Pettersson pots five points, Vancouver Canucks down Philadelphia Flyers 6-2
VANCOUVER — For Vancouver Canucks star Elias Pettersson, marking a career milestone on Saturday night was big — but getting a rookie goalie his first NHL win was bigger.
Pettersson registered a pair of short-handed empty-net goals and three assists, and hit a career-high 71 points (27 goals, 44 assists) on the season as the Canucks downed the Philadelphia Flyers 6-2.
"Obviously (the point total) was something that was on my mind when I got close," the Swedish centre said. "But I’m happy we got the win and happy for Arturs (Silovs) to get his first NHL win.”
Silovs stopped 35 shots en route to the victory.
The 21-year-old Latvian netminder was called up from the American Hockey League's Abbotsford Canucks on Tuesday and made his debut in a 6-4 loss to the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
“We wanted to get the win for him," Pettersson. "I think last game we didn't defend good enough and we didn’t help him but he still kept us in the game. And today I think was a better effort, our defensive game was better. Obviously, stuff to work on but it’s a step in the right direction.”
Silovs said he found out Thursday that he'd be starting against the Flyers and that his second game was much easier. Getting the win "felt great," he said.
The young netminder's best save of the night came midway through the second period when he stymied Travis Konecny with a pad stop on a short-handed breakaway.
“It was kind of a surprise," Silovs said. "I thought someone's getting a puck and then he got a break where I was like, it was like a quick reaction. So it was good to make a stop for our team.”
At least one of Silovs' teammates was effusive in his praise for the burgeoning goalie.
“Oh, I am happy for Art. He is best player today. You see how many saves? A lot," Russian winger Andrei Kuzmenko said with a laugh. "He was good. Good boy.”
Anthony Beauvillier scored twice for the Canucks (22-30-4), and Kuzmenko and Phillip Di Giuseppe each added a goal. Veteran defenceman Luke Schenn contributed three assists and J.T. Miller registered a pair of helpers.
Scott Laughton and Morgan Frost replied for the Flyers (22-25-10), and Carter Hart stopped 17-of-21 shots as Philly lost its fourth straight game.
Despite the result, coach John Tortorella saw the loss as an improvement over the 6-2 drubbing his team suffered at the hands of the Seattle Kraken on Thursday.
"We played better," he said. "We really need to try to find some more offence consistently, but I thought our effort was better than the last game."
Before putting away two empty-net strikes in the final two minutes of the game, Pettersson registered three assists.
Midway through the second, the Canucks went on the power play after Konecny was called for tripping.
Just four seconds into the man advantage, Pettersson — who won the hardest shot competition at the NHL's all-star festivities earlier this month — launched a rocket from the point and Beauvillier tipped it in to put the Canucks up 3-1 at 13:35.
The Canucks were 1-for-2 with the man advantage Saturday and the Flyers went 1-for-2.
The win snapped a three-game skid for the Canucks, who are 4-5-1 since Rick Tocchet took over as head coach on Jan. 22.
“We need some positive stuff around here, right?" Tocchet said of the result. "It's been kind of negative and we need some positive.”
ON THE BOARD
Philly's Justin Braun appeared to record his first goal of the season midway through the first period.
The 36-year-old defenceman fired a shot at the Canucks' net from the far edge of the faceoff circle and was initially credited with a goal before officials reviewed the video and saw Laughton had chipped it up under Silovs' arm.
Braun has been a frequent healthy scratch and has played in just four of Philly's last 23 games.
"Braun plays hard. It is what it is with him," Tortorella said. "He's a great pro and he's a guy that you cheer for and he just hangs in there. I thought he played hard and good for him."
INS AND OUTS
Vancouver defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (ankle sprain) and forward Curtis Lazar (lower-body) missed the game after suffering injuries in Wednesday's 6-4 loss to the New York Rangers. Tocchet said Saturday morning that Ekman-Larsson is out "some weeks" and Lazar is "day to day."
The Canucks also placed Travis Dermott on injured reserve Saturday. The 26-year-old defenceman has played just 11 games this season after sustaining a head injury in a pre-season practice.
Canucks: take on the Predators in Nashville on Tuesday.
Flyers: continue a four-game road swing against the Calgary Flames on Monday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2023.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press