been big. … If you look at our overall game, the way we played it, we played extremely well. Just came out on the wrong side of a shootout.”

The Flyers, however, did receive some good news with the return of Scott Laughton after a 13-game absence with a fractured finger.

Vancouver is coming off one of its biggest wins of the season with a 2-1 shootout victory on the road Saturday against the Washington Capitals.

Goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 32 saves in regulation and overtime and seven more in an exciting shootout. Thatcher Demko was an option against the Capitals, but Green went with Markstrom and it turned out to be the right move.

“We debated a little bit,” Canucks coach Travis Green said of staying with Markstrom. “I think we wanted to show him some confidence as well, get him back in the net right away. And he’s given us two big games after that.”

The Canucks had been reeling with seven losses in eight games. Now, they’ve bounced back with two in a row as Bo Horvat registered a goal in the seventh round of the shootout against the powerful Capitals.

Elias Pettersson also recorded his 10th goal of the season for the Canucks.

Vancouver hadn’t won all season before this game when it scored two or less goals.

“We’ve been talking about, sometimes it’s not going to be 5-3 … or what not,” Markstrom said. “It’s going to be 1-0 or 2-1. And it’s nice to win one of those.”

The Canucks could be without center Jay Beagle once again with an injured hip. Beagle is a key component to the Canucks’ penalty kill.

“Hopefully, it is short term and I don’t think it is going to be too long, but it’s a big part of our penalty kill,” Green told the Vancouver Sun. “He brings a lot of energy to our team the way he plays on that line when they’re on.”

–Field Level Media

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