Philadelphia at Vancouver

Flyers lose top man Gagne to injury, beat Canucks anyway


VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Philadelphia Flyers have gotten used to rallying around fallen teammates this season.

The latest to go down was top forward Simon Gagne, who was injured just 15 seconds into the Flyers' 3-2 victory against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday.

Gagne was driven hard into the boards by defenseman Kevin Bieksa and didn't return after being diagnosed with an undisclosed upper body injury. Gagne, second to Jeff Carter on the Flyers with 40 points, left the ice favoring his left shoulder. He was limited to 25 games last season due to a concussion.

"That's the story of the year with our team. When guys go down other people step up," said captain Mike Richards, who came to Gagne's defense and fought Bieksa immediately after the hit. "We have some important guys out right now but we also have some young players who see that as an opportunity and have been able to step in and contribute."

The Flyers, who are already missing top forwards Scottie Upshall (knee sprain) and Daniel Briere (groin strain), are uncertain how long Gagne will be out.

Bieksa didn't receive a penalty for the hit.

"It was one of those passes where you let it go through your skates," forward Scott Hartnell said. "He didn't touch the puck and he kind of caught him from the side. I saw it out of the corner of my eye, so I don't know if it was dirty or not. It's just part of the game, I guess."

Hartnell, who scored once and came up short on a couple of breakaways, liked the way his club responded.

"Simon is a big catalyst for us. He's so good around the net and has one of the best shots in the league," Hartnell said. "Seeing him go down on the first shift was a little devastating, but we rallied around that and started to take the body on their skill guys, making it a tough night for them. We were able to get a couple of goals early and then held on at the end."

Losing Gagne still didn't keep Philadelphia from extending its unbeaten streak in Vancouver to 14, a span that has lasted nearly 20 years. The Flyers have 10 wins and four ties since they last lost to the Canucks on the road, a 5-3 defeat on Jan. 17, 1989.

Carter and rookie Jon Kalinski also scored for the Flyers. Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler netted Vancouver's goals.

Carter opened the scoring at 3:16 of the first period, taking a beautiful pass from Matt Carle and breaking in alone on goalie Curtis Sanford. Carter faked to his forehand and beat Sanford with a backhand for his NHL-leading 27th goal.

Sedin tied it for Vancouver with just over three minutes left in the period, but Hartnell restored Philadelphia's lead 45 seconds later.

The Flyers went up 3-1 early in the second period on Kalinski's first NHL goal. Kalinski jumped on a loose puck in the slot and slammed it past goalie Cory Schneider, who replaced Sanford to start the middle period.

Sanford was forced to leave the game due to a pulled groin, a pre-existing injury that necessitated the Canucks acquisition of goalie Jason LaBarbera earlier in the day. The Canucks sent a seventh-round pick in the 2009 draft to the Los Angeles Kings to get LaBarbera, who is expected to start against Nashville on Thursday.

Sanford was placed on the injured list after the game.

Vancouver made it 3-2 at 11:56 of the second when Kesler redirected Alex Burrows' shot past goalie Martin Biron.

The Canucks outshot Philadelphia 11-9 in the third period and 31-29 overall, but couldn't net the tying goal.


  • C Mats Sundin skated with his new teammates for the first time since signing with Vancouver on Dec. 18. Sundin, who participated in the morning skate, won't accompany the Canucks on their upcoming two-game road trip. He is expected to make his Canucks debut on Jan. 7 against Edmonton.
  • Briere skated Monday in Vancouver but a return date is still undetermined. Briere, who has a severe left groin injury, hopes to play by the weekend.
  • Canucks No. 1 goalie Roberto Luongo, out since Nov. 22 because of a groin injury, went for a 10-minute skate with injured center Ryan Johnson on Tuesday. Luongo, who took no shots, isn't expected back before next month's All-Star break.
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Cory Schneider does a good job after replacing Curtis Sanford, who leaves the game with back spasms. (AP)
Cory Schneider does a good job after replacing Curtis Sanford, who leaves the game with back spasms. (AP)
Related Links
Philadelphia  (20-10-7) «2103
Vancouver (20-15-3)1102
Three Stars
S. Hartnell

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
K. Bieksa

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 0
M. Biron

Saves: 29
Save Pct.: .935

Related Video

Scoring Summary
03:16Jeff Carter (27), Backhand Shot. Assist: Carle, Giroux
16:54Power Play - Daniel Sedin (18), Slap Shot. Assist: Sedin, Raymond
17:39Scott Hartnell (14), Slap Shot. Assist: Carter, Lupul
02:36Jonathon Kalinski (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Gratton
11:56Ryan Kesler (9), Tip-In. Assist: Burrows, Bernier
Penalty Summary
15.0Bieksa, 5 min, Fighting
15.0Richards, 5 min, Fighting
16:41Powe, 2 min, Hooking
06:06Hartnell, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
04:25Sedin, 2 min, Hooking
19:40Knuble, 2 min, Slashing
Shots On Goal
Martin Biron60:00292
Curtis Sanford20:0072
Cory Schneider38:41191
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Game Information
Attendance - 18630
Referees - Tim Peel, Paul Devorski
Linesmen - Scott Cherrey, Shane Heyer
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Det 4