Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason and Colorado Avalanche netminder Semyon Varlamov starred in a goaltender’s duel Thursday night at the Pepsi Center.
Both goalies made one spectacular save after another. It was a battle of who would blink first. Unfortunately, Steve Mason let in one goal too many. The Flyers lost 2-1. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the orange and black. It was also the first loss for the team on their six-game road trip.
Steve Mason made 30 saves. Wayne Simmond scored the only goal for the Flyers.
The Flyers did not play well for most of this game. They made bad passes and turned over the puck too many times.
Turnovers will come back to bite a team. It is an old axiom in hockey.
With 8:55 left in the first period, Sean Couturier took a cross-ice outlet pass from Vincent Lecavalier. Couturier had trouble controlling the puck, and it drifted away from him. Erik Johnson read the play,scooped up the lose puck and bolted into the Philadelphia zone. Johnson swept a pass to Matt Duchene who redirected it, but Mason made the save. The rebound bounced out to Jamie McGinn who had a wide open net to shoot at for the first goal of the game, his eighth of the season.
The Flyers had a chance to tie the game with a power play but could not convert. Steve Downie had a breakaway opportunity, but Varlamov shut the door.
The second period had a little more action than the first. Ryan O’Reilly scored his 14th goal of the season to put the Avalanche up 2-0. O’Reilly came down on Mason with a sharp angled shot. The puck hit Mason in the shoulder and popped into the air and over the goal line. It was a goal Mason should not have allowed. He attempted to poke check O’Reilly, which prevented him from staying square to the shot. If Mason stands his ground, he likely would have made the save.
The Flyers’ lone goal was a result of good work on the boards by Scott Hartnell. Hartnell muscled his way to some open ice where he found Andrej Meszaros with a cross-ice pass. Meszaros let a wrist shot fly and Simmonds was there to redirect the puck pas Varlamov. The goal was Simmonds’ 13th of the season and his seventh goal in five games.
The Flyers generated numerous chances in the third period, but could not solve Varlamov, who made 28 saves.
Michael Raffl has a concussion. He will be out of the lineup for the next game.
The Flyers have not played all that well against the good teams on this road trip. Mason and Brayden Schenn bailed the team out against Vancouver.
The first goal for the Avalanche was a combination of several items. The first was the turnover by Couturier, who did not play well tonight. The turnover sprung a 3-on-2 for Colorado. Mason made a great first save, but the rebound came to McGinn who was uncontested when he shot the puck. Couturier and Steve Downie stopped skating. Nicklas Grossman could have also attempted to clear the rebound out.
Mark Streit’s pass to spring Downie for a breakaway was beautiful.
I have been a big Hartnell critic this year. While his overall season has been subpar, he deserves credit for his point streak. Well done, Hartsy.
The Flyers don’t return to Philadelphia until January 8 for a game against Montreal. That leaves plenty of time to get your Philadelphia Flyers tickets here.