Flyers survive the Avalanche, hold on for 4-3 victory

Image courtesy Amy Irvin - 38Photography

Image courtesy Amy Irvin – 38Photography

Claude Giroux’s second power play goal with 3:38 remaining in the second period would prove to be the game winner, as the Flyers held on to beat the Avalanche 4-3.

Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn also scored for the Flyers while Jakub Voracek contributed three assists. Simmonds was also credited with an assist, as were Matt Read, Nick Schultz and Vincent Lecavalier. Steve Mason, behind a strong defense, stopped 36-39 Colorado shots. Philadelphia has now won three straight, and five in a row at home.

Max Talbot recorded a goal and an assist for Colorado, as Alex Tanguay and Zach Redmond also scored for the Avalanche. Tyson Barrie and Dennis Everberg were both credited with assists on Tanguay’s sixth of the season. Colorado netminder Reto Berra was under duress for most of the night, stopping 23 of Philadelphia’s 27 shots.

The first period featured plenty of action, but little results, until less than one minute remaining.

With just 53 seconds left in the period, Luke Schenn was skating back to record an icing call as Colorado’s Nathan McKinnon crosschecked him. Schenn hit the boards, shoulder first, and would end up not returning. McKinnon would be given a five-minute major. The Captain would make sure that Schenn’s injury would not be capitalized on.

“I’m not a fan of from behind, at all,” Head coach Craig Berube said. “Never have been, never will be. It’s a dangerous hit.”

With just 2.9 seconds remaining in the first period, Giroux would fire a wrist shot towards the top shelf of the far corner to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. On the goal, Giroux looked off Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson, and beat Berra with the perfect shot.

The Flyers would come out to start the second period with 4:08 remaining on McKinnon’s five-minute major and would once again find twine, this time with Simmonds being the goal scorer.

Simmonds, set up in his “office” below the crease, took a pass from Giroux, skated to the side of the net and fired the puck passed Berra for a 2-0 nothing Flyer lead, as they scored twice on the power play.

The second period would be an even more eventful period for the Flyers, specifically Brayden Schenn. After news came down that Luke Schenn would not return, baby brother Brayden took offense, and soon potted his fourth goal of the season on a pass from Read.

Just under three minutes later, Schenn would drop his gloves with Jerome Iginla to fight for his brother’s honor. Luke’s honor would not be upheld, as Iginla pounded on Schenn. Despite the beat down, Schenn would be an assist away from the infamous Gordie Howe hat trick.

The Flyers would tack on one more goal, Giroux’s second power play goal, on an accidental give-and-go play by the Captain and Lecavalier. To no one’s surprise, Voracek also got credited for his third assist of the game.

The third period became a struggle for the Flyers, as the Avalanche mounted a comeback that began on the stick of former Flyer Max Talbot. As Nicklas Grossmann attempted to clear the zone from the corner, he gave the puck up to Talbot, who was stationed at the left circle, as he blasted a shot that beat Mason.

That would be Talbot’s first goal of the season, unassisted, at 2:29 of the third.

Colorado would score again at the 6:46 mark of the period, as Alex Tanguay took a pass from Tyson Barrie and beat Mason, to bring Colorado within two goals.

The game would become too close for comfort, as old/new nemesis Talbot would find defenseman Zach Redmond with 8:22 remaining to bring the goal deficit to just one. Flyers coach Craig Berube quickly called time out to ream out his team for a lackadaisical third period.

“Basically during the time out I said, ‘listen, you got to start playing,'” Berube stated on the teams play during the third period. “It’s nothing more than that. I can’t sit here and draw up a play for you guys to get out of it. Just play. It’s not even that they stopped playing. It’s an attack mentality. You stop skating, that’s the biggest thing. Skate and work, no matter what the score is. And it gets you out of trouble, it keeps you in the game.”

Colorado head coach Patrick Roy would pull out all the stops for the Avalanche, as he pulled his goaltender with 2:49 remaining as his team would get a power play opportunity. Colorado held the zone for most of the power play, as they outmanned the Flyers 6-on-4. Somehow, the Flyers prevailed, as Mason came out with key stops over and over again and Nicklas Grossmann laid out to block a shot as the final seconds ticked off the close.

“Great kill at the end there,” Berube said regarding the penalty kill. “Power play was excellent, but the penalty kill was really really good tonight.”

The Flyers would hold on for the victory, marking their fifth straight win at home, while giving their collective fan base the closest thing to a heart attack without having one.

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