Rested from 11 days off during the NHL All-Star break and its bye week, the Colorado Avalanche begins a five-game road trip on Saturday in Philadelphia with an interconference matchup against the Flyers.
The Avs' rode a wave of momentum into All-Star Weekend, winning their last three games in January and earning eight of a possible 10 points on a five-game homestand (3-0-2).
Colorado's last contest was a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 20. Nazem Kadri led the charge with three points (two goals, one assist) while Nathan MacKinnon, the Avs' All-Star representative and Central Division team captain, scored two goals. Five other players each notched multiple points as the Avs improved to 28-15-6 on the year.
The Flyers returned from their break on Friday night and fell 4-3 in overtime at the Pittsburgh Penguins. Philadelphia rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the second period to force extra time, but the Penguins' Sidney Crosby tallied the game-winner 55 seconds into OT. Tyler Pitlick had a goal and an assist and Matt Niskanen added two helpers for Philly. Goalie Brian Elliott stopped 16-of-20 shots in the first half of the back-to-back.
Avalanche at Philadelphia Flyers
Wells Fargo Center | Philadelphia, Pa.
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare spent his first two NHL seasons with the Flyers from 2014-2016… Flyers forward Chris Stewart was selected 18th overall by the Avalanche in the first round of the 2006 NHL Draft and played parts of three seasons with Colorado (2008-2011)… Philadelphia goaltender Brian Elliot spent the end of the 2010-11 season with the Avs… Flyers assistant coach Ian Laperriere played four seasons in Colorado from 2005-2009.
The Avalanche beat the Flyers 3-1 in Denver in the first meeting this year on Dec. 11. Mikko Rantanen scored two goals while Pavel Francouz saved 32-of-33 shots. The win gave Colorado its third straight against Philadelphia, a streak that's seen the Avs outscore the Flyers 12-4.
Since 1995, Colorado is 20-10-6 against the Flyers and sports a 9-6-1 record in Philadelphia. Peter Forsberg recorded a hat trick in a 5-3 win on Feb. 11, 1996 in the Avs' first matchup in Philly after moving to Denver in 1995.
Joonas Donskoi, who was in concussion protocol after getting hurt on Jan. 7 at the New York Rangers, will return to the lineup and play on Saturday… Head coach Jared Bednar will announce his starting goaltender following morning skate.
With Joonas Donskoi (concussion protocol) expected to return to game action, Colin Wilson (lower body) is the only Avalanche player still out with an injury. Wilson in rehabbing after having two surgeries and could return later this season depending on his recovery timeline.
SCOUTING THE FLYERS
Philadelphia (27-16-7) has won five of its last eight games and is in sixth place in the Metropolitan Division with 61 points. Philadelphia is averaging 3.06 goals per game while surrendering an average of 2.92 the other way.
The Flyers, who are 10-8-2 since losing to the Avs in Denver in early December, have seen production spread out evenly on the stat sheet, with seven players ranging from 25 to 43 points.
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: Sean Couturier
Sean Couturier is tied for the team lead with 43 points (13 goals, 30 assists), and he's recorded seven points in his last six games (one goal, six assists). The ninth-year center notched an assist in the Flyers' 3-1 loss to the Avs on Dec. 11.
He has six career points (one goal, five assists) in 12 games against Colorado.
Colorado closed out January with three straight wins, the fourth time this season that the Avs have strung together a streak of at least three consecutive victories.
Andre Burakovsky recorded five points total (two goals, three assists) during a three-game point streak to close out January. He has eight points (two goals, six assists) in the last six games.
The Avalanche has scored at least four goals in 25 games this season, fourth-most in the league. The club has a 22-2-1 record when scoring at least four time in outings.
This is the second and final game between the Avalanche and Flyers this year… This five-game road trip, from Feb. 1-9 is tied for Colorado's second-longest away stretch of the season, and it marks the fifth of eight times this year that the Avs will play at least three consecutive away games… Ryan Graves leads the NHL with a plus-34 rating… Nathan MacKinnon ranks tied for third in the NHL with 72 points (30 goals, 42 assists)… Cale Makar continues to lead all rookies in scoring with 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists)… The Avs finished the month of January with a 5-2-2 record and has finished above .500 in every month so far this season.