By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
For the second straight game, Brian Elliott kept the Flyers in the thick of things against a total barrage. This time, his team couldn't find a way out of it.
The Flyers were locked in a close game with the Avalanche until the bitter end, falling in their second game of the season by a score of 5-2 in Denver on Saturday night.
The Avalanche struck for an early goal. Andrew MacDonald got together with an Avalanche forward and went down, ultimately collecting Nolan Patrick as well behind the net. Erik Johnson got a shot on goal that was stopped by Elliott, as was a rebound chance before Colin Wilson picked up another rebound and scored to get Colorado on the board first just 1:35 into the game.
The Flyers managed an answer at 7:30. Claude Giroux made a great lead pass to Travis Konecny, who was stopped on a backhand chance by Semyon Varlamov. Sean Couturier was following up the play and knocked in the rebound, tying the game with his first of the season.
The Avalanche regained the lead at 12:58 off a failed clear by Christian Folin, making his Flyers debut. Folin turned the puck over to Samuel Girard, who set up J.T. Compher for a shot that beat Elliott to make it 2-1.
After 20 minutes, Colorado had a 14-12 lead in shots.
The Flyers got a goal early in the second on a very strange play. With the puck sent down the ice and icing signaled, the puck bounced off the endboards and was played by Varlamov, nullifying icing, as he attempted to cover. He was then bowled over by Mark Barberio, knocking the puck free and Mikhail Vorobyev was there to spin it into an open net for his first NHL goal, tying the game at two at the two-minute mark.
Colorado took the lead back at 7:18 with play at 4-on-4. Nathan MacKinnon took a shot from center point that was heading wide but was deflected in by Gabriel Landeskog. The Flyers challenged for goalie interference but lost the challenge, making it 3-2 Avalanche.
That score held into the third period. Shots were 28-25 Colorado through two.
The Flyers started to ramp up play early in the third on their way to out-shooting Colorado, 12-7, in the final 20 minutes. They had an early power play chance in the period and could not solve Varlamov.
Late in the period, the Flyers failed to stay disciplined, first taking a bench minor with 7:08 remaining and then another penalty as Folin went off for hooking with 5:22 remaining, giving the Avalanche 17 seconds of 5-on-3 time. The Flyers nearly killed off the entire 2:17, but Wilson scored his second of the game off a nice passing play with 18 seconds remaining on the Folin penalty, making it 4-2 Colorado with 3:39 remaining.
MacKinnon added an empty-net goal with 1:15 remaining to ice the game and cap the scoring.
Elliott was solid despite the loss, making 30 saves in the defeat. Varlamov stopped 35 of 37 shots in the win.
James van Riemsdyk left the game after the first period after being hit in the knee with a clearing attempt. It has been ruled a lower-body injury and he did not return to the game.
The Flyers return home with a 1-1-0 record for their home opener on Tuesday night against the San Jose Sharks. Game time is at 7 p.m.