On Thursday evening, the Vancouver Canucks will endeavour to maintain their current momentum, hosting the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Vancouver Canucks entered the holiday break in a commanding position in the NHL, boasting 49 points and an impressive nine-game point streak (7-0-2). In their final game before the break, the Canucks demonstrated their capabilities by defeating the San Jose Sharks with a score of 7:4, thereby preventing consecutive defeats for the first time since mid-November. The third line, composed of Joshua, Blueger, and Garland, made a significant contribution to the team's success, tallying 28 points in the last ten matches. Blueger approached the break on a six-game point streak. Canucks' defenceman Quinn Hughes likewise stood out, having made 1 goal and 1 assist in the game against the Sharks, equalling the number of NHL games with a point record by Edler amongst Canucks' defencemen in the team's history. Goalie Demko boasted a record of 17-7-1, matching the number of wins of Russian goalie Georgiev from the Colorado Avalanche.
This season, the Canucks' forwards have been yielding high results, ranking first in the league. The average number of goals scored per game is 3.86, while the defence allows an average of 2.52 goals. This season, Miller scored 15 goals and made 33 assists. Over the past three games, the Canucks scored victories over the Sharks and Predators but lost to the Stars. Vancouver realised 24.2% of their power play opportunities. Boeser is the team's leading scorer with 24 goals, Hughes made 34 assists, and Pettersson took 94 shots on goal. Defensively, the Canucks allow 2.51 goals per game.
Philadelphia Flyers entered the holiday break enduring a difficult period, having lost their last two matches. They faced the challenge of avoiding a repeat of their season record – three consecutive defeats, which occurred at the end of October and beginning of November. On Saturday, the Flyers lost to the Detroit Red Wings in a thrilling penalty series with a score of 7:6, despite having led with a score of 5:1 in the first period and subsequently moving ahead 6:5. This defeat was a crucial indicator of the team's fighting spirit, as noted by forward Laughton, underlining the team's readiness for self-sacrifice and shot blocking. Philadelphia forward Hathaway also expressed confidence in the team's direction. In the lead-up to this break, the Flyers called up forward Gardner from the AHL.
In their most recent game against the Detroit Red Wings, the Flyers faced significant hurdles, losing in the shootout despite scoring six goals, with no player able to score more than one goal. On average, the team concedes 2.97 goals per game for the season, with their defence yielding 2.76 goals, placing them 10th in the league. The Flyers are 6th in the East with 40 points, tying with the Maple Leafs and Hurricanes.
The Flyers recently triumphed over New Jersey, but losses to the Predators and Red Wings left the team with issues. The team scores an average of 2.97 goals per game and utilises 10.6% of their power play opportunities. Konecny leads the team with 16 goals, and Russian defender Egor Zamula has one goal and five assists in 24 matches.
Last season, the teams exchanged victories. In their last head-to-head on October 18, the Flyers trumped with a score of 2:0, and on February 19, 2022 the Canucks won emphatically with a score of 6:2. The Flyers have won three of the last four meetings against Vancouver as the bookmakers' underdogs.
The Canucks have been incredibly strong at home and should take the win. This would make it their sixth consecutive home victory, and twice in two weeks Vancouver has managed to keep a clean sheet in matches against Florida and Minnesota.