PHILADELPHIA – It’s no real mystery why Jake Voracek has suddenly caught fire these past two games after wandering 12 games in the wilderness.
It’s because he’s been put on a line with “Mr. Fix-It,’’ aka, Sean Couturier.
“I have to say that everybody I’ve played with ‘Coots’ has played well,’’ Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said after Couturier set up Voracek for the winning goal in Monday’s 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
Recently, Couturier has helped Oskar Lindblom and Travis Lindblom move to the top of the Flyers’ scoring list.
Now he’s doing some repair work on Voracek, who has goals in his last two games after that extended drought.
Voracek officially ended his slump in Saturday’s game against Calgary but that goal was on an easy tap-in shot right along the goal line.
On Monday night, Voracek fired a patented bullet from the left circle to break a 1-1 tie with 8:33 to play, sending the Flyers home happy from the Wells Fargo Center.
Voracek’s shot eluded goaltender Thatcher Demko and gave the Flyers just their second win (2-2-3) in their last seven games.
It had to be a gratifying moment for Voracek, who has only six goals in the Flyers’ first 24 games.
As for Couturier, he just seems to make everyone around him better.
“I don’t know if that’s Coots or guys getting excited around him,’’ Vigneault said. “Coots is a real solid 200-foot player. You can trust him in defensive situations. Again, tonight, that line (with Lindblom) was real effective.’’
Voracek claims he has his “swagger’’ back, thanks in part to Couturier.
“He’s helping everyone,’’ said Voracek, agreeing with his coach. “He’s always in the right position. For me, to keep up the speed has helped me, so I don’t stop and start all the time, which is really hard to do for an 82-game season.
“I feel like I’m moving a little bit better, I feel like I have the swagger back again. If I don’t play with swagger, I think that’s what was missing. It’s that (expletive) attitude that I need to have to be successful.’’
All in a day’s work for Couturier.
“We’ve played a lot together the past few years,’’ Couturier said of Voracek. “We know each other, we try to use our strength to our advantage. I just try to play the right way, a solid 200-foot game. . .I try to make our line work, that’s what counts.’’
Claude Giroux has spent a lot of time on a line with Couturier and appreciates what he brings to the table.
No doubt the captain knows what Couturier can do for Voracek’s confidence.
“He (Voracek) is making plays, he’s winning battles,’’ Giroux said. “When he had a chance to score tonight, he did. He’s got that skill to make special plays.
“And Coots is consistent in what he does. He plays the right way, doesn’t cheat, plays well defensively and if there’s a chance offensively, he’s going to take advantage of it. He’s just consistent, so it’s easy for his linemates to know what he’s thinking.’’
A goal by Couturier pulled the Flyers even at 1-1 in the second period.
Voracek got at least one crack at the puck as it bounced near the crease and when Vancouver failed to clear, Couturier slid a shot past Demko at 5:54.
After a sluggish start, the Flyers dominated the second period, outshooting the Canucks, 17-4. For the season, the Flyers have outshot opponents, 273-209.
Vancouver took a 1-0 lead at 10:34 of the first period when J.T. Miller’s shot eluded goalie Carter Hart.
It was the Flyers’ first win of the season when trailing after the first period. The Flyers entered the game 0-6-2 when trailing after the first.
In the closing seconds, Hart stood his ground to stop Josh Leivo from close range while the Canucks had six players on the attack.
The Flyers now have points in nine straight games (5-0-4) on home ice. That’s the longest streak since they went 10-0-0 between Nov. 9, 2013 and Jan. 8, 2014.
>Hockey Fights Cancer Night
It was a sea of lavender at the Wells Fargo Center for the annual Hockey Fights Cancer Night.
Eight-year-old Cameron Wakely, a Quakertown resident who is receiving cancer treatments at CHOP, dropped the ceremonial first puck for captains Claude Giroux of the Flyers and Bo Horvat of the Canucks.
Flyers assistant coach Ian Laperriere said he is dedicating his efforts for his father, Michael, who died of pancreatic cancer.
The Flyers wore lavender jerseys in their pre-game warmups and special lavender stickers on their helmets.