Flyers Survive Thriller Against Avalanche

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Flyers were handed about as much adversity as you can receive in the second half of Wednesday's game. This game was supposed to mark the return of Michal Neuvirth, but the return was short-lived and the Flyers spent the second half of the third period in desperation mode.

It proved to be a gut-check victory for the Flyers, who held off a late flurry from the Colorado Avalanche for a 2-1 win on Wednesday night at Pepsi Center.

The Flyers got off to a dicey start as Neuvirth was welcomed back into the lineup by having to make a few difficult saves.

After settling in, the Flyers were able to strike first. Shayne Gostisbehere set up Claude Giroux for a one-timer and he rifled the shot past Andrew Hammond to open the scoring at 10:24. The goal was Giroux's 27th of the season, and he tied a career high with 93 points on the season with the goal.

The assist was also Gostisbehere's 60th point of the season, and he joined Mark Howe, Garry Galley and Behn Wilson as the only Flyers defensemen in history to reach the 60-point mark.

The Flyers padded the lead late in the period as Jordan Weal dropped a pass to Ivan Provorov, who stepped into a one-timer fresh off the bench and scored his 15th goal of the season. 

The Flyers carried a 2-0 lead to intermission and had an 11-9 lead in shots.

The Flyers took a late penalty in the first and had to kill off the remainder of the Colorado power play to start the second. The Avalanche got another power play moments later and failed to score again as the Flyers penalty kill did a good job of preventing the Colorado power play from setting up.

The Avalanche did get a goal shortly after the power play. Nolan Patrick tried to dump the puck in off the glass and it took a strange bounce back into the neutral zone. That allowed Colorado to transition and they were able to pin the Flyers in and crowd the crease. It was Matt Nieto scoring on a rebound for his 14th goal of the season to cut the Flyers lead to one.

Colorado nearly tied the game seconds later as Mikko Rantanen got a glorious chance from the left circle, but Neuvirth made a sprawling save to keep the Flyers ahead.

The Flyers got a power play shortly after and failed to score. It wasn't until after the power play had expired that many realized Neuvirth was no longer in goal. Neuvirth exited with a lower-body injury at the 8:45 mark of the second, forcing Petr Mrazek to take over in goal.

Mrazek made five saves in the remainder of the period. The Flyers took a penalty at the conclusion of the period, putting Colorado on the power play to start the third.

The Flyers started the third period on the penalty kill and successfully killed off the Colorado power play. They failed to score on their own power play later in the period.

For the last seven minutes of the third, Colorado was in complete control, dominating the attacking zone with a flurry of chances. Mrazek made 12 saves in the third and the Flyers were blocking shots in full force, finishing the game with 33 total.

In the end, the Flyers were able to hold off the frantic rally by the Avalanche to secure the two points.

Neuvirth made 10 saves on 11 shots before exiting. Mrazek made 17 saves in relief. Hammond made 31 saves in the defeat.

The Flyers return home on Sunday afternoon as they host the Boston Bruins. Game time is set for 12:30 p.m.

Box Score

  1 2 3 T
Flyers 2 0 0 2
Avalanche 0 1 0 1

Scoring Summary

1st Period

  • PHI Claude Giroux (27) (Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov) 10:24
  • PHI Provorov (15) (Jordan Weal, Andrew MacDonald) 18:12

2nd Period

  • COL Matt Nieto (14) (Dominic Toninato, Erik Johnson) 5:36

3rd Period

  • No Scoring

Game Statistics

  Flyers Avalanche
Shots 33 28
Power Plays 0/2 0/3
Hits 15 22
Faceoff % 61.5% 38.5%
Giveaways 4 5
Takeaways 6 9
Blocked Shots 33 15
Penalty Minutes 6 4