VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)—The Philadelphia Flyers are full of confidence, now that they’ve gotten their offense going.
“It s going to be good for the confidence of a lot of guys,” Briere said. “You start the season and you want to chip in offensively, you want to help out. Some guys aren’t going to squeeze the stick as much now. It’s really good for everybody to get on board like that.”
Briere, the free agent centerpiece in a rebuilding project that saw the Flyers dress nine players that weren’t with the team to start last season, added two assists. The speedy center has four goals and three assists after signing an eight-year, $52-million deal.
Richards added his second goal late in the third to go with his two assists, and Martin Biron, who like Briere started last season in Buffalo, made 25 saves.
“I m happy starting on the road like we did, building some chemistry,” Briere said. “We have a lot of new faces and it s a big plus.”
The only negative for the Flyers was Jesse Boulerice’s cross-check to the face of Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler with 5:41 left and Philadelphia up 7-2. After some pushing and shoving back and forth earlier in the shift, Boulerice caught an unsuspecting Kesler across the face with his stick, leaving the Canucks forward lying motionless on the ice. He eventually got up and skated to the bench on his own.
“I’m just lucky my jaw isn’t broken, hopefully it’s not fractured,” Kesler said.
Boulerice received a match penalty for intent to injure, which comes with an automatic review by the league.
“I reacted in a bad way the wrong way,” he said.
Roberto Luongo gave up four goals on 13 shots before being pulled.
“It was just a very bad team effort, all 20 guys,” Luongo said. “It’s not somebody leaving somebody else out to dry, it was just a bad effort all around.”
Umberger, who was picked by the Canucks in the first round of the 2001 draft but traded without playing here because of a contract dispute, had an easy backdoor tap-in just 13 seconds later, slamming Richards’ pass into an empty net.
Ryan Shannon responded for Vancouver after some pretty power play passing, but more breakdowns allowed the Flyers to pad the lead before the period ended.
Briere walked in alone on Luongo on the power play before sliding a pass through the crease to a wide-open Gagne for a power play tap-in at 13:11, and the two combined on a 2-on-1 goal just over three minutes later. Briere’s pass attempt bounced back to him in the slot and Luongo made a good save on the first shot, but Briere was left unchecked to knock his own rebound over the sprawled goaltender.
“This is as bad as I’ve seen this team play,” Canucks captain Markus Naslund said. “We have to wake up. It’s embarrassing to lose at home 8-2. It’s embarrassing to lose to a team we should beat if we play to our level.”
It was the Flyers first trip to Vancouver in almost six years, but nothing changed as far as results. Philadelphia hasn’t lost here since 1989, a streak extended to 9-0-4 with a win that got even more one-sided in the second period.
Curtis Sanford took over in net and was beaten on the first shot he faced just 1:24 into the period.
Lukas Krajicek and Knuble traded power play goals midway through the second period before Richards, who also had two assists, rounded out the scoring with yet another easy tap-in on the backdoor after another nice pass from Briere. ^Notes: Umberger was playing his first game after breaking his pinky finger in the preseason. The two teams hadn’t played each other since Dec. 15, 2005. … The Flyers signed D Rory Fitzpatrick, who spent last season with the Canucks, to a contract Tuesday but the veteran didn’t play because of a rib injury. Vancouver sent D Alexander Edler to Manitoba of the AHL earlier in the day.