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Not A Special Night For Avs

Colorado's power play and penalty kill hurt the club in Philadelphia

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

PHILADELPHIA--The Colorado Avalanche didn't give Jared Bednar any presents on the head coach's 45th birthday.

At least not any that he would enjoy.

The Avs had a couple deflections go the wrong way and a tough night on special teams in a 4-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers scored on both of their power-play opportunities in the first period, after capitalizing on a short-handed rush to kick off what ended up being a 3-0 opening stanza.

"I think, first period we come out and we weren't physically ready to go," Bednar said. "We were on our heels, and we let them come at us."

Colorado actually had some jump to it in the first few minutes of the contest and created the first power play of the night, forcing Claude Giroux to take a slashing penalty 2:30 into the game.

However, the man advantage seemed to stall the team's momentum instead. The Avs couldn't generate much offensively, and Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds scored his first of the game on a rush the other way as his shot went off a Colorado defenseman's stick and past goaltender Jeremy Smith.

"I think the first goal of the game, when you have a power play, shorthanded, it's tough to bounce back from, for sure," said Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon.

Video: Nathan MacKinnon after loss to Philly

It was the first of a series of tough bounces that went against the Avalanche in the opening 20 minutes as the Flyers added two more in the frame off redirections in front of Smith. Jakub Voracek's goal at 10:35 of the period that made it 3-0 also resulted from a bounce off the blade of a Colorado player's stick.

"They came out and they got that early goal, and you could just feel the momentum build for them," Smith said. "For us, we just had to collect ourselves, and I don't think we were able to do that in time. You could tell in the second and third we were much better, especially in the third, but that first period, it put us behind the eight ball."

Video: Avs head coach Jared Bednar after loss in Philly

The Avs outshot the Flyers 21-12 in the final two stanzas, but they couldn't cut the deficit. Philadelphia added one more tally at 7:16 of the middle frame as Jordan Weal picked up his first NHL goal--on a deflection in front.

Colorado finished 0-for-4 on the power play and couldn't capitalize on a penalty shot in the second period.

"When you don't score any power-play goals and you get some chances, it hurts," said MacKinnon.

The Avalanche finished with six more shots on goal (32-26) and nine more attempts (64-53) than the Flyers, but the team couldn't clean up the damage.

"They were just outworking us early in the game, and it cost us the game," Bednar said. "After that, we have a good second. We were on our toes. We were creating. Again though, the story is a lot like our season; we have a lot of good chances there, especially in the second, and we don't capitalize on them--especially when we could use it."

ANOTHER GAME FOR SMITH

Goaltender Jeremy Smith made his third consecutive start in net and the fourth of his career on Wednesday.

He finished with 22 saves but had little to no chance on the four pucks that got past him, as they all came on deflections in front of the net, including two off a teammate's stick.

"It's just battling. It's just focusing on the next play, getting the last goal out of your mind and learning from it, and just keep going," Smith said of his mentality following the bad bounces. "There's nothing you really can do, and for me I'm just thinking about the next play."

Said Bednar: "Kind of tough luck on a couple of those for Smith, but we brought that on ourselves--odd-man rushes and drawn penalties."

For Smith, who had played seven-plus seasons in the minor leagues before making his NHL debut earlier in February, getting another outing in net wasn't a surprise. Colorado kept with the same lineup as it had for Saturday's win against the Buffalo Sabres, with forward Carl Soderberg and Cody Goloubef being healthy scratches.

 

GRIGORENKO PLAYS IN 200TH

Forward Mikhail Grigorenko dressed in his 200th career NHL contest and his 126th with the Avalanche on Tuesday.

Selected No. 12 overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2012 NHL Draft, Grigorenko began his career in Western New York, making his debut in the league on Jan. 20, 2013. He went on to appear in 68 games with the Sabres.

The Khabarovsk, Russia, native was acquired by the Avs on June 26, 2015 and is in his second season with the club. He's recorded 13 goals and 33 assists during his time with Colorado, bringing his NHL career total to 60 points (19 goals and 41 assists).

RARE PENALTY SHOT

Colorado received its second penalty shot of the season, but for the second time the club couldn't connect.

Mikko Rantanen was hooked on a breakaway by Radko Gudas at 5:13 of the second period, giving the rookie his first one-on-one opportunity of his career. His ensuing chance was denied by goaltender Steve Mason as he couldn't get enough on his backhand shot.

The Avalanche's first penalty shot of the season came on Jan. 6 when Matt Nieto, who was playing in his first game with the club, was stopped by Thomas Greiss of the New York Islanders.

The Avs have had one penalty-shot chance against them this season. Semyon Varlamov stopped Minnesota Wild forward Eric Staal's opportunity on Dec. 20.

Colorado has now gone scoreless on its last five penalty shots, with its last goal coming when Chris Stewart scored against the St. Louis Blues on March 6, 2010.

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