Sunday, November 09, 2014

Flyers nearly buried by third-period Avalanche

Philadelphia, PA -- Claude Giroux picked up a pair of goals and Jakub Voracek added three assists, but the Philadelphia Flyers nearly wasted a four-goal lead and had to hang on for a 4-3 decision over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn also lit the lamp for the Flyers, who won their fifth consecutive home contest including their third in a row on a current four-game homestand.

Steve Mason allowed three goals in the third as his team mysteriously relaxed, but ended up with the win by making 36 saves.

"I can’t sit here and draw a play for you guys to get out of it. Just play. When you stop playing, it’s not even that they stopped playing. It’s an attack mentality like it’s… you stop skating. That’s the biggest thing, you stop skating. Skate and work no matter what the score is. And it gets you out of trouble. It keeps you in the game," stated Flyers head coach Craig Berube on advice offered to his team in the midst of their third-period funk. 

Max Talbot, Alex Tanguay and Zach Redmond registered one score each for the Avalanche, who opened up a road trip by losing for the fourth time in their last five overall. Reto Berra made 23 stops in the setback, Colorado's sixth straight away from home.

Talbot ripped a one-timer from the left circle just under the crossbar at 2:29 of the third period and Mason's bid to become only the third Philly netminder to shut out the Nordiques/Avalanche at home was ended.

Tanguay's shot from the right side squeaked between Mason's glove and body with 6:46 gone and halved the Colorado deficit.

Berra made a pad stop on a surprise short-handed breakaway by Zac Rinaldo just after the midway point, and Redmond repaid that effort by ripping a shot from between the circles with 8:22 to play to make it 4-3.

Colorado was given a power play with 2:49 to go on a questionable holding infraction to returning defenseman Braydon Coburn, and Berra was pulled for an extra skater. The Avs came close on several occasions, and Flyers defenseman Nick Grossmann made a game-saving skate 
block on a wide-open John Mitchell chance in the final seconds.

"I thought we played a real solid first and second period but then it kinda collapsed in the third," Mason said. "The key there was we bend but we didn't break. That's a good sign."

Avs forward Nathan MacKinnon was given a major for boarding Luke Schenn with 53 seconds left in the first, and Giroux threaded the needle through a Simmonds screen on a high wrister from the left circle with 2.9 ticks left.

"I'm just trying to get out of the way, G has one heck of a shot, I'm just trying to move, try to blur it. It was a good shot and it went in," Simmonds said about the impossible angle the shot took towards goal.
Schenn left the game and did not return due to what the team called a left shoulder injury. The club revealed on Sunday that he'll miss the next two weeks with the nebulous "upper-body" issue.

"It was a dumb play by me. I was just trying to turn him the other way with my hand," MacKinnon said. "I definitely take responsibility for the hit; I didn't mean to hurt him. I actually went to dinner with him and his brother last night. I think they got two goals off of the [major], and obviously it sucks but like I said I didn’t mean to hurt him and I feel really bad.”

Colorado head coach Patrick Roy was livid after the play, turning beet red in yelling at the officials. He explained: "My only problem with it is the referee was very close to the play and it was the linesman that was at our own blue line that made the call. I just thought that was he was a little far to make that call.  But, I have no problem the call.”

Simmonds pumped home his fourth power-play goal of the season at 2:48 of the second for the other score on the major, and Schenn made it 3-0 with 11:24 elapsed.

Matt Read was stoned at the right post by Berra, but recovered to snag the puck off the back boards and dish in front for the successful conversion.

The Flyers then enjoyed 1:35 of 5-on-3 time after two Avalanche players were sent off in quick succession, and Vinny Lecavalier fooled everyone by faking a shot from the right circle before dishing across to Giroux for the easy slam- dunk and 4-0 edge at 16:22.

Success with the man advantage had been fleeting, as the last time the Flyers recorded three power play goals was on Dec. 28, 2013 at Edmonton, a 4-3 shootout win and they hadn't done so at home since Feb. 23, 2013 in a 5-3 win over Winnipeg. 

Notes: Philadelphia has won four straight home games over Colorado since January of 2006 ... Pelle Lindbergh (5/16/85) and Ron Hextall (3/23/97) are the only Flyers goaltenders to blank Quebec/Colorado in Philly ... Giroux extended his point streak to eight games, while Voracek has recorded at least one point in 13 of 14 appearances this season ... Prior to the contest, the Flyers revealed that defensive prospect Shayne Gostisbehere suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee as a result of a fall taken in Friday's AHL contest between the Phantoms and Manchester Monarchs. The Union College product will have surgery on Thursday ... Colorado hasn't posted a road victory since a 2-1 result on Oct. 13 in Boston.
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