Vancouver Canucks Bo Horvat (53) celebrates his goal against the Philadelphia Flyers with teammates Chris Tanev (8) and Alex Edler (23) during second period NHL hockey action in Vancouver

Virtanen scores 1st NHL goal in Canucks’ win

Virtanen scores first NHL goal as Vancouver Canucks down Philadelphia Flyers 4-1

By Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – Jake Virtanen went from thinking he might be heading back to junior to helping lead the Vancouver Canucks to victory.

The rookie forward scored his first NHL goal about 36 hours after learning he would be sticking with the Canucks as Vancouver downed the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 on Monday.

The Canucks announced Sunday that Virtanen and fellow 19-year-old Jared McCann would remain with club beyond the nine-game mark, triggering the first year of their entry-level contracts.

But before giving the players the good news, head coach Willie Desjardins pretended to criticize both Virtanen and McCann during a video session in front of the rest of the team.

“Going from getting ripped on video (Sunday) to getting the news to getting my first goal, it was pretty special,” said Virtanen. “It was really exciting. To get that one off my shoulders is good.”

With the Canucks already leading 2-1 in the third period, Virtanen took the puck hard to the net on a 2-on-1 and beat Flyers goalie Steve Mason on a backhand at 8:28 before Matt Bartkowski added his second of the season into an empty net with under a minute remaining.

“We had some fun with (Virtanen and McCann) the other day,” said Canucks goalie Ryan Miller, who finished with 27 saves. “It was nice to see them step up and take it in stride and go out there and compete hard.”

Desjardins said just because Virtanen and McCann, who leads the Canucks with five goals, are staying in the NHL doesn’t mean there can be any dip in their play.

“If I were those guys I think I would feel a little bit more relaxed, but at the same time, in this league every shift there’s pressure,” said the coach. “If you have a bad shift we’re in trouble.”

Bo Horvat, with a goal and an assist, and Jannik Hansen also scored as Vancouver (6-2-4) won its second straight game on home ice after dropping its first five.

The Canucks came in having already lost four games when leading after two periods, but put things to bed on this night with a strong effort.

“We knew that we had to focus and play hard,” said Virtanen, who had three shots and three hits in his best game as a pro. “We’ve just been really focusing on playing the full 60 minutes.”

Claude Giroux had the goal for Philadelphia (4-5-2), while Mason stopped 30 shots as the Flyers dropped their fourth in a row.

“I think there was a lot of improvement from the last three games,” said Giroux. “We have a lot of things we want to work on, but the score doesn’t show how much better we played.”

Horvat gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead at 10:10 of the second period with the teams playing 4-on-4, wheeling out from behind the Philadelphia net before firing a low shot past Mason for his second goal of the season.

The 20-year-old Horvat was in McCann and Virtanen’s shoes last season as a rookie and has been pressing to provide more offence early in the schedule.

“He just wants to contribute,” said Desjardins. “Sometimes the harder you chase something, the harder it is to catch.”

Wayne Simmonds came within inches of getting the Flyers even a few minutes later, but his shot rang off the post behind Miller. Vancouver then almost stretched its lead to 3-1, but Philadelphia’s Chris VandeVelde cleared a bouncing puck off the goal line.

Down 1-0 after the first on Hansen’s second, the Flyers tied things up at 2:54 of the middle period when Giroux protected the puck before roofing a backhand on Miller.

The Philadelphia captain’s fourth goal of the season and first in five games came after Mason made a great save on a Horvat breakaway moments earlier, but would be all the visitors could muster.

“It was a good battle by all our guys,” said Desjardins. “You could trust everybody.”

Notes: Monday was Virtanen’s ninth game, while McCann played his 10th. … Philadelphia continues a four-game road trip Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers. … Vancouver hosts the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday before starting a seven-game road trip Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres. … Dan Hamhuis returned to the Vancouver lineup after missing three games with a lower-body injury. Fellow defenceman Luca Sbisa has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.

___

Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This Crescent Beach home, located at 12505 22 Ave., was subject of a police search warrant June 18. (Google image)
Civil Forfeiture Office alleges Crescent Beach home used to launder money

Court documents request the home, and $85,000 to be turned over to the government

Surrey firefighters battle a house fire near the 70A Avenue and 126A Street intersection early Sunday morning. According to a witness, it appears that the occupants were able to get out without injury. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Fire causes extensive damage to Surrey home

Occupants able to escape without injury: witness

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

An animated Gordie Hogg introduces his 'Community Connections' videos. (YouTube screenshot)
Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Glenn Rose

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Most Read