NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, November 13th (All times eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (10-4-2-0) at Philadelphia Flyers (8-2-3-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers put their unbeaten home record on the line tonight when they welcome the potent Vancouver Canucks to Wachovia Center for a clash of division leaders.
Philly is 5-0-2 on friendly ice thus far, marking its longest undefeated home run to start a season since 1986-87 (8-0-0). The 1975-76 team began 7-0-1 at the old Spectrum, while the 79-80 club set the franchise record with a 19-0-7 home tear to open the campaign. All three of those teams wound up playing in the Stanley Cup Finals the following spring.
Overall, the Flyers have won four straight and are 6-1-1 in the last eight. On Tuesday, Jeremy Roenick registered a goal and an assist to pace a 2-1 victory over the visiting New York Islanders.
Mark Recchi also scored for Philadelphia, and Jeff Hackett turned aside 23 shots in net. Hackett has been splitting time with youngster Robert Esche, who is expected to receive the nod this evening. Esche has won his last four starts, allowing only four goals between them.
Tony Amonte assisted on Roenick's tally Tuesday and extended his points streak to nine games (6g, 7a) -- the longest current run in the NHL. Roenick has four goals and five assists during his own six-game tear.
On the injury front, Flyers defenseman Eric Desjardins returned to the lineup after he had missed the previous two games with back spasms. However, bruiser Todd Fedoruk suffered a facial fracture during a fight with New York's Eric Cairns and underwent surgery on Wednesday. He is sidelined indefinitely.
Philadelphia will close out a three-game home set Saturday against Atlanta.
Vancouver, meanwhile, enters the contest having tallied a league-leading 53 goals in 16 games. However, the Northwest Division leaders have lost two of their last three and were shut out for the first time Tuesday. Minnesota's Dwayne Roloson stymied the Canucks with 29 saves to back a 1-0 Wild win in St. Paul.
Dan Cloutier made 23 saves in defeat and matched Roloson through two periods, stopping all 15 shots he faced. Minny's Sergei Zholtok finally broke the ice with a goal 14:51 into the third.
Vancouver lost for only the second time in its last 12 games (8-2-2). The lowest total the Canucks had scored in a match before Tuesday was two.
On the injury front, defenseman Ed Jovanovski was back in Vancouver and missed the contest with a strained quad muscle. He is officially listed as day-to- day.
The Canucks, 3-4-1 on the road, play the second portion of a three-game trip tonight and will visit Boston on Saturday.
Philadelphia defeated Vancouver, 3-0, in the City of Brotherly Love last March and has won four of the last five meetings. The Canucks have lost in two of their last three trips to Philly.
11/13 10:28:24 ET