VANCOUVER, British Columbia – You didn’t expect them to go 82-0, did you?
After opening the season with consecutive wins, the Flyers dropped a 3-2 shootout decision Saturday night to the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.
Tanner Pearson scored the winner in the shootout as the Canucks (2-2) won their second straight.
“It was a tight game; it could have gone one way or the other, but I thought we took over in the third,” said Sean Couturier, whose team had a 14-6 shots domination in the third period and tied it at 2-2 on Oskar Lindblom’s power-play goal with 5 minutes, 2 seconds left in regulation.
Carter Hart stopped Bo Horvat on a breakaway with 1 minute, 13 seconds left in overtime, but the Canucks got a power play, which the Flyers killed. Hart stopped one of three shots in the shootout.
Claude Giroux scored the Flyers’ lone shootout goal.
“They’re a good team. They’re a fast team and they do a good job with the puck,” Giroux said. “Overall, I think we played pretty good. It’s early in the season and we’re still working on some things, but I think our guys battled,”
The Flyers (2-0-1) had almost as many shots in the third period (14) as they did in the first two periods combined (16).
Trailing 2-1, the Flyers swarmed the net and had the first eight shots of the third period, but Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom had all the answers. James van Riemsdyk and Kevin Hayes had golden chances for the Flyers.
But after Michael Raffl drew an interference penalty, Lindblom’s power-play goal tied it.. Taking a perfect right-circle feed from Travis Konecny, Lindblom ripped a shot past Markstrom for his second goal (both on the power play) in the young season.
“The point feels good,” Lindblom said, adding he didn’t like the Flyers’ start in the first period. "One point is better than zero.”
The 6-foot-6, 206-pound Markstrom stopped 30 of 32 shots.
“He’s a big body and he made some big saves, for sure,” Giroux said. “We hit a couple posts, too, but that’s part of the game.”
Carsen Twaynski’s first NHL goal had evened the score at 1-1 with 16:46 remaining in the second period.
After taking a long pass from defenseman Justin Braun, Twarynski, a 21-year-old rookie, whipped a left-circle shot past Markstrom, beating him to the short side.
“It was nice to get that first one out of the way .... It was a nice play by Brauner and we caught them in a line change ,” Twarynski said. “Obviously, we came here to win games. We got a point tonight, but would have loved two.”
Just 73 seconds after Twarynski tied it, Pearson deflected Christopher Tanev’s shot past Hart, giving the Canucks a 2-1 lead.
“The first two periods were a chess match. Both teams were fighting for space,” Canucks coach Travis Green said. “We hung in there in the third. They were coming; they were pushing.”
The Canucks, coming off Tuesday’s 8-2 home win over Los Angeles, had the better scoring chances and built a 1-0 lead in a first period in which both teams managed just seven shots.
Elias Pettersson’s point drive went off Hart’s chest, and Brock Boeser (six goals in five career games against the Flyers) knocked in the rebound with 14:59 remaining in the first. The Canucks had two men down low, and Braun was the only defenseman in front of Hart as Provorov appeared out of position.
It was the first time in three games the Flyers failed to score first.
Even though the Flyers scored first in two of their first three games, Lindblom said they can be better in the opening period.
“I think in the first three games, we haven’t gotten the start we wanted,” Lindblom said. “We have to start the first period better. I feel like the teams we played against came out harder than us."
The Flyers had just one quality scoring chance in the opening 20 minutes. While on a power play with 13:25 to go in the period, Hayes threaded a pass to Jake Voracek in front. But Markstrom slid over and robbed the right winger of his first goal of the season.
Hart kept the deficit at 1-0 by denying Jake Virtanen in front as he tried to finish a three-on-two with 9:01 to play in the first.
Before the game, Green called the Flyers a “team to be reckoned with,”
“They’re a really good team. They added two good veteran defensemen to a really good young D,” he said. “That’s a pretty high-end group of defensemen, and they have a young goalie who was dynamite last year, and a great offensive team. They have a good coach, and they’re a good team in the East.”
The Flyers were trying to start 3-0 for the first time since the 2011-12 season, the last time they won a playoff series.
They also missed a chance to become the first NHL team to win their first three games in three different countries (Czech Republic, United States, Canada) since Buffalo did it at the start of the 2011-12 season (Finland, Germany, U.S), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.