DENVER -- Minus their leading goal scorers, injured wingers Travis Konecny and Oskar Lindblom, the Philadelphia Flyers figure to huff and puff to add points on a three-game road trip that started Wednesday night in Denver.
Making matters worse, they faced a gifted Colorado team that would have been difficult to beat with Konecny and Lindblom.
So it wasn't exactly shocking that the Flyers fell to the Avalanche, 3-1, at the Pepsi Center.
Mikko Rantanen scored a pair of goals and backup goalie Pavel Francouz made 32 saves as the Avalanche handed the Flyers just their second loss in the last eight games. Francouz, 29, was playing because of an injury to Philipp Grubauer.
Francouz lost his shutout, which would have been the first of his 15-game NHL career, when Claude Giroux scored with 5 minutes, 12 seconds left.
Colorado is on a 7-0-1 run.
Rantanen, left all alone in front, scored his second of the night and eighth of the season to give the Avs a 3-0 lead with 17:29 left in the third period. Rantanen took a pass from Nazem Kadri, who was behind the net, and virtually ended the Flyers' hopes.
The Flyers' lineup included four rookie forwards: Morgan Frost, Joel Farabee, Misha Vorobyev and David Kase, who was recalled from the Phantoms earlier in the day and made his NHL debut.
"We have some young guys pushing, trying to make a mark for themselves," veteran center Sean Couturier said before the game. "So this is an opportunity for them to step in and show" what they can do.
The Flyers, cycling the puck and using an active forecheck, had the first 11 shots of the second period but couldn't get the equalizer against Francouz. The Flyers finished with a 17-5 shots domination in the second but were outscored 1-0 and fell into a 2-0 hole.