The depleted Philadelphia Flyers will continue a difficult homestand when they host the Colorado Avalanche on Monday.
The Flyers dropped home games last week to the Tampa Bay Lightning and New Jersey Devils. After a 4-1 loss to the Lightning on Thursday, the Flyers were edged 3-2 by the Devils on Saturday.
The task won’t get any easier against the defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche as the Flyers still are without key injured players such as Ryan Ellis, Sean Couturier, James van Riemsdyk and Cam Atkinson.
“We played a great game (Saturday); a full 60,” Flyers goaltender Carter Hart said. “I think it came down to goaltending. I have to be better, and I will be better.”
The Flyers outshot the Devils 33-18 and scored a power-play goal.
But they lost.
“We did a lot of good things,” said Travis Konecny, who scored the Flyers’ first goal against the Devils. “I love that we stick with it, no matter what was going on out there. We just battled to the end. There’s a lot of good things to take.”
There were other bright spots, including the aggressive play of Joel Farabee and the improvement of Lukas Sedlak. Six weeks ago, Sedlak was claimed off waivers from the Avalanche. He has five points in his last four games and scored the Flyers’ second goal against New Jersey.
In the end, the struggling Flyers came up a bit short because of a few costly turnovers and mental miscues.
“I think we’ve had quite a few of those games where we’ve played very well (and lost),” defenseman Nick Seeler said. “There’s just a couple shifts here and there that have cost us.”
The Avalanche will look to rebound following a disappointing 5-1 loss on the road against the Boston Bruins on Saturday.
Andrew Cogliano scored the lone goal for Colorado, whose goaltender Pavel Francouz made 35 saves.
Artturi Lehkonen came away with an upper body injury and didn’t return after the first period. His status remains unclear moving forward.
Like the Flyers, the Avalanche are also dealing with a litany of injuries.
“It starts with us at the top,” Avs defenseman Cale Makar said. “Individuals like myself, guys at the top, we need to hold ourselves to a better standard and not allow the trickle-down effect.”
The Avs still have managed to scratch out victories, going 13-8-1 overall and 8-5-0 on the road. But the intimidation factor that has come from being defending champions has faded.
“We have to be mentally tough,” Colorado head coach Jared Bednar said. “We still have the ability to win hockey games, although the margin for error is shrinking. You feel like at times you have to be almost perfect in order to win.”
Colorado has been without Valeri Nichushkin, Evan Rodrigues, Darren Helm and Gabriel Landeskog, among others.
“In-game, you have a guy that goes down, obviously a really key piece for us right now in Lehky, and it’s unfortunate,” Makar said. “We just have to find a way. Whether it’s simplifying things, rotating guys in and out. For us, it’s unfortunate, but we can’t get down on ourselves because guys keep going down.”
–Field Level Media