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Avalanche 6, Flyers 3: Sloppy, unlucky game naturally ends in loss

So much for any positive momentum from last game.

Nick Seeler blocks a shot next to J.T. Compher Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

Only about 25 hours after the opening faceoff against the Blues, the Flyers were back at it again, this time against the league’s most formidable opponent — the Colorado Avalanche.

Oh, and the Flyers were going up in this game with the surprise announcement that Travis Konecny would not be playing due to a lower-body injury. It’s not like he just came off of a two-goal night and would be a huge asset to the Flyers in this game or anything.

Throw all that into a blender, mix it all up, and you get yourself a pretty predictable outcome of a loss against the Avalanche.

Period 1

The “Joel Farabee at center” experiment from last game continued from the opening draw. Said opening draw was against Nathan MacKinnon, of all players. To probably no one’s surprise, MacKinnon won it. I definitely wasn’t going to put my money on the guy playing only his second ever game at center. Now, there’s a large debate to be had about just how important faceoffs actually are, but it was still a lopsided matchup to start the game with.

Farabee was quickly asked to do a lot as well, as he was right at the net helping Carter Hart keep the puck out of the net really early on. The Avalanche having dangerous looks early was honestly not good to see, but also expected from the best team in the entire NHL. Really, there wasn’t much else to do but for fans to make jokes as a coping mechanism:

It didn’t take long, though, for those early dangerous looks to turn into a goal against. Nazem Kadri scored 7:20 into the period. As the Avalanche took off with speed into the Flyers’ zone, Nick Seeler’s positioning provided a good screen for Kadri to shoot a wrister cleanly past Hart.

At 13:02, James van Riemsdyk came in clutch to tie the game with his 16th goal of the season. Farabee beat his man with a check into the boards and passed the puck one-handed over to van Riemsdyk. After a failed shot, van Riemsdyk cleaned up his own rebound and got that one in and past Pavel Francouz.

The Avalanche decided to throw their hat into the ring of my aforementioned debate about faceoffs by having Cale Makar score almost immediately off the draw. Oh, and it was scored only five seconds into their power play. What’s it like to have a power play that can actually do that? Asking for a traumatized fanbase.

J.T. Compher — one of the few gingers in the league who has never played for Philadelphia — followed up Makar’s goal with one of his own. Kadri passed him the puck from behind the net, and Compher’s shot went off of Seeler’s stick. You hate to see it.

Not even a full two minutes later, Mikko Rantanen added to the avalanche of Avalanche goals this period. To make matters worse, he wasn’t even trying to score. He was trying to pass it Nichushkin, but Keith Yandle’s skate made for a great deflector and into the net it went. You really hate to see it.

After the first 20 minutes of play, the Flyers were staring down a 4-1 deficit. The Avalanche were playing their stupidly good brand of hockey, but they were also getting all sorts of lucky bounces in their favor. I’d say it was pretty rude of the hockey gods. Colorado already has all the talent, why were they getting all the luck, too?

Period 2

Despite letting in four goals, the Flyers kept steady with Hart in net. Honestly, none of the goals were really his fault, so it made sense to just let him ride the game out.

The early part of this period was by and large uneventful, but that was partly to be expected. I’d have been shocked if the Flyers came out roaring against this Avalanche team, and with a three-goal lead, Colorado could let off a little bit on the gas and just focus on defending.

A little under seven minutes into the period, Owen Tippett almost scored his first as a Flyer, but Francouz decided that the Flyers aren’t allowed to have nice things.

The Avalanche, however, continued to be pretty good at this whole hockey thing, so a little over halfway into the period, Kurtis MacDermid scored a goal. MacDermid is not a defenseman known for scoring goals. The Flyers letting him score was just another indictment of how badly this game was going.

Thankfully Zack MacEwen also decided he wanted to join in on the “I don’t score often, but I’m gonna score now” party. With only 32 seconds left in the period, Cam York made a beauty of a pass up the ice to MacEwen, who scored after breaking off down the ice and using his body to knock Makar out of position. It was a grinder’s kind of goal in the way MacEwen used force, but it also had some finesse to it in the way he handled the puck to take off the shot.

With 24 seconds left in the period, Jack Johnson was called for tripping against Farabee. Since the Flyers did nothing in the early part of that power play, the man advantage would carry over into the next period. Ending the second being down 5-2 was still not great, but it was the same goal differential as how the last period ended, so there was some cold comfort in that.

Period 3

The Flyers had a couple looks during the remainder of their power play, but as ever, they couldn’t convert. Yet, in a reverse of their luck, they managed to survive an Avalanche power play without being scored on.

It was around this point in the game that I got a little fixated on the Ball Arena music choices. Hearing “The Anthem” by Good Charlotte and “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit was definitely way more entertaining than anything the Flyers were doing on the ice.

Max Willman brought my attention back to the play at hand with his third goal of the year at 7:44 into the period, joining MacEwen in breaking goal droughts this game.

Makar, however, just cannot be stopped. He scored his second of the night with a shot that just had me shaking my head. What can be done against his man? Not much, truly.

Farabee laid a hit against Kadri along the boards, Kadri didn’t like it, and unlike last game, the referees didn’t stop Farabee from fighting and losing said fight. He has never been a good fighter, but I have to respect how often he goes out there and drops the gloves in spite of that fact. It’s an admirable type of stupidity.

Kadri ended up with the extra penalty for holding prior to the fight. The Flyers really didn’t do much at all with that man advantage, because they didn’t get a single shot on goal, but there was a fight.

Unfortunately, that ended up being the last major event of note, and the Flyers lost this game 6-3.

Final thoughts

So much for the words of praise I gave the Flyers for their efforts against the Blues. Yes, it was the Colorado Avalanche, and yes, the Flyers are on the second night of a back-to-back with both games on the road, but they just looked abysmal out there tonight. It was like night and day in the difference in how they played.

In some ways, it was a little miraculous that the Flyers had three goals to show for themselves. Maybe it’s a continued sign that this team is doing the best they can out there and that maybe if they had a more complete roster they could give the Avalanche a harder time, but I’m not entirely sure. I’m fully able to admit that I latch onto whatever positives I can take out of a game and cling onto them for dear life, so of course this detail stands out to me.

It was still just an overall bad game though. The Avalanche are an opponent that’s way over the Flyers’ heads, and to top it all off, many of these goals against were the result of unlucky bounces. It’s the kind of game where the team needs to just erase the tape and forget it ever happened.

The Flyers will have Saturday to rest up, and then it’s back to game action against the Nashville Predators on Sunday, March 27 at 6:00 p.m. ET.