By Annie Ross
The Flyers are taking their 2-0 record out for a spin tonight against the Canucks in Vancouver.
They opened their season with a 4-3 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks last week in Prague as part of the NHL Global Series, then returned home to defeat the New Jersey Devils 4-0 on Wednesday as 21-year-old goaltender Carter Hart stopped 25 shots for his first career shutout.
“Any time you have a milestone, it is definitely pretty cool,” Hart said. “But I think it’s huge that we came out so hard in our home opener. The fans were really getting into it. We gave them something to cheer about, so I think that was a huge effort by us (Wednesday) to come out so hard.”
The Flyers scored three third-period goals to pull away, but that was made possible by Hart.
Hart made three saves during New Jersey’s 5-on-3 power play in the second period, including an acrobatic stop on a shot by Taylor Hall, to keep the score 1-0.
“It was huge,” Flyers winger Travis Konecny said. “We have a player-of-the-game helmet, and I said I should have given it to the whole 5-on-3 crew. Obviously, Hartsy’s save is a huge momentum swing for us, but the 5-on-3 was unbelievable for us and I think that is almost bigger than a goal sometimes when you get that momentum and you can come off that.”
Added new Flyers coach Alain Vigneault, who had the same role in Vancouver from 2006-13, “It’s not about the quantity of saves so much. It’s about the quality of the saves and the timeliness.”
The Flyers are off to a 2-0-0 start for the first time since the 2011-12, which was also the last season in which they won a playoff series.
The Canucks opened the season with a pair of losses on the road in which they scored just two goals, but they returned home Wednesday to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 8-2.
Brandon Sutter scored two goals and added an assist and J.T. Miller had a career-high four points (goal, three assists).
Vancouver took a 4-1 lead in the second period and added four goals in the final 12 1/2 minutes.
“The first period really set them on their heels,” Miller said. “We continue to do a lot of good things. I don’t want people thinking that (because) we lost the first two games, it’s a bad start. I think we felt really comfortable and confident after those games coming into this one. It’s nice to see the pucks finally start to go in.”
Rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes scored his first NHL goal and had an assist.
“It’s something I have been thinking about for a long time, just to get that one under my belt,” said Hughes, who had three assists in his first five NHL games late last season. “I’ve told everyone from the start I’m going to try to get better every game. I feel really good right now.”