The season slide continues for the Vancouver Canucks and visiting Philadelphia Flyers, both trying to halt three-game losing streaks when they square off Saturday night.
The Canucks, who are in sixth place in the Pacific Division, have hit a rough patch, losing five of their last six after dropping a 6-4 decision to the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
The Flyers are also winless in their last three and are coming off an embarrassing 6-2 defeat to the Seattle Kraken on Thursday, a frightful start to a four-game road trip.
The Canucks are well back of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and are among a group of struggling clubs which will likely end up with a high draft selection and a lottery shot at projected first overall pick Connor Bedard.
There has been a noticeable change in the work ethic since Bruce Boudreau was fired last month, but the Canucks continue to grapple with the demands of playing for a new coach.
“Maybe some guys were tired the last game, maybe that’s why we lost,” coach Rick Tocchet said. “I don’t know, I don’t care. We have to go through this process. And we have to go through the pain. You can’t be caught in between. You’ll never win.”
Leading scorer Elias Pettersson says he is willing to alter his game to suit Tocchet’s more aggressive style of play.
“We have a long way to go,” Pettersson said. “We have steps to take to get to where we want to be. (Tocchet) is trying to build an identity for us.”
The scoring woes continue to mount for the Flyers, who gave up a short-handed goal to start the Seattle game and mustered just one shot on goal in the first period. The Kraken took a 5-0 lead into the third.
“We didn’t have it from the first period,” forward Scott Laughton said. “It kept going throughout the game. Same old story.
“We will get back at it against Vancouver and go from there.”
The lone bright spot Thursday was Travis Konecny, who ended his 13-game goal drought by scoring twice. He notched his career-high 25th goal of the season 14 seconds into the third period and added another late in the game.
“It was terrible. It was bad. They wanted it more,” Konecny said.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Flyers as this is the second game of a western swing that also takes them to Calgary on Monday and Edmonton on Tuesday.
Goaltending remains a major concern for Vancouver, which has allowed five or more goals in five of its last six games.
The Canucks gave up three first-period goals to the Rangers and had to play catch-up the rest of the way.
With injured No. 1 goalie Thatcher Demko practicing again but still not ready to start, Latvian rookie Arturs Silovs made his NHL debut against New York, stopping 22 shots.
The Canucks gave the puck away 11 times Wednesday, compared to just four giveaways for New York.
“We had a couple of guys who made some egregious mistakes,” Tocchet said.
This is the final game of the Canucks-Flyers season series. Flyers won the first 3-2 at home on Oct. 15.
–Field Level Media