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Recap: Avalanche can’t get out of their way, fall to Flyers

The second straight loss on home ice sours an emotional Military Appreciation Night.

Philadelphia Flyers v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

A snowy Saturday night of hockey could not make the difference for the Colorado Avalanche.

With the elements somewhat in their favor, the Avs froze in the third period and eventually fell to the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. Turnovers continued to be an issue for this Avalanche team who continued to shoot themselves in the foot when having chances in the game.

Saturday night was no different despite playing from behind. It was likely their best game in the last few weeks, but costly mistakes did them in once again. They now have two straight losses in their longest home stand of the season, also not ideal in front of their own fans on Military Appreciation Night.

First Period

The Avalanche came out flying, frustrated from Thursday’s loss against the Winnipeg Jets. Cale Makar, Nathan MacKinnon, and Miles Wood all used their hustle alone to create several chances but couldn’t find the twine.

It was too nice for the Avalanche as they had to endure some injury scares. First, Ivan Prosvetov and Josh Manson had some miscommunication and collided, stinging the netminder. Luckily, both would be okay and continue.

At the other end of the ice, Jonathan Drouin took a clearing puck in the face. He quickly skated to the bench holding his face, but wouldn’t miss a shift.

After Owen Tippett’s hooking penalty was killed off despite several great chances by the Avs, the Flyers would capitalize. It came in the form of their star, Travis Konecny, converting on a nice passing play to give them the lead

But, their lead wouldn’t last long. While Colorado loves giving up late goals, they would get one themselves in the form of a streaking MacKinnon. He did it all himself to tie it up heading into the room.

Second Period

Ivan Prosvetov was called into the action early, with a couple of big saves after the Avs turned the puck over in front of him. It would eventually bite them when Owen Tippett followed up his shot to give Philly the lead.

Colorado’s collapse on both sides of the puck continued afterward. They couldn’t generate many chances and lost track of Travis Sanheim at the other end, who had all day to set up a perfect shot past Prosvetov to double the lead.

However, the two-goal advantage didn’t last long. Ryan Johansen recorded his first 5-on-5 assist of the season, winning a face-off to Josh Manson who blasted it past Hart who was screened by Joel Kiviranta.

Penalties (and the lack thereof) would come from both sides, but the Avs found their best chances of the period shorthanded. Wood couldn’t finish a breakaway chance, and Valeri Nichushkin was denied on the goal line by a sliding defender. It left plenty of work to do for the Avs still down one with 20 minutes to go.

Third Period

Somehow, the Flyers didn’t make it a 4-2 game earlier in the period when a shot they had just sailed wide of a gaping net. It gave Colorado a glimmer of hope, but not even an excellent Logan O’Connor deflection off a Cale Makar slapshot couldn’t beat a moving Hart.

Despite pushing hard and Prosvetov making an unbelievable pair of saves on a 2-on-0, it would all come to naught for Colorado. First, Nichushkin coughed up the puck at the blue line, making MacKinnon take a penalty on Konecny. The referees ruled it a penalty shot, which the Flyers No. 11 just managed to get past a flailing Prosvetov to increase the lead to two again.

Just 46 seconds later, the final nail in the coffin would be stamped by Philadelphia. Joel Farabee managed to corral a shot past Prosvetov amidst the madness in the crease and put the game out of reach with a three-goal advantage.

The closing minutes wouldn’t go without pain as Ross Colton would go off injured after falling hard into the boards. Sam Malinski also missed a golden chance in the slot and put it wide of the net for his first career NHL goal.

Almost was the name of the game for the Avalanche, as they whimpered to the final horn with their second straight loss.

Takeaways

The Athletic’s Peter Baugh put the game perfectly in a Twitter/X post: the Avalanche had their chances, but stars turning over the puck put it out of reach. Colorado recorded 38 shots on net and were pursuing the net on several occasions - granted, most coming while playing behind. But, turnovers from MacKinnon and Nichushkin led to goals which ended up making the difference in the game.

Mikko Rantanen continued to be a shell of himself, despite having several good chances to score tonight. How he didn’t get at least one is beyond me, and he continues to lag behind and seem like he was along for the ride. What does he need to do to change things up and start making a difference on the scoreboard? His new role at 2C wasn’t bad, but alas is still scoreless.

Speaking of new roles and line changes, the Jared “Blendar” was in full effect once again. It continued into the game, as eventually Nichushkin, Rantanen, and MacKinnon were playing together. Perhaps more telling is Johansen’s continuous fall down the pecking order down to 4C. He is not the 2C fans and the coaches likely saw in him. It was always going to be difficult coming to a new place after recovering from surgery the previous season. Still, his run of play - or lack thereof - only leads to more questions about him and the ever-lasting question at 2C despite recording an assist tonight.

Upcoming

The fourth game of this five-game homestand is Monday night against Nazem Kadri and the Calgary Flames. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. MT.