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Rantanen, Avalanche bury Flyers, 4-1

That Colorado top line is sure something, and they were dominant on Monday night.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Mikko Rantanen scored twice and Semyon Varlamov made 37 saves as the Avalanche beat the Flyers, 4-1, on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center to sweep the season series between the two teams.

Nolan Patrick scored the lone Flyers goal, who fell to 4-5 with the loss. Brian Elliott made 29 saves in the losing effort and the Flyers squandered three power play chances while again giving up a power play goal.

Not great, folks.

After a couple quality chances for Travis Konecny and Travis Sanheim, Jordan Weal would pickup a tripping call to send a dangerous Avalanche power play to the ice 2:08 in.

The Avs would make the Flyers pay, with Mikko Rantanen picking up the garbage in front off a to make it 1-0 Colorado 3:23 in. Elliott allowed a couple juicy rebounds, but didn’t get help from his penalty killers marking up the white jerseys in front. It’s Rantanen’s third of the season from Nathan McKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog.

Jake Voracek and Scott Laughton nearly hooked up on an equalizer, but Laughton was turned aside point-blank by Semyon Varlamov following a heavy forechecki at the 10-minute mark. Then Christian Folin would put the Avs right back on the power play with a delay of game for sending the puck over the glass. The Flyers would earn the kill, though, and a much-needed one given the ice tiling in favor of the visitors.

Rantanen’s goal would be the lone tally of the first period, with the Avs taking the lead in shots by a final count of 14-11 as well.

AFTER 20: Avalanche 1, Flyers 0

Scott Laughton would earn the Flyers their first man-advantage of the game after absorbing a slash at the hands of Patrik Nemeth 2:17 into the second. Voracek found Laughton on the drop pass and Laughton was slashed dragging the puck past Nemeth and towards the Avs’ cage.

Nothing was doing on the power play as the Flyers couldn’t get anything going against the NHL’s third-ranked penalty kill this time around.

Things would open up a little bit as Radko Gudas rang one off the pipe behind Varlamov at one end and Elliott robbed Sven Andrighetto with a sweet glove save at the other end around seven minutes into the second.

Travis Sanheim would earn the Flyers another power play 8:32 in, getting tripped up by Matt Calvert along the boards, but the Flyers were unsuccessful on their first attempt to start the period with little pressure. Wayne Simmonds was parked in his office on the side of the crease, but Varlamov was able to stand him ground on the stuff attempt for the Flyers’ best chance.

The Flyers would buzz around the Avalanche zone with seven minutes left in the frame, but a series of chances wouldn’t find the back of the net and a vicious cross-check to the back of Travis Konecny would go uncalled.

Matt Nieto would extend the lead to 2-0 with 5:06 left in the period, beating Elliott from the left circle with Carl Soderberg providing the screen in front. It’s Nieto’s first of the season, assisted by Calvert, who worked his way away from the Flyers’ defense to find Nieto.

To add injury to insult, Michael Raffl crumbled to the ice late in the period and needed help to get off the ice. Raffl couldn’t put any weight on his left leg as he was helped off the ice.

Desperate for offense Claude Giroux would take over on his final shift of the period, undressing Nathan McKinnon to create a scoring chance and then drawing a hooking penalty on Gabriel Landeskog to send the Flyers to their third power play with 1:58 of carryover time into the third.

AFTER 40: Avalanche 2, Flyers 0

AFTER 40: Avalanche 2, Flyers 0

The Flyers didn’t generate much with their carryover power play time, with a lone Travis Sanheim point shot with a double screen of Jordan Weal and Nolan Patrick in front. Neither would get a tip on the wrist shot as Varlamov had it the whole way.

Not long after the Flyers’ third failed power play of the night the Avs would take the lead to 3-0 with Landeskog taking a Giroux turnover on a breakaway and beating Elliott with a smooth backhander. It was an awful turnover from the captain, but one out of desperation with a two-goal deficit and not much going well offensively.

The three-goal lead wouldn’t last long though as Nolan Patrick would get the Flyers on the board with a beautiful redirect of a Sanheim pass to make it 3-1 just over a minute after the Landeskog tally. It’s Patrick’s second of the season, and second in as many games, from Sahneim and Voracek.

With 10:10 left Dale Weise of all people nearly had the Flyers’ second of the night, but the veteran was beaten by the post behind Varlamov yet again. The Flyers sure have hit their fare share of posts early on this season, and I’ve gotta say it’s getting old real fast, gang.

On the heels of Weise’s chance it was Patrick on the doorstep looking for his second of the night, but he was bested by Varlamov this time to keep the Colorado lead at two with just over eight minutes left to state.

The Avs nearly added another insurance tally with a three-on-one, but Robert Hagg somehow broke up the rush that included Rantanen and MacKinnon coming full bore. Those two have points in each of the Avs’ last nine games.

With the Flyers’ net empty with 1:42 left Sean Couturier sent one just wide with Varlamov looking around for the loose puck. The chance came after yet another nice point look from Sanheim, who broke a career-high in ice time with a strong night.

After a face-off win, a Wayne Simmonds turnover ended up on the tape of Rantanen, who buried it in the empty net to pot his second of the night and wrap things up 4-1 for the Avalanche. Simmonds was playing the puck back to the point of the quick draw win, but Rantanen read the play and picked off the loose puck.

FINAL: Avs 4, Flyers 1