Steve Downie is stopped on a breakaway by Semyon Varlamov. The Avalanche snapped the Flyers four-game winning streak with a 2-1 win. (Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com)
The road tour divided evenly between the last week of 2013 and the first week of 2014 was going to feature some challenges. One such challenge for the Philadelphia Flyers involved a team that started the season with a very healthy winning streak.
The Colorado Avalanche, third in the Central Division, continued a solid first campaign under Patrick Roy by shutting down the Flyers offense. A team that had scored with ease and made it a habit of finding a way to win in the first half of the road trip opened the second half by seeing a winning streak end.
With the help of Semyon Varlamov and a stifling defense, the Avalanche managed to snap the Flyers four-game winning streak with a 2-1 win at Pepsi Center in Denver, Co.
This was a battle in every sense of the word. There was chippy play along the boards, hard neutral-zone scrums and puck battles along the endboards.
A turnover helped the Avalanche open the scoring. Sean Couturier lost the puck in the neutral zone giving the Avalanche numbers. A shot by Matt Duchene was stopped by Steve Mason but a rebound went right to the stick of Jamie McGinn who scored to give Colorado the early lead.
Midway through the second, the Flyers let another defensive lapse cost them. With the defense caught pinching, a chance for Colorado resulted in a goal as Ryan O'Reilly took a shot that hit Mason and rolled into the net, giving the Avalanche a 2-0 lead.
At 13:48, the Flyers finally managed to beat Varlamov on a deflection. Andrej Meszaros fired a shot from the left point that was tipped by Wayne Simmonds. It was his 13th goal of the season and seventh in his last five games.
That was all the Flyers could manage as both goalies made stellar saves in the third. The Flyers, limited in shots throughout, managed a few solid chances in the closing moments but were thwarted by a strong defensive effort.
The Flyers also had the misfortune of juggling lines for most of the game. Forward Michael Raffl left the game in the first with a concussion. With Matt Read also out, the Flyers were short a pair of forwards as they bumped Steve Downie, Brayden Schenn and Zac Rinaldo into Raffl's spot on the top line throughout the game.
Next up for the Flyers is the fifth of six games on the road trip. The Flyers are in Glendale, Az. to face the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday.