Flyers forge ahead without Gudas to face Canucks

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers aren't very happy that they will be without their most physical defensemen until Dec. 12.

On Sunday night, Radko Gudas was issued a 10-game suspension for slashing Winnipeg Jets center Mathieu Perreault on the back of the neck on Thursday.

"I was surprised. I didn't expect that," Gudas told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday. "I mean, I don't agree with it, but I accept their decision."

Gudas, who has been suspended two other times, sat out Philadelphia's 5-4 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday. He will miss the next nine games, including the Tuesday night showdown between the Flyers (8-8-4) and the Vancouver Canucks (9-8-3).

The Flyers have won three of their past 12 games, and the Canucks have won three of their past 10.

Gudas will forfeit $408,563.60 in salary.

"The point of all this is to get rid of the stupid moves, really," Perreault told the Winnipeg Sun after learning the length of Gudas' suspension. "Hopefully, that sends him a message."

With Gudas unavailable and Andrew MacDonald still working his way back from a knee injury that has kept him out of 12 games, AHL veteran Mark Alt is expected to remain in the lineup and play alongside rookie Travis Sanheim on the Flyers' third defense pairing.

"There's not a lot of flash to what he's been doing," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said of Alt, "but he's been giving us a real solid 12 to 14 minutes a night."

The Flyers are 3-5-4 since MacDonald left the lineup.

The Canucks are coming off a 4-3 overtime home loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, a game in which they led 3-1 midway through the second period. They have lost two straight and four of five.

"This is a resilient group," Vancouver defenseman Erik Gudbranson said. "This is a moment where you have to look at yourself in the mirror and come to play the next game. Don't necessarily forget it, but put it in the back seat and leave it there. Use it to your advantage and tighten things up."

The Canucks rank 26th in the NHL in scoring (2.55 goals per game) and 23rd on the power play (16.3 percent).

Vancouver is getting very little offense out of former Flyers winger Sam Gagner, who has two goals and four assists through 20 games. Gagne, who had 50 points with the Columbus Blue Jackets last season, signed a three-year deal with the Canucks during the summer.

The Canucks are starting a six-game road trip and are hoping to carry some of their road success -- they are 6-3-0 on the road and 3-5-3 at home -- into Philadelphia.

"I think we have been great on the road," Vancouver left winger Sven Baertschi said. "I don't know what it is. It's just the way it is. I think it's simplifying the game on the road. That's just part of it. Winning on the road is important."

The Canucks released right winger Anton Rodin from his contract on Monday and recalled defenseman Philip Holm, 25, from AHL Utica. Patrick Wiercioch will take Holm's place in Utica.

Vancouver defenseman Chris Tanev (thumb) is not expected to play Tuesday but could return during the six-game trip.

The Flyers placed right winger Matt Read on waivers on Monday.

Philadelphia goalie Michal Neuvirth (2.17 goals-against average, .928 save percentage) is expected to get his first start in six games Tuesday. Jacob Markstrom (5-7-2, 2.63 GAA, 909 SP) is expected to get the call for the Canucks.

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