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Colorado Hosts Philadelphia To Wrap Up Opening Weekend

Avalanche set to play Flyers in second game of the season

by Miranda Einhorn / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The 2018-19 season continues Saturday night for the Colorado Avalanche as the team hosts the Philadelphia Flyers at Pepsi Center. The Avalanche will be looking for its second win of the new campaign after defeating the Minnesota Wild 4-1 on Thursday.

The franchise has a 31-39-2 all-time record against Philadelphia, which includes an 18-13-13 mark when the club plays the Flyers on home ice. The two teams met twice last season, with each winning on the road.

The matchup is the last home game for the Avs before the squad leaves for a two-game road trip at Columbus and Buffalo next week.

Last Time Out

Colorado defeated division-rival Minnesota 4-1 in the team's season opener on Thursday. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 20 saves with only Zach Parise's shot in the first period getting by him. It was the 400th game of Varlamov's NHL career and marked the eighth time the netminder has started in net on opening night for the Avs. Carl Soderberg netted the first of four unanswered goals at 12:29 of the first period, and Nathan MacKinnon, the first star of the night, scored at 10:26 of the second stanza in what held up as the game-winner. Mikko Rantanen and J.T. Compher added a pair of empty-net markers in the third frame to secure the victory.

The Flyers topped the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2 in their season opener on Thursday in Las Vegas. Wayne Simmonds scored twice and was joined on the scoresheet by teammates Oskar Lindblom, Robert Hagg and Scott Laughton. Philadelphia goaltender Brian Elliot made 23 saves in net.

Last Time They Met

The Avalanche fell 2-1 to the Flyers in the last meeting between the clubs on March 28 at Pepsi Center. Matt Nieto scored the Avs' lone goal and goalie Andrew Hammond, making his Colorado debut, stopped 31-of-33 shots. Claude Giroux and Ivan Provorov tallied for Philly and goaltenders Michal Neuvirth and Petr Mrazek split time in net after Neuvirth left with an injury in the second period. The Flyers outshot the Avalanche 33-28.

What To Watch

Special Teams

The Avalanche killed all three power plays that the Wild had on opening night and finished 1-for-3 with its own man advantage. Colorado finished last season with the eighth-ranked power-play unit (22 percent) and was fourth best in penalty killing (83.3 percent).

The Flyers went 1-for-4 with the extra attacker in Vegas but gave up a short-handed goal in the third period after allowing 10 such markers in 2017-18, tied for the third most in the NHL.

Secondary and Tertiary Scoring

The Avalanche and Flyers' depth forward lines registered key goals and points in the first game of the season. Soderberg had a goal and an assist, while second-year forward Compher also found the back of the net for Colorado. For Philadelphia, tallies from Lindblom, Hagg and Laughton helped the team defeat the defending Western Conference champions.

With the success that the Avs' secondary scorers showed during the preseason and with many of the Flyers' most recent goals coming from bottom-six lines, more offensive opportunities are being generated beyond both teams' top units.

Players To Watch

Colorado: Forward Carl Soderberg

Soderberg notched a goal and an assist in the Avalanche home opener on Thursday. The 32-year-old Swede is coming off a 37-point campaign last year which saw him tie his career high with 16 goals. His opening-night performance marked the 40th multi-point game of his career and earned him the second star of the night.

Philadelphia: Forward Wayne Simmonds

Simmonds found the net twice in Philly's season opener on Thursday after playing with nagging injuries the year prior. Despite playing hurt for most of the last season, Simmonds still recorded 24 goals and 22 assists. Against Vegas, one of his goals came on the power play and he added four shots and a team-high seven hits. Simmonds finished the night with a plus-2 rating.

The Details

Saturday night's matchup between the Avalanche and Flyers is scheduled for 7 p.m. MT. The game can be watched live locally on Altitude or streamed on select devices with the Altitude Now app (in market) or NHL.tv (out of market). The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio FM 92.5 in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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