The Avalanche made it an interesting final four minutes Thursday night in Philadelphia.
For the second time in three games, Colorado head coach Patrick Roy pulled his goalie with more than two minutes remaining—this time being down by two scores and with a little less than four minutes left—but the Avs were unable to tie the game like they did Monday in New Jersey.
Nathan MacKinnon scored his rookie-leading 21st goal of the season at 17:10 of the third period to make it a 2-1 game, but the Flyers held off the Avs' late rush and scored into an empty net with 20 seconds left to defeat Colorado 3-1.
The Avalanche came out with a strong third period and outshot the Flyers 17-6 in the stanza and 12-4 in the final 11 minutes after falling down 2-0.
Despite the good scoring chances, the Avs couldn't solve Philly goaltender Steve Mason until MacKinnon's tough-angle shot with 2:50 remaining.
"It's too bad about that goal (that made it 2-0) because I thought we played really well in the third, especially midway until the end," Roy said. "I thought we had a lot of good chances and Mason made some solid saves for them."
Colorado's lone goal helped the team avoid its first shutout of the year and extended two of the Avs' longer point streaks of the season: Gabriel Landeskog to eight games and MacKinnon to seven.
Landeskog began the Avalanche's scoring sequence as he kept the puck in along the left half-wall and fed it down to Ryan O'Reilly, who made his way behind the net before finding MacKinnon in the low right circle. The puck of MacKinnon's ensuing wrist shot just found some space between Mason's blocker and the right post before touching the back of the net.
MacKinnon now has 10 points (four goals and six assists) on his career-high, seven-game streak. He is the first Avs rookie to record points in seven consecutive games since Kevin Shattenkirk had nine straight contests with a point from Nov. 17 to Dec. 4, 2010.
Also, MacKinnon's seven-game stretch is one game shy of tying the longest point streak by an NHL rookie this season. Only Tampa Bay's Ondrej Palat has had a longer streak at eight games.
Landeskog's eight-game point streak ties his career best that he set earlier this season from Dec. 23 to Jan. 8. He entered the game as the first Avalanche player to have two point streaks of at least seven games in the same season since Andrew Brunette in 2006-07 (11 and eight games).
The Colorado captain has 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in his last 22 contests and has only been held off the scoresheet four times in that stretch.
The Avs close out their four-game East Coast trip Saturday at the New York Islanders with MacKinnon looking to tie Palat's streak and Landeskog looking to set a new career high before heading off to the Olympics in Sochi, Russia with Team Sweden.
TALBOT RETURNS TO PHILLY
It was a homecoming of sorts Thursday for Maxime Talbot as the former Flyer played in his first game in Philadelphia since he was traded to Colorado in late October.
|Maxime Talbot |
Talbot had spent two-and-a-half seasons with the Flyers before the Avalanche acquired him in a deal on Oct. 31 that sent Steve Downie to Philly. Since the trade, Talbot has 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in a Colorado uniform and has eight points (two goals, six assists) in his last 13 contests.
"It's been great for me," Talbot said of his first 46 games with the Avs. "We have a good system. A good group of guys and its been fun."
Prior to his stint in Philadelphia, Talbot played his first six seasons with the division-rival Pittsburgh Penguins and said before the game he knows how tough it is to play Flyers in their home arena.
"It's a tough building to play in but a fun building to play in," he said. "It's a fun atmosphere."
Talbot played a grinding game against his former club with four hits in 15:43 of ice time.
Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy made some slight variations with his forward lines to start the game against the Flyers before changing them up again.
Colorado began the game with a starting lineup of Ryan O'Reilly, Matt Duchene and PA Parenteau, with Parenteau being moved up to the top scoring line.
Roy's other lines saw Jamie McGinn being moved down to a line with John Mitchell and Maxime Talbot, and Nathan MacKinnon playing on the right side of a line Paul Stastny and Gabriel Landeskog. The fourth line of Patrick Bordeleau, Marc-Andre Cliche and Cody McLeod remained unchanged to begin the game.
McGinn continued to play with Duchene and O'Reilly on the top power-play unit, along with Parenteau and defenseman Erik Johnson.
Roy shook up his lines in the third period as Talbot moved up to a line with Stastny and Landeskog, while MacKinnon added some speed to McGinn's and Mitchell's line.
MORE POSTGAME NOTES
- Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov made 32 saves in his 11th loss of the season. It was his 27th game this year in which the netminder had given up two or fewer goals.
- Ryan Wilson and Alex Tanguay were scratches for the Avalanche.
- The Avalanche was making its first visit to Philadelphia in over three years as the club last played at Wells Fargo Arena on Oct. 11, 2010. Colorado's last win on the road against the Flyers was on Jan. 14, 2006 (three games).
- Avs tough-guy Patrick Bordeleau was given a five-minute penalty for a check from behind and a game misconduct with 1:32 left in the first period. Roy declined to comment about the incident after the game.
- Colorado is now 10-4-1 in games after regulation losses. The Avs lost 5-1 to the New York Rangers on Tuesday.