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Recap: Avs end road trip with high-scoring win against Flyers

An 11-goal affair saw Colorado edge out Philadelphia.

Colorado Avalanche v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

In their final game of an Eastern Conference swing, the Colorado Avalanche looked to ensure a winning road trip against the Philadelphia Flyers in the rare breakfast game.

Recap

The Avalanche have been the kings of the comeback this season but it was a clear point of emphasis after their failed attempt in Boston that they had to start playing with the lead more often.

Things were rocky to start in Philadelphia but the newly dubbed “Roaring Twenties” line gave the Avs the first goal of the game when Ross Colton tipped a Sam Malinski shot that Logan O’Connor then redirected with his foot past a befuddled Carter Hart.

The theme of the first period of this hockey game was the Flyers dominating possession and the Avalanche converting on their chances. Colorado extended their lead immediately after their first powerplay of the game thanks to a patented Mikko Rantanen one-timer from Nathan MacKinnon.

Colorado entered the second period with a 2-0 lead, despite only having five shots to the Flyers’ 12.

After a low event period, the two teams exchanged blows in the opening minutes of the second. MacKinnon capitalized on a mini breakaway after blowing past the Flyers defense, a play he executes quite frequently.

Barely a minute after, Joel Farabee outmuscled Jack Johnson on the backdoor and tipped home a cross-crease pass from Morgan Frost to get the Flyers back within two.

Play slowed down until the Roaring Twenties line combined for a nifty backdoor play, resulting in O’Connor getting his second goal of the night and breaking the double-digit goal mark for the first time in his career.

The Flyers pushed back hard following the Avs's fourth goal. Jason Polin was called for a tripping penalty in the defensive zone, and although the Flyers didn’t score on the ensuing powerplay they kept heavy pressure for multiple shifts following it. Eventually, their hard work paid off when their leading goal-scorer, Travis Konecny, fired a shot from the point that beat Alexandar Georgiev on the glove. It’s a goal he’d probably want to have back.

Again the game came to a grinding halt after the Flyers response. With three minutes to go in the second, the Avs would extend their lead to three goals for the third time when MacKinnon fired a shot from the point that found its way through Hart.

When the teams came back for the third period, Flyers’ head coach John Tortorella had replaced Hart with Samuel Ersson in an effort to get the Flyers to pick up their game.

It worked as the Flyers buzzed around the Avalanche for the first five minutes of the third. The Avs had hardly if any, time in the offensive zone by the time Tyson Foerster ripped a wrister from the circle past Georgiev’s blocker to get the Flyers back within two yet again.

The Avs went through a miniature spiral following the goal as the Flyers began to swarm and Cale Makar abandoned Cam Atkinson on the back post. Atkinson received a pass from Rasmus Ristolainen and tapped in another backdoor goal for the Flyers.

As the Flyers drew within one the Avalanche clearly received the message that they needed to get their play in order to keep Philadelphia at bay. They did just that and were rewarded with a powerplay that Rantanen cashed in on off a Makar shot for his second of the game.

The Avs controlled play after the Rantanen goal until the Flyers pulled Ersson for the extra attacker. The Flyers had some looks with the extra man but Georgiev came up with some big pad saves in the final minutes.

Jared Bednar put his three players on hat trick watch for the final minute but it was clear the team wanted Logan O’Connor to get hid third when Nathan MacKinnon got to a loose puck in the Flyers zone and elected to pass up on the open net for O’Connor to get his first career hat trick.

The Avs won 7-4 for the second time in the last three games and head back to Colorado with a 3-2 record on the road trip.

Takeaways

That Roaring Twenties line is something else. At the start of the year when they were together, they had some strong underlying numbers but weren’t quite getting the results. But as they say, what goes around comes around and it’s definitely coming around for that line right now. Since Miles Wood returned against Ottawa on Tuesday that line has been scoring like a high-end second line. The Avs really have to get healthy and acquire a second-line center because this line would be even more dominant in their proper role as a third group.

MacKinnon is really good. He should win the Hart. I feel like that about sums it up.

Georgiev has drawn the ire of many lately for his disappointing performances in net. Yet again he gives up four goals and a sub .900 save percentage. Simply put no matter how good you think he’s played lately that needs to stop. On the other hand, he did make some massive saves to keep the Flyers at arm’s length in the final moments of this game. Really feels like the dude needs a break.

This wasn’t a perfect game from Josh Manson but I truly enjoy watching him when he’s healthy. He continues to be so good defensively and a nice help on offense in a pinch. He just has to stop taking penalties.

Upcoming

The Avalanche have three (technically four) fays until their next game against the Washington Capitals, a break I’m sure they will appreciate. Puck drop on Wednesday night is at 7:30 p.m.