PHILADELPHIA – Roberto Luongo kept the Philadelphia Flyers’ offence in a funk.
Luongo made 38 saves and defenceman Willie Mitchell broke a scoreless tie and the Vancouver Canucks topped the struggling Flyers 3-0 on Thursday night.
“It was one of those nights where you feel like the puck is just hitting you,” said Luongo, who stopped 15 shots in the third period. “I didn’t even see some of them and they ended up hitting me in the arm.”
Philadelphia was shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since February 2003 and the Flyers have not scored in 160 minutes four seconds going back to Braydon Coburn’s goal late in the first period of a 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 27.
The Flyers have scored four goals in their past four games.
“Traffic is the only equalizer,” Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger said. “We have to find a way to get more traffic in front of the net. We’ve got to get into the gritty areas, get in the high-traffic areas and dig deep. Look at ourselves in the mirror and look at one another and come and play 110 per cent.”
The Flyers have lost three straight and six of their past seven.
“We have to execute, play well, and win hockey games,” Pronger said. “Right now, we’re not doing any of the three. If I had the answer, we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about it. It’s not early any more. You can say that after 10-12 games, but we’re 25 games in now.
“Right now we’re struggling to score goals,” Pronger said. “From that, we start looking for – whether it be easy ways or different ways than you normally do scoring goals. It’s going to take three guys around the net bouncing it off somebody’s shin pad. It’s going to take a dirty goal for us to turn this around.”
Mitchell scored at 13:38 of the second period when he picked up a loose puck in front of the Philadelphia net and scooped a backhand over the shoulder of Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher, who finished with 26 saves.
It was the third goal of the season and first in 22 games for Mitchell.
“I get scared when he wanders off near the other team’s net,” Luongo said, “but he did a great job.”
The Canucks won for the fourth time in five games and picked up a second straight convincing win to begin a four-game East Coast trip. The Canucks beat the Devils 5-2 on Wednesday night.
Vancouver added a goal four minutes later when Daniel Sedin’s shot was redirected off the back of Alexander Burrows. Christian Ehrhoff finished the scoring with 3:19 left in the game with a slap shot that trickled past Boucher for his seventh goal. Henrik Sedin added two assists.
That was more than enough offence for Luongo. He made a nice save of Arron Asham’s tip-in attempt late in the second period and came up big on a power play early in the third period, stopping another chance by Asham and then a slap shot from Pronger.
“(Luongo) was unreal,” Burrows said. “Spectacular. In the third, he just kept making big save after big save.”
NOTES: Mitchell’s goal was the 18th of his career in 566 games. … Vancouver is 5-0-0 this season against Eastern Conference opponents. … Vancouver improved to 12-1-0 when leading after two periods. … Philadelphia’s previous home shutout came in a 2-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Feb. 9, 2008.