VANCOUVER, British Columbia - For the Flyers, the Great Post-Holiday Journey - playing nine of 10 games on the road - began Tuesday night in a city that has been very kind to them over the last two-plus decades.
On Tuesday, however, the kindness ended.
Vancouver ended years of frustration as it routed the Flyers, 6-2, before a sellout crowd at the Rogers Arena. It was the Canucks' first home win against the Flyers since 1989, ending a 14-game drought (0-10-4).
Ryan Kesler scored a pair of goals for Vancouver, which chased goalie Brian Boucher with three goals in a span of 4 minutes, 25 seconds in the second period. The Canucks are on an 8-0-2 run and are second in the Western Conference with 49 points.
The Flyers, playing for the first time in eight nights, were sluggish for the second straight game. They were coming off a 5-0 loss to visiting Florida on Dec. 20, a game in which they seemed to be looking ahead to their holiday break.
They appeared as if they were still on their break for much of Tuesday's game, allowing 22 first-period shots - the most they had given up in any period in a little over two years - as their 6-0-1 road streak came to a halt.
The long layoff may have affected the Flyers in the first period, Danny Briere said, "but after that, there's no excuse. We just got outplayed. We didn't compete hard enough. The Flyers are known to be a team that's tough to play against. They're relentless, they're always on you."
"The last couple games, we've been a very soft team. We've been easy to play against, and we're not winning any battles. If we keep playing that way, it won't take long. We'll disappear."
The Flyers allowed a season-high 49 shots. The Sedin twins - Henrik and Daniel - combined for five points in the romp.
Coach Peter Laviolette said there was "definitely a carryover" from the team's lackluster effort in the loss to Florida, but that the Canucks "were more aggressive and they outhit us. And face-offs to me are a telltale sign as to who's on their toes and ready to jump - and who's not. So I guess it was a carryover, but for me, it all comes down to work ethic."
Vancouver won 66 percent of the face-offs.
"Neither game is acceptable," said Laviolette, whose team has been outscored by 11-2 in the last two contests. "There has to be a lot more intensity to what we do."
Vancouver swarmed the net in the first period, and only Boucher's strong goaltending prevented the Canucks from romping early.
Before the game, Laviolette wondered whether the eight-day holiday break would affect the Flyers.
His concern was warranted. Listless and looking as if they missed injured defenseman Chris Pronger, the Flyers were outshot, 22-8, in the opening period.
Despite a huge territorial advantage, the Canucks managed just a 1-0 lead after the first period. Manny Malhotra tipped in Christian Ehrhoff's point drive to put the Canucks on the board. Boucher, who made six saves on a four-on-three Vancouver power play, had no chance on the goal.
Vancouver was sharper with its passing, and it spent most of the opening period in the offensive end.
In the closing seconds of the first period, Sean O'Donnell, 39, pounded Vancouver's 25-year-old Aaron Volpatti in one of the most action-packed fights of the season.
But the fight did not inspire the Flyers. Fifty-six seconds into the second period, Kesler scored his 18th goal on a drive from above the right circle to put the Flyers in a 2-0 hole.
About 11/2 minutes later, Daniel Sedin made it 3-0 by finishing a slick tic-tac-toe passing play.
Briere converted Mikael Samuelsson's turnover into his team-leading 17th goal, getting the Flyers to within 3-1 with 16:31 left in the second.
About two minutes later, Kesler, with his back to the net, tipped a shot over Boucher for his second goal of the night.