The Vancouver Canucks have battled their way into a playoff position in the Western Conference and have no intention of going anywhere soon as they host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. The Canucks, who have missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons and three of the past four, have posted three straight victories and can match their best run of the campaign by beating the rejuvenated Flyers.
Vancouver has allowed four goals during its winning streak after 27-year-old Swede Jacob Markstrom recorded his first shutout in his 129th career game Tuesday, a 3-0 victory over Carolina that allowed the Canucks to climb into third place in the Pacific Division. Vancouver hopes to match its 5-2 victory on Nov. 21 at Philadelphia, which has posted back-to-back triumphs over Calgary and Edmonton after enduring a 10-game losing streak (0-5-5). The Flyers limited Edmonton to 26 shots on Wednesday while receiving two points each from captain Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds in a 4-2 triumph and improved to 6-5-3 on the road and 2-0-0 on its three-game Western Canada trip. The Flyers have won two straight games for just the second time this season and managed nine goals after being held to one over their previous two contests.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, NBCSN Philadelphia, Sportsnet Pacific (Vancouver)
ABOUT THE FLYERS (10-11-7): Jakub Voracek notched his fourth assist on the trip Wednesday and leads the team with 34 points while Giroux reached 30, and fellow forward Sean Couturier gives Philadelphia three players with at least 28. Simmonds registered his first multi-point performance since Oct. 21 as he posted a goal for the second straight contest and added an assist. Michael Raffl registered three points over the first 26 games of the season and has matched that amount in his last two contests with two goals and an assist.
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (14-10-4): Defenseman Derrick Pouliot was acquired from Pittsburgh in an early-season trade and has made a solid impact - no more so than on Tuesday, when he recorded a goal and two assists. “I’m starting to add things to my game,” Pouliot, a former first-round pick, told reporters. “So, if I’m playing well defensively, that’s where it starts, and I can add the offensive stuff after that.” Second-leading scorer Bo Horvat (19 points) left Tuesday’s game with what coach Travis Green said was “a small injury” and his status for Thursday is uncertain.
1. Philadelphia C Valtteri Filppula has produced a goal and two assists on the trip after posting just two points in his previous 11 games.
2. Vancouver RW Brock Boeser tops the team with 25 points but has not registered one in four of his last five contests.
3. The Flyers placed G Michal Neuvirth and D Brandon Manning on injured reserve with undisclosed injuries.
PREDICTION: Canucks 4, Flyers 3