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Flyers can't complete rally, lose to Avalanche in shootout

Sam Donnellon, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News on

Published in Hockey

PHILADELPHIA -- Some common characteristics of a young, up-and-coming team include endless energy and unending effort. They also includes mind-numbing and ill-timed mistakes, and if you wanted to underscore this, Saturday's game between the improved Colorado Avalanche and the mid-process Flyers is a good place to start.

In the end the Flyers could not overcame the Avs and themselves in a 5-4 shootout loss despite scoring three third-period goals to twice overcome self-induced goal deficits before Mikko Rantanen won it with Colorado's second shootout goal. Jordan Weal scored for the Flyers, but Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek were stopped.

In the third period, Voracek and Dale Weise twice tied it after torturous mistakes led to Avs goals. Voracek pushed across the rebound of Travis Sanheim's blast at 4:33 to tie it at 3. An ugly Shayne Gostisbehere turnover at his own blueline 64 seconds later again gave the Avs the advantage, but 60 seconds later, Weise's finish of a nifty give and go with Jordan Weal from behind the net tied it again at 4.

The teams traded juicy chances in overtime -- Giroux was stopped point blank twice by Semyon Varlamov and Travis Konecny missed the net on a breakaway -- forcing the shootout.

Yeah it was that kind of game: Hold your breath at one end of the ice, hold it again on the other. As was the case during their last home game against Arizona, the Flyers started lethargically. This time they escaped down only a goal, but it was the worst kind: Matt Duchene pumped in a power-play rebound with 1.6 seconds left in the period to give Colorado a 1-0 lead.

That changed quickly as the second period began, and a large part thanks to high-octane shift by Travis Konecny. Moments after he just missed scoring on a redirected wrister, Konecny laced a pass from the boards just above the goal line that Valtteri Filppula pushed into the net to tie the game at 1.

That first shift created a frenzied pace that continued over the next several minutes, producing another power play when Dale Weise was taken down on the side of the net. This time the passing was crisp and effort big, as Giroux dove to push a puck back to the point and was rewarded for his effort seconds when he wristed a rebound past Varlamov for a 2-1 Flyers lead at 6:31 of the second.

The game became a swap of chances. The Avs hit iron twice after the Flyers took a lead, and Konecny nearly had another point after stealing a puck along the boards and firing a wrister that Varlamov swallowed.

The shots, which were 9-5 Colorado after a period, were 23-19 Flyers by the time the second period ended. They had done so much right, but a couple things went awfully wrong.

The Flyers got a fourth power play at 13:39 when A.J. Greere ran over Brandon Manning without the puck. Due largely to Voracek's precision, they had several chances to up the lead, but two big mistakes by the second unit resulted in a 2-on-1 and the tying goal, Blake Comeau wristing it past Neuvirth as Jordan Weal looked behind him for a trailer.

Moments after the Avs tied it, Travis Sanheim went off for a mid-ice hook. In the ensuing power play, Robert Hagge laid his stick across to goalmouth in an attempt to intercept a pass through it. The pass instead deflected off his shaft and into his own net, and the Avs had regained the lead, 3-2.

The Flyers are now winless in the six games they have trailed after two and are 1-2 in overtime.

(c)2017 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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