Vancouver Canucks forward Tanner Pearson was just looking for some empty space when he sent the puck flying in the shootout Saturday night.
The left-winger beat Philadelphia Flyer netminder Carter Hart, getting it through his legs in the third round to secure Vancouver’s 3-2 home victory.
It wasn’t a shot Pearson had spent ample time planning out, however.
“I don’t have a go-to move. I ain’t (Canucks centre Elias Pettersson),” he said after the game. “I just try to find some net and shoot it there. So luckily that one went in.”
Philly netminder Carter Hart, who stopped 24 shots in the losing effort, said he read the shot “the whole way” but made a small and costly mistake.
“I felt like I had it but my stick was a little bit off the ice and it just grazed the bottom of my stick so I have to make sure I keep my stick on the ice,” said the 21-year-old native of Sherwood Park, Alta.
Pearson bested the young goalie in regulation, too, burying the puck midway through the second period to give Vancouver a 2-1 lead.
Brock Boeser also scored for the Canucks (2-2-0), notching his first goal of the season 5:01 into the game.
“I think it’s just a result of our line playing well, getting pucks deep, going east-west, getting pucks to the net and driving there. So we’ve just got to keep doing that,” the right-winger said.
Despite the score in regulation, Hart said most of his work on Saturday came in extra time.
“They came on in overtime so it’s important you make sure you stay into the game, whether that’s little things throughout the game or looking at which way a guy shoots, or who is on the ice, making sure you keep your mind ready,” the goalie said.
Philly (2-0-1) came out strong in the third, looking to add to Carsen Twarynski’s second period tally.
The Flyers had Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom under siege, out-shooting Vancouver 9-1 in the first five minutes of the game’s final frame.
The 29-year-old Swede stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced on Saturday.
“They started slinging pucks to the net (in the third),” Pearson said. “That top line was just throwing everything there, trying to create something. We had to be on our toes but we know we could probably catch some sheen a bit, too.”
Oskar Lindblom finally put away Philly’s second goal of night with a power-play marker 14:58 into the third frame after Vancouver defenceman Jordie Benn was called for interference.
It was the first power-play goal the Canucks have given up this season.
“After the second we were a little frustrated with how we were playing and knew we could play better but there was no panic, we didn’t change our game, we kept the game plan and it was a big goal to tie it up,” said Flyers right-winger Claude Giroux.
The fact that Philly came out hard in the third is no surprise, said Canucks coach Travis Green.
“Teams push in this league when they’re down. And I think young teams, young players, that’s a learning experience when you have the lead and you’re getting pushed on and leaned on. We’ll learn from it,” he said.
“I like that we found a way to win a hockey game. The first two periods were a bit of a chess match. I thought both teams were working hard and fighting for space on the ice.”
The loss was Philadelphia’s first of the season and marked the Flyers’ second contest in North America after they opened the year in the Czech Republic as part of the NHL’s global series.
The Canucks will wrap up a three-game home stand on Tuesday when they host the Red Wings. Philadelphia continues its western swing the same night, battling the Flames in Calgary.