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Avalanche 3, Flyers 2: Flyers attempt comeback, still lose

Score on page appeared closer than they were.

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

The Philadelphia Flyers decided to make what should have been a quiet loss to the Colorado Avalanche have a little spark of interest towards the end. Still, nothing could have prevented the eventual 3-2 defeat to the reigning champions.

If you wanted some showcase of production, this was not the game for you as only four Flyers managed to secure some points. Cam York and James van Riemsdyk were your goalscorers and Kevin Hayes and Travis Konecny got the sloppy-second assists to maintain some production.

In between the pipes, Felix Sandstrom had his mitts full with the threat of shots, and saved 22 of the 22 shots on goal he faced. Not the best ratio.

It was a game that you almost instantly forget about except for when you see some highlights after all 82 games have been played. There were moments that made you happy to like this team, but it was among a worrying and boring pit of some not-so-pretty hockey.

At the start of this game, we did not realize it actually started and they weren’t just broadcasting some intermission game between a group of children that was taking place somewhere else. It was simply a miserable attempt at displaying what the sport should look like by both teams. Some sprinkled-in scoring chances started to come, but the first several minutes of this matchup had the same amount of life in it as the Queen.

Ever so steadily, the Flyers managed to get more offense in and started to pepper Pavel Francouz with some shots, especially after successfully killing off an early-game penalty.

But it was all up to Cam York to show off and score a highlight reel goal before Cale Makar could even sniff a scoring chance.

A beautiful, beautiful solo effort from the young blueliner to make an Avalanche forward appear like he doesn’t know how to tie his skates, and then find a shooting lane. But he didn’t just try and depend on a teammate to bonk in the puck behind Francouz, but he followed up his own chance and as the puck dribbled out in front of him, he wired it home to open the scoring with his first goal of the season.

After the goal, the Avalanche began to put more pressure on the Flyers, but luckily, they escaped the period still leading thanks to York’s effort. Colorado had two chances on the man advantage where they couldn’t convert because of the Flyers’ more aggressive approach to killing penalties, so both teams stayed at single digits in shots on goal after 20 minutes, with the Avalanche holding a 9-8 lead in that category.

Maybe it was the fact that Colorado was missing some important bits at the top, middle, and bottom of its roster, but the Flyers aggressiveness and comfortability getting deep into the offensive zone continued into the second period. James van Riemsdyk had a nifty breakaway that he just roofed way too high (it’s okay, you’re trying) and Kevin Hayes was almost set up in some extra ice next to Francouz. The Flyers were getting some clear-cut scoring chances against the reigning champions — it was weird.

Through 25 minutes, the Flyers were exclusively taking their attempts within 15 or so feet from the Avs’ goal. And meanwhile, they were able to play well enough defensively to limit Colorado to the outside or not right in front of Sandstrom. It was just an issue with quantity, since the Avalanche technically had more volume of shots but did not get to the same high-danger areas as the Flyers were.

But the talent of the Avalanche — even without Nathan MacKinnon and his band of bandaged men — would keep biting away at the Flyers’ defense and J.T. Compher combined with Devon Toews to pot the tying goal.

Yeah, we knew that was going to happen eventually. Philadelphia was playing with fire by allowing some of the Avs’ talent some open ice and being a little more conservative in transition. Even before the goal, after a pretty successful first period, the Flyers decided to just clap their hands together and determined that 20 minutes of effort was good enough and had just three shot attempts in the first 14 minutes of the middle frame. That is some elite level of doing nothing that we aspire to.

With all that nothing, the Flyers eventually earned their first power play opportunity of the game late in the second period and a goal happened. Except it wasn’t for the Flyers.

After some tremendous effort at 5-on-5, the Avalanche earned the lead with a shorthanded goal from Artturi Lehkonen.

It wasn’t so much an earned goal for Lehkonen, but taking advantage of the puck bouncing off the boards at a weird angle and York being slightly out of position. Nevertheless, the home team had the deserving lead after 40 minutes.

In some sort of death rattle through the beginning of the third period, the Flyers actually created some scoring chances and had some offense going. Slowly pecking away at the Avalanche’s lead in shots on goal, Philadelphia was on the brink of having yet another game reach overtime and have us all be in an incredible amount of pain as we see yet another loser point added to the Flyers’ season total.

Thankfully, J.T. Compher rested that worry as he scored and doubled his team’s lead.

Just one example of how taking the body might not always work out for you. Lehkonen managed to take advantage of the Flyers defender not caring about where the puck was on his person, and snuck a pass from below the goal line to Compher. An excellent play that both teams contributed to.

Of course, the Flyers wanted to ruin what would have been a perfectly somber ending to a game that started way too late. These dudes hate the fact that you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep. With Sandstrom pulled, van Riemsdyk scored his fourth of the season with just over three minutes remaining. Stupid.

It could have been so simple, but of course this meant another anxiety-ridden segment of 6-on-5 attack but thankfully the Flyers do not possess enough talent to actually pull off the late comeback. The Flyers provide a little spark at the end but earn their 14th loss of the season and now have a 9-14-7 record on the season.

Next, they’re heading to a terrible place and facing the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.

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