Rookie Virtanen scores 1st NHL goal as Canucks beat Flyers
Jake Virtanen scored his first NHL goal and Ryan Miller made 27 saves as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 on Monday night.
Bo Horvat had a goal and an assist, and Jannik Hansen and Matt Bartkowksi also scored for Vancouver.
Claude Giroux scored for Philadelphia, while Steve Mason stopped 30 shots as the Flyers dropped their fourth in a row.
The Canucks announced Sunday that Virtanen and fellow 19-year-old rookie forward Jared McCann would be sticking with the club beyond the nine-game mark rather than being returned to junior, triggering the first year of their entry-level contracts.
With his team already leading 2-1 in the third period, Virtanen took the puck hard to the net on a 2-on-1 and beat Mason on a backhand at 8:28. Bartkowski then added his second late as Vancouver won its second straight game on home ice after dropping its first five of the season.
Horvat gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead at 10:10 of the second period with the teams playing 4-on-4. He skated out from behind the Philadelphia net before firing a low shot past Mason for his second goal of the season.
Wayne Simmonds came within inches of getting the Flyers even a few minutes later, but his shot rang off the post behind Miller. Vancouver then almost stretched its lead to 3-1, but Philadelphia's Chris VandeVelde cleared a bouncing puck off the goal line.
Christopher Tanev had another great opportunity from the slot with the Canucks buzzing, but Mason got across to block the defenseman's effort.
Down 1-0 after the first, the Flyers tied things up at 2:54 of the second when Giroux protected the puck from Bartkowski before roofing a backhand on Miller. The Philadelphia captain's fourth goal of the season and first in five games came after Mason made a great save on Horvat's breakaway moments earlier.
The Canucks opened the scoring just 68 seconds into the first period on a nice passing play. Sven Baertschi fed Horvat on the rush, and he in turn found Hansen, who deked Mason for his second.
Vancouver led 8-1 on shots when Philadelphia finally started to push back. The Flyers crashed the Canucks' crease on a couple of occasions, with Miller stopping Vincent Lecavalier from the slot before taking Michael Raffl's shot off the shoulder to keep his team ahead through 20 minutes.
NOTES: Monday's was Virtanen's ninth game, while McCann played his 10th. ... Philadelphia continues a four-game road trip Tuesday at Edmonton. ... Vancouver hosts Pittsburgh on Wednesday before starting a seven-game road trip Saturday at Buffalo. ... Dan Hamhuis returned to the Vancouver lineup after missing three games with a lower-body injury. Fellow defenseman Luca Sbisa has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.
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