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

Surrey North Delta Leader

Just Posted

People were lined up around the fields at a drop-in vaccine clinic at Newton Athletic Park on Tuesday (April 27, 2021), which is one of the high-transmission neighbourhoods that are being given vaccine priority. This clinic was one of at least three to open in the city on Tuesday. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s weekly cases continue to drop, push for 80% vaccination rate citywide

BCCDC reports 263 cases for Surrey the week of May 30 to June 5

Friends of Bear Creek Park held a ‘yellow-ribbon event’ on Saturday (June 12, 2021), with protesters at 84th Avenue and King George Boulevard and 84th Avenue and 140th Street. People were asked to tie a yellow ribbon in their yard “to celebrate and to show support for our trees in Bear Creek Park.” (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Protesters hold ‘yellow-ribbon’ event at Surrey’s Bear Creek Park

People asked to tie a yellow ribbon in their yard to ‘show support for our trees’

Fleetwood Park Secondary School’s 2021 commencement ceremonies were held over the course of two days, June 10 and 11. Grads went through a small, distanced ceremony in groups of four, with up to four members of the grad’s household. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s 2021 grads find creative ways to celebrate in another year of COVID-19

This year’s Grade 12 students were unable to have any large-scale events

Hundreds gathered at Surrey’s Holland Park Friday (June 11) in memory of the Muslim family killed in London, Ont. on Sunday (June 6). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Hundreds gather at Surrey park in memory of victims in London attack

Vigil organized by Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians

(Photo: metro creative stock)
Canada India Network Society hosts event on chronic disease

2021 event coincides with International Day of Yoga

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read