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Flyers vs. Avalanche recap: Special teams the difference as Flyers hang on

Flyers barely manage to protect their lead, winning narrowly against the Colorado Avalanche, 4-3.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Remember that line in The Dark Knight Rises when the Joker says, "I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it"? The Flyers are like that, but with big leads.

The game started off pretty sloppy. Zone entries and exits were messy as the Flyers were well-handled at even strength. The Avs, again, are astoundingly fast in their forecheck and their transition game, so they made the Flyers look slow. The Flyers were buzzing on the power play, but that was about it.

As the first period came to a close, Nathan Mackinnon made a really terrible choice, cross-checking Luke Schenn into the boards at a really dangerous moment. The Flyers capitalized on Mackinnon's five minute major late, as the Captain scored with just three seconds left in the period.

Wayne Simmonds was able to capitalize again on the power play to open the second. They didn't take their foot of the gas during the second period either, rattling off two more goals, a greasy one for Brayden Schenn and another power play goal for Claude Giroux. The Flyers opened the third with a 4-0 lead. It seemed like it would be an easy, shut-down third period and the Flyers would be able to strut away with two points.

Not so.

The Avs scored three goals over the course of the first twelve minutes of the third period, leaving the Flyers clinging to a one goal lead. With around three minutes left, Braydon Coburn went off for a holding call and Roy pulled the goalie. The time ticked down tensely, but the Flyers managed to hold on and stopped Colorado's last pushes. It wasn't the prettiest ending, but...they got the job done?

  • Luke Schenn didn't return to the game after the Mackinnon hit due to a shoulder injury. Hopefully it's not as serious as it looked and hopefully he'll be back soon. He's been playing well as of late, and it's a shame that that got interrupted.
  • On the ever important special teams: the Flyers snapped their power-play drought, scoring three power play goals tonight. Their penalty kill, which struggled early on in the season, was perfect. I'm beginning to think that maybe the Flyers should just transport home ice with them everywhere they go.
  • Jason Akeson got shifted to the second line at some point during this game, meaning Chris VandeVelde got moved to the fourth line. I didn't notice either having a drastic effect one way or the other, so... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Still, I'm excited about the idea of Jason Akeson getting more ice time.
  • The first line looked electric as you might expect it would. Wayne Simmonds scored, Claude Giroux scored twice, and Jake Voracek had three assists. Voracek also added to an 8 game point streak, the longest current streak in the NHL. That's about as good as it gets. Keeping them together can only mean good things. (Also, Voracek said he wasn't happy with his game. A three point night. What a guy.)
  • Speaking of great lines: Read-Couturier-Schenn. Boy, have they been killing it or what? I'm really happy with the way they've been playing. Brayden Schenn has looked phenomenal over the past couple of games. Good on all of them.
  • Brayden Schenn also fought Jarome Iginla which was...not smart. Let's all start a petition to make sure that Brayden Schenn never fights ever, ever, ever again. Brayden, you do other things way better. Stick to those other things. Leave the fighting to Zac Rinaldo and his crazy eyes.
  • We saw the full spectrum of redness from Patrick Roy, and it was awesome. Seriously, he was so very red. If that doesn't bring joy to your heart, I don't know what will.

The Flyers will have a five day break to reflect on their second period successes and third period flaws.  They'll close out this homestand on Friday, when Scott Hartnell will make his return to the Wells Fargo Center for the first time. Bring your tissues, folks, it's gonna be emotional.

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