THE CANADIAN PRESS
VANCOUVER — Mike Richards scored two goals, including one when his club was two men short, and Philadelphia Flyers chased Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo early in an 8-2 rout of the Canucks on Wednesday night.
Richards’ goals were his first two this season. Daniel Briere added a goal and two assists in the lopsided affair before a sellout crowd at GM Place.
Briere, the former Buffalo Sabre who signed an eight-year US$52 million contract with the Philadelphia in the off-season, now has four goals and three assists in his first three games as a Flyer.
Jeff Carter, R.J. Umberger, Simon Gagne, Joffrey Lupul, and Mike Knuble also scored for the Flyers who improved to 2-1 after their roster was revamped following a 2006-07 campaign in which they missed the playoffs. Philadelphia outshot the Canucks 30-27 while scoring twice on four power play chances.
Ryan Shannon, Lukas Krajicek, both on the power play, replied for the Canucks, who dropped to 1-2.
Thanks to the NHL’s unbalanced schedule, it was the first game between the teams in Vancouver since New Year’s Day in 2001. They last faced each other in Philly on Dec. 15, 2005.
The Canucks probably don’t want to see the Flyers again soon after trailing 4-1 and 7-2 at the intermissions.
The Flyers made Luongo, a finalist for the Vezina, Hart and Lester B. Pearson trophies last season, look ordinary. The visitors scored on four of 13 shots in the first period, prompting Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault to give Luongo the rest of the night off.
Carter opened the scoring 8:48 into the game as he put in Randy Jones’ rebound. Umberger put Philadelphia ahead 2-0 just 13 seconds later as the Flyers took the puck down the ice following the face-off at centre ice.
Shannon reduced Vancouver’s deficit to 2-1 less than a minute later as he cashed in a three-way passing play with Daniel and Henrik Sedin. It was the second goal of the season for Shannon, who was acquired in a trade from Anaheim in the off-season.
But Gagne increased Philly’s lead to 3-1 during a power play about three minutes later. He tucked Briere’s back-door pass into an open goal while hiding at the corner of the net behind Vancouver defenceman Willie Mitchell.
The goal came while Canuck centre Brendan Morrison was serving a hooking penalty.
Briere’s fourth goal of the season gave the Flyers a 4-1 advantage at 16:17 after he had been hooked during a two-on-one and tried to pass to Gagne. The puck bounced back to Briere off Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa’s stick and the speedy centre then roofed his own rebound above Luongo.
Curtis Sanford replaced Luongo at the start of the second, but he promptly let in the first shot he faced as a Canuck when Lupul beat him with a wrist shot to his short glove-hand side.
Exactly three minutes later, Krajicek drew the Canucks within three goals as his fired home a slapshot from the high slot, with the Sedins assisting again.
However, Knuble extended Philadelphia’s advantage to 6-2 as he deflected in Timonen’s point shot for another power play goal while Vancouver’s Bieksa was off for interference.
Richard’s goals completed the rout.
His first goal came about six minutes after Knuble scored. He stayed on the ice after serving an interference penalty and put in a pass from Briere at the side of the net.
There was an ugly moment in the third period as Philadelphia’s Jesse Boulerice cross-checked Ryan Kesler in the face as he was coming around the net. Timonen’s delay-of-game penalty set the stage for Richards’ breakaway goal during a five-on-three situation only nine seconds later.
NOTES — Vancouver centre Brendan Morrison played in his 515th consecutive game . . . The Canucks completed yoga training Tuesday . . . Centre Byron Ritchie and winger Brad Isbister, who both signed with Vancouver as free agents in the off-season, were scratched. Isbister has sat out two of the club’s three games while Ritchie watched his first . . . B.C. Lions quarterback Dave Dickenson, who has had trouble dealing with crowd noise while recuperating from a concussion, viewed the game from the press box . . . Canuck rearguard Matthias Ohlund is one assist away from 200 for his career.