To open the new year, the Flyers were victimized by arguably the best player in the world in Edmonton. On Saturday, their five-game winning streak came to an end at the hands of another top NHL player.
Nathan MacKinnon scored two goals and added two assists for a four-point game, as the Avalanche held off a frantic Flyers rally in the third for a 7-4 decision on Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers opened up a 6-1 lead in shots in the first half of the period, but the second Colorado shot was able to open the scoring. Sam Malinski‘s shot from the point was deflected twice, first off the stick of Ross Colton, then the skate of Logan O’Connor, to make it 1-0 Colorado at 9:58.
The Flyers also went 0-for-2 on the power play in the first period. While they were able to kill off a Colorado power play with under two minutes to go, the power-play personnel for the Avalanche capitalized seconds later. MacKinnon set up Mikko Rantanen for a one-timer for his 25th goal of the season, making it 2-0 Colorado with 1:24 remaining in the period.
Through 20 minutes, shots were 12-5 Flyers.
Just 43 seconds into the second period, the Avalanche extended the margin. MacKinnon got behind the defense and buried the breakaway opportunity to make it 3-0 with his 25th of the season.
But the Flyers managed a quick answer to get the margin back to two. Just 1:06 later, Joel Farabee scored his 16th goal of the season off a nice feed from Morgan Frost to make it 3-1.
As the Flyers continued their push to get back into the game, more puck management issues allowed another transition rush for Colorado. Miles Wood picked up another assist with the pass across to O’Connor for the tip-in goal, making it a 4-1 game at 8:14.
The Flyers were unable to capitalize on another power play, but did get the margin back to two again shortly after. Travis Konecny fired a shot from a distance that beat Alexandar Georgiev for his 22nd goal of the season, making it 4-2 at 12:23.
Late in the period, MacKinnon struck again, this time firing a shot from a distance that clipped the blocker of Carter Hart and went in to make it 5-2.
Through two periods, shots were 23-15 Flyers. Sam Ersson entered in goal for the Flyers in the third, as Hart finished with 10 saves on 15 shots.
The Flyers started to chip away at the lead at 5:26 of the third. Tyson Foerster ripped a shot past Georgiev for his seventh goal of the season to make it 5-3.
Just under three minutes later, at 8:11, Rasmus Ristolainen put the puck toward the net for a redirection by Cam Atkinson for his 12th goal of the season to cut the lead to one.
But a penalty at 11:34 gave the Avalanche a power play, and they were able to restore the two-goal lead. Cale Makar took a shot that leaked through Ersson, and Rantanen was able to clean up the loose puck for his second goal of the game and 26th of the season to make it 6-4 with 7:37 to play.
In the final minute, O’Connor finished off the hat trick into an empty net, with MacKinnon getting another assist for his fifth point of the game.
Ersson made nine saves on 10 shots in relief of Hart. Georgiev made 36 saves on 40 shots in the win. Owen Tippett also left the game in the third period and did not return due to a lower-body injury.
In addition to MacKinnon’s four-point game and O’Connor’s hat trick, Colton had three assists, Rantanen had two goals, and Wood and Josh Manson each had two assists. Atkinson had a goal and two assists, while Frost had a pair of assists.
The Flyers get right back on the ice on Sunday afternoon to take on the Ottawa Senators at 1 p.m.