DENVER (AP)Artturi Lehkonen had a short-handed goal and an assist, Pavel Francouz stopped 26 shots and the banged-up Colorado Avalanche held off the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Devon Toews and J.T. Compher also scored for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who won consecutive games for the first time in nearly a month.
Lehkonen scored a go-ahead goal for Colorado late in the second period when he took a pass off the boards from defenseman Erik Johnson, avoided a diving Flyers defenseman and lined the puck through the pads of Philly goaltender Felix Sandstrom. It was Colorado’s fourth short-handed goal of the season.
”Offense doesn’t come easy against them,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. ”But the second period we got our legs moving a little bit in the offensive zone. … Pretty good resiliency from the group again.”
Cam York and James van Riemsdyk had goals for a Flyers team that dropped to 0-1-2 on their four-game trip. Sandstrom made 22 saves in his first appearance since Nov. 26.
”It’s a good team over there,” said York, who scored his first goal of the season. ”They play fast and have a bunch of skill. It’s tough to contain them sometimes.”
The Flyers certainly made things interesting down the stretch after van Riemsdyk was credited for a goal scored with 3:38 remaining. Philadelphia had several chances to tie it up but couldn’t get anything past Francouz.
”Frankie made some big saves,” Compher said. ”We fought (the chances) off and we were able to get the win.”
The Flyers took a 1-0 lead in the first period when York tipped a loose puck over Francouz. York was skating in his third game of the season after being recalled last week from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League.
Toews tied it at 1 midway through the second period after taking a pass from Compher, skating in and sliding the puck through the pads of Sandstrom.
Soon after, Lehkonen added his eighth goal of the season in his second game back from a lower-body ailment. To think, he slowed up on the play, too. But the puck took a friendly bounce off the boards and all of a sudden he had an unexpected path toward the goal.
”It’s a little bit of bad puck luck for us,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said.
Lehkonen also had a no-look pass down low that set up Compher’s goal to make it 3-1.
”I kind of saw him turn into the slot there, and I made a pass and he had a really good receive on that one,” Lehkonen said. ”He buried it with a great shot.”
With Lehkonen’s return – and that of fellow forward Valeri Nichushkin – the Avalanche are steadily getting healthier. But they’re still missing key pieces such as forwards Nathan MacKinnon, Evan Rodrigues, Gabriel Landeskog and Darren Helm, along with defensemen Bowen Byram and Josh Manson.
”We’ve got to keep finding a way to carve out points and stay in the mix here,” Bednar said. ”Eventually, we should get a look at our team, the way we had it on paper for training camp.”
AROUND THE ICE
Flyers forward Joel Farabee played in his 200th NHL game. He becomes the sixth player from the 2018 draft class to reach that plateau. … The Flyers blocked 20 shots. … The Flyers beat Colorado 5-3 on Dec. 5 in Philly.
Flyers: At New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
Avalanche: Host Buffalo on Thursday night.
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