GAME: Philadelphia Flyers (18-6-8-3) at Colorado Avalanche (16-9-7-1).
TIME: Saturday, 9 p.m. EST.
The suddenly slumping Philadelphia Flyers can point toward one statistic to
explain their recent woes: Their inability to get off to a good start.
Having yielded the first goal in a club-record 14 straight games, the Flyers
hope to come out strong as they visit the Colorado Avalanche.
Philadelphia, which has managed just one win its last eight games (1-3-2-2),
is coming off its first back-to-back losses of the season, including Tuesday's
4-2 setback to the New York Islanders.
Throughout their slump, the Flyers have shown an inability to jump on their
opponent, settling for late rallies, many of which have come up short.
The last time Philadelphia scored the first goal in a game was Nov. 29, when
they beat the Islanders 5-1. That ended an unbeaten month for the Flyers as
they finished November with a 10-0-2 mark.
Despite his team's dubious mark, Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock refuses to
equate the slow starts with his team's troubles.
"You guys are making a big issue out of that," Hitchcock said after
Tuesday's loss in New York. "The issue is when the game is on the line. We're
tied 1-1 in Atlanta, and made a mistake. We're up 2-1 here tonight, and we made
a couple of mistakes. That's the focal point."
The Avalanche have also struggled of late, going 0-3-3 in their last six
games, including Friday's 3-3 tie at St. Louis.
Adam Foote scored the tying goal 9:27 into the third period for Colorado,
which squandered an early two-goal lead.
Colorado captain Joe Sakic continued his recent roll with a goal and an
assist Friday. Sakic has 16 points, including seven goals, in his last nine
Colorado's Peter Forsberg, last year's MVP, has missed 19 consecutive games
with an abdominal injury.