Flyers-Avalanche: Postgame Review
When it was all over on Saturday night, the Flyers were on the wrong end of a 5-4 score to the Colorado Avalanche. But it wasn't for lack of trying.
The Flyers had 37 shots to 27 for the Avalanche, and came close to ending the game on numerous chances. Ultimately, the game took a shootout to decide, but it was a classic case of near misses and little bounces going the wrong way that did the Flyers in.
Here is the Postgame Review.
- This was a highly entertaining game. Most 5-4 games with a lot of scoring would be looked at as defensive struggles where a lot of the play was wide open.
It certainly was in this game, but it was just speed on speed, and the Flyers speed in particular showed.
The Flyers were usually positioned very well too, even on goals allowed. A lot of the bounces didn't go their way, but there were opportunities to finish that were near misses as well.
If there's one area the Flyers can look back on and say the game was lost, it was the power play. The Avalanche made the most of their three power-play chances, scoring twice. The Flyers had one power-play goal, but had six opportunities on the man advantage. That's just not good enough on a night when it was there for the taking.
- The difference between one point and two in the standings may be a save from Michal Neuvirth, not in the shootout, but on Colorado's fourth goal.
The Flyers had just tied the game on Jake Voracek's goal and the momentum had shifted in the Flyers favor. The Flyers first mistake was missed opportunities to clear the puck. First, Brandon Manning didn't clear, then Shayne Gostisbehere needed to clear. Instead, Matt Duchene stole the puck from Gostisbehere, got it to Nail Yakupov and his low shot managed to find space between Neuvirth's five-hole and trickle across the goal line.
The Flyers hadn't really committed any horrendous turnovers to that point in the game, so that was one Neuvirth needed to bail his teammate out. The "save that needs to be made" is also becoming a common theme for Flyers goaltenders. Neuvirth's tremendous display in St. Louis seems like a thing of the past with goals like that.
- In fact, you could look at almost all of the Colorado goals and say they were back-breaking or momentum-swinging in some way.
Duchene opened the scoring with a goal with 1.6 seconds left in the first period. It was on the power play, but for the Flyers to be that close to getting out of the period in a scoreless tie to try to kill off the rest of the man advantage in the second is tough to take.
Colorado's second goal was shorthanded. Those are back-breakers no matter how they go in. The Flyers had a chance to go ahead 3-1 and nearly did. Instead, it was 2-2 when the Flyers power play ended.
The third goal for the Avalanche went in off a Flyer less than one minute after the tying goal. This one was also on the power play for Colorado, but it's disheartening to position yourself and be able to break up a pass only to have it hit your stick and go into your own goal as it did for Robert Hagg, who otherwise played a solid game.
And finally, there was Yakupov's goal, the one that needed to be stopped.
- Two players to watch coming into this game were Colorado's Matt Duchene and Flyers captain Claude Giroux. Neither wasted much time getting on the board.
Duchene broke the ice with a power-play goal in the final seconds of the first. Giroux had the Flyers power-play goal in the second that put them ahead.
Both had good career numbers against the opponent, so this wasn't surprising at all. Both were dangerous throughout the game as well, especially Giroux, who could have had a second or third on the night with some of the chances he had later in the game.
- Aside from the turnover that led to Yakupov's goal, Shayne Gostisbehere's return to the ice was solid. Yes, the Flyers power play went 1-for-6, but the top power play unit looked as dangerous as ever with Gostisbehere on the point. A combination of too much passing and blocked shots held them back the most.
Gostisbehere also added an assist on Giroux's power-play goal, which brings him to 14 points on the season. That ties him for the league lead among defensemen in points, and he missed the last three games with an upper-body injury.
Gostisbehere finished the game with four shots and 26:28 of ice time.
Kevin Durso is Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.