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Flyers give up 4 first period goals against the NHL’s best in a tough-to-watch 6-3 defeat to Avs


In what was always going to be a very tough game, the undermanned Philadelphia Flyers dropped their game against the Colorado Avalanche 6-3, thanks in large part to a 4-goal first period outburst from the Avalanche. The Avs scored 4 goals in an 11-minute span in the middle of the first period and they never lost the lead from that point onwards. The Flyers battled as best they could but were heavily outmatched against the NHL’s best. The Avalanche flexed their scoring muscles against the Flyers once again, first beating them 7-5 in December and now completing the season-series-sweep with 6 more goals.


After a big win last night against the St. Louis Blues, Travis Konecny, who scored 2 goals in the game, was ruled out before tonight’s game with a lower-body injury. Oskar Lindblom was set to return to the lineup before puck-drop and he essentially replaced Konecny on the second line. The Avalanche were all over the Flyers to start the game but it didn’t necessarily translate on the shot-clock…just yet.

Cale Makar had the best chance before the first commercial break as his slap-shot rang off the post and then the rebound went to Devon Toews, who had an open net to shoot at, but his shot went just wide. The ensuing shift after the commercial break, the puck ended up in the back of the Flyers net as Nazem Kadri started the scoring-spree. Nick Seeler and Kevin Connauton let Kadri just skate into the zone after his end-to-end rush and beat Carter Hart glove-side. 

The chances kept coming as the Avalanche kept peppering Carter Hart as they out-shot and out-chanced the Flyers 9-4 and 9-1 respectively. Nazem Kadri had 4 of those chances, 3 of them coming after his goal but only minutes after. The Flyers had a chance to tie things up after Hayden Hodgson was stopped on his one-time attempt after Travis Sanheim danced around several players. 

Not too long after that opportunity, James van Riemsdyk tied the game after tucking home his own rebound on Pavel Francouz. Joel Farabee did all the dirty work, manoeuvring his way into the zone and getting the puck past Devon Toews and poking it to van Riemsdyk. He took a harmless shot with Makar in front of him but followed through by out-muscling the smaller defenseman.

The tie didn’t last too long as Kevin Connauton was called for a tripping penalty on Makar. The aforementioned defenseman was all over the ice in the first period and it only took him 5 seconds to score the go-ahead power-play goal. The Avalanche won the faceoff and Makar took a shot through a maze of bodies as Hart had no chance of seeing anything. The goal from Makar broke a franchise record for most goals scored by defensemen in a single season at 53. 

If things weren’t bad enough, down by one to the Avalanche in the first period and having a 4-28-4 record when giving up the first goal, the Avalanche took a 2 goal lead only 2 minutes later thanks to JT Compher. Owen Tippett’s pass was picked off before the neutral zone, Nazem Kadri brought the puck back in the zone, took a shot but it was blocked and went behind the net. Compher corralled the puck and sent it towards the net as it bounced off the stick of Seeler and over the back of Carter Hart and in the net. 

The Avalanche came right back down the ice and scored their 4th goal of the period as Mikko Rantanen scored his 32nd goal of the season, thanks in part to the stick of Keith Yandle. Nathan MacKinnon received a pass into the offensive zone from Erik Johnson. He stopped on a dime, found Rantanen unmarked on the opposite end, and his attempted pass went off the stick of Yandle and through the wickets of Hart. The Flyers were outshot 18-10, were outscored 4-1, Kadri got 3 points, and the Flyers defense that incorporated Connauton, Seeler, and Yandle looked horrid.


The Avalanche’s pressure was relentless and it continued into the second period as they outshot the Flyers 5-0 in the first 4 minutes. Amidst all the pressure, the Flyers had one lone dangerous scoring chance as Owen Tippett found himself on a breakaway but was stopped by the pad of Francouz. Oskar Lindblom had a scare on the next shift as Makar’s elbow hit him in the head as he stretched out for a loose puck, but luckily he was only shaken up a little as he was back out on his next shift. 

The Avalanche by the mid-point of the period and game were outshooting the Flyers 30-13, but that’s not all too surprising as they registered 50 shots in their previous game in December. With how the game had gone so far, it was surprising that the Avalanche hadn’t scored in over 14 minutes but Kurtis MacDermid’s blast from the point fooled Hart and hit the back of the net to make it 5-1. After Darren Helm won the face-off, Andrew Cogliano reached out for the loose puck and passed it to MacDermid for the one-time blast. 

With 32 seconds left the Flyers cut the deficit to 3 after Zack MacEwen muscled his way into the blue crease and beat Francouz with a good move. The puck was bouncing all over the place as the Flyers were trying to get the puck out of the zone. Cam York was able to recover the puck and sent out an outlet pass to MacEwen as he broke into the zone and beat out Makar.

The shots at the end of the second period were 37-20 for the Avalanche. 

The third period started at a slow pace as nothing really happened until the 6 minute mark when Zack MacEwen was called for a high-sticking penalty. It was a tough kill as the Avalanche were all over the Flyers but soon after the penalty was killed, the Flyers scored a goal to cut the deficit to 2. Kevin Hayes did a good job at keeping the puck in the zone, sent a backhand pass to Willman who then passed it to the wide open Sanheim for a slap-shot. His shot was stopped but the rebound went right to Willman, who deposited the puck with a fluttered back-hand.

Down by 2, it may have seemed like the Flyers had a chance to comeback; they usually say a two-goal lead is the most dangerous in hockey, but that might not be the case for the Avalanche as Cale Makar helped regain his team’s three-goal lead. Off another face-off win, Makar waited and waited before unleashing a lethal wrist shot top-shelf on a very screened Hart. It only took the Avalanche 41 seconds to respond as well. 

Nazem Kadri completed his Gordie Howe hat-trick after he dropped the gloves with Joel Farabee. Farabee made a clean check in the corner that Kadri didn’t seem to enjoy, he stick-tapped Farabee and had some choice words before they finally dropped the gloves. Kadri was given the extra 2 minutes for instigating. A power play that has been 3 for their last 34 and 6 for their last 68, didn’t get much going but on the bright side, Mike Yeo finally gave Sanheim a shift on the power play. The Flyers were outshot 50-31 when all was said and done in a very tough game to watch from start to finish.


The Flyers head to Nashville on Sunday to take on the Predators in the fourth game of this five-game Central Division road trip.

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