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game recap

Flyers defeat Avalanche, move back into third place in Metro

Provorov gets goal, assist for Philadelphia

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

DENVER -- The Philadelphia Flyers moved into third place in the Metropolitan Division with a 2-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Wednesday.

Ivan Provorov had a goal and an assist, Claude Giroux scored, and Michal Neuvirth made 10 saves before leaving with an undisclosed injury for the Flyers (39-25-14), who are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins with 92 points, but the Penguins hold the tiebreaker, having played one fewer game.

Philadelphia is one point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.


[WATCH: All Flyers vs. Avalanche highlights]


Matt Nieto scored, and Andrew Hammond made 31 saves for the Avalanche (41-28-8), who are ninth in the Western Conference, one point behind the St. Louis Blues, who hold the first wild card, and one point behind the Anaheim Ducks, who hold the second wild card.

"Just a gutsy effort," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "I think we've gotten a lot of those efforts throughout the year. It's no easy task coming in here on a back-to-back. But our guys never look for an excuse and I thought everybody that was in the lineup just went out and did their part. There was a couple of great performances probably to go with it, but everybody in the lineup for sure did their part."

Video: PHI@COL: Neuvirth denies Compher's early chance

Petr Mrazek (17 saves) replaced Neuvirth 8:07 into the second period. Hakstol didn't have an update on Neuvirth, who was activated from injured reserve Wednesday after missing 18 games with a lower-body injury.

"I said before, when you go in, always important are the first couple stops," Mrazek said. "If you can make a save, you can get into the game. After that I felt pretty good."

The Avalanche have lost three of their past four games while scoring five goals. They went 0-for-3 on the power play Wednesday and are 1-for-13 in the past four games.

"Generally, we've counted on our power play to give us at least one [goal] a night, so there's one we're missing in the last couple games," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "The power play wasn't great again tonight, deliberate, too slow with the puck, not moving enough with it, not letting the puck do the work. Just a little bit too slow for me. Not enough attack mentality right now."

Hammond made his Avalanche debut because goalies Semyon Varlamov (ill) and Jonathan Bernier (hand) were unavailable. He spent Wednesday morning in transit after being recalled from San Antonio of the American Hockey League.

"I think it took me a period to get my legs under me," said Hammond, whose previous NHL game came Feb. 7, 2017 with the Ottawa Senators. "The unfortunate part is, I guess the game-winning goal ended up getting scored in that period, but as the game went on I settled in and started to feel better. I felt pretty good in the second and third."

The Flyers took a 2-0 lead in the first period.

Video: PHI@COL: Giroux blasts one-timer past Hammond

Giroux scored on a one-timer from the left face-off circle off a pass from Shayne Gostisbehere at 10:24 for a 1-0 lead, and Provorov beat a screened Hammond with a shot from the left point to make it 2-0 at 18:12.

Nieto cut the lead to 2-1 at 5:36 of the second period. He poked in a loose puck after Dominic Toninato took a stab at a rebound after Neuvirth made a save against Erik Johnson.

The Avalanche pressured Mrazek in the final five minutes and nearly scored after Hammond went to the bench for a sixth skater.

"Those five minutes felt like 15," Mrazek said. "So long ... lots of blocked shots in front of me, a couple of lucky bounces. Didn't see, I think, one or two pucks get to my pad. Big thanks to these guys in front the last five minutes."


Goal of the game

Provorov's goal at 18:12 of the first period. 

Video: PHI@COL: Provorov pots one-timer through traffic


Save of the game

Neuvirth's save against Mikko Rantanen at 5:53 of the second period.

Video: PHI@COL: Neuvirth lunges for spectacular save


Highlight of the game

Mrazek's save against Johnson at 16:11 of the third period.

Video: PHI@COL: Mrazek stands tall to deny Johnson


They said it

"Every point matters right now, especially the last 10 games of the season when you need to make a push. We don't know how the team played behind us or in front of us, so those two points were huge for us." -- Flyers goalie Petr Mrazek

"Under the circumstances I thought Hammond did a nice job, he gave us a chance to win. We have to find a way to score goals." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar 


Need to know

Gostisbehere became the fourth defenseman in Flyers history to reach the 60-point mark, joining Mark Howe (three times), Garry Galley (twice) and Behn Wilson ... Giroux has 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in a six-game point streak. He has 93 points, matching his NHL career high (2011-12). ... The Flyers assigned goalie Alex Lyon to Lehigh Valley of the AHL. … The Flyers are 4-0-3 in their past seven games. 


What's next

Flyers: Host the Boston Bruins on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, TVAS, NHL.TV)

Avalanche: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday (9 p.m. ET; ALT2, NBCSCH, NHL.TV)


Video: Provorov, Mrazek lead Flyers past Avalanche, 2-1

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