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Flyers Extend Winning Streak to Ten, Hang On vs. Colorado 4-3

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Last night in the latest edition of #FlyersAfterDark, the Orange and Black put their nine game winning streak on the line in Colorado against a struggling Avalanche team. It was a back and forth affair with the Flyers controlling the majority of the play, but they still had to come back from a one goal deficit and hold on at the very end to earn the two points for their first ten game winning streak since 1985.

Their wasn’t a lot going on throughout the first period as both goaltenders turned away every shot they saw. Calvin Pickard was the busier of the two goalies, as he saw 12 shots from the Flyers and stopped them all with relative ease. At the other end Steve Mason was up to the task as well although he only saw a measly 5 shots during the 20 minutes.

In the second period the action heated up tremendously. The Flyers struck first as Michael Del Zotto picked up the pick behind the Flyers net and started the ensuing rush. Del Zotto fed the puck to Jake Voracek to carry into the zone who sent a pass to Claude Giroux who miraculously received the puck with his skate and whipped a pass across the ice to a wide open Del Zotto who continued his rush to the net. His first attempt was stopped by Pickard, but he stayed with his own rebound and batted it home once the puck came down to the ice to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead.

Rene Bourque tied things up midway through the period as he wristed home a shot from the slot that beat Steve Mason. Mason seemed to react late to the shot as it may have changed its direction on the way in. Just four minutes later the Flyers found themselves down a goal as Matt Duchene scored his first goal at the Pepsi Center this season. After being pinned in their zone for a long period of time, the puck was kicked out of skates to a wide open Zadarov who blasted a one timer on net. Mason made a great save on the shot but the rebound fell right into Duchene’s lap right in front of the net and the Avalanche led 2-1. Their lead was very short lived as the game was tied up just twenty-three seconds later courtesy of #17, Wayne Simmonds. Radko Gudas received a pass from Travis Konecny and started the rush into the neutral zone, Gudas then slid a slick pass to Simmonds who was streaking up the left wing all alone. Simmonds corralled the bouncing puck in front of home and beat Pickard five hole as the puck trickled into the back of the net for Simmonds’ 16th goal of the season.

It seemed as if the Flyers would be taking a lead into the 3rd period, as Pierre-Edouard Bellemare deflected home a Shayne Gostisbehere shot from the point. Bellemare made contact with the puck with his stick above the crossbar, and therefore it was ruled no goal after the referees looked the play over with Toronto. Soon after that we had a fight on our hands as Jakub Voracek took Gabriel Landeskog to task for a hit on linemate Michael Raffl. The hit by Landeskog may have been a tad late, but it was a clean hit. It was nice to see Voracek stick up for his teammate but it could have been costly if he was given an instigator penalty, which thankfully he avoided. The 2nd period ended in a tie game, with all to play for in the final stanza.

It didn’t take long for the Flyers to regain their lead in the 3rd. Just 3:30 into the period Roman Lyubimov capitalized on a Colorado turnover in their own zone and slapped home a loose puck into the top left corner beating Pickard. It all happened due to an incredible shift by Lyubimov and Chris Vandevelde on the forecheck deep in the Avalanche zone. Once the Avs broke the forecheck and took the puck out from behind their net, Bellemare was right there to cause a turnover and when that happened Lyubimov was there to one time the puck into the net.

Just under two minutes later the lead was up to 2 as Brayden Schenn continued his hot streak of late as he finished an impressive goal in front for his 5th goal in the past 3 games. Schenn took a pass from MacDonald on the right wing in the neutral zone and did the rest himself. Coming in the zone with speed he blew right past Francois Beauchemin and deked out Pickard at the net to slide the puck past his right pad. Schenn turned the 36 year-old into a turnstile at the blue line and you can just tell he’s playing with much more confidence than he has been lately.

With under 5 minutes to go, Duchene potted home his 2nd goal of the night to close the Flyers lead to just one. It was another rebound goal as the puck fell to him as he was unmarked in front of Mason’s goal. The Flyers were in a midst of a change and the Avalanche capitalized on a 3-on-2 opportunity with the defense sitting back. For the final 4:45 the Avalanche threw everything they had at the Flyers net and the final 1:53 was extremely worrying as they had the extra man with Pickard pulled. The Flyers couldn’t clear the zone and Steve Mason had to make some key stops to keep the game from going into overtime. It’s never easy with this team, but that’s just the way we like it.

Flyers 4 Avalanche 3 (19-10-3)

Next Game: Flyers @ Stars 12/17 2:00 p.m. EST

Other Notes:

This is the Flyers first 10 game winning streak since 1985, the year they won 13 consecutive games which is a franchise record.

Wayne Simmonds is on pace for 41 goals this season, with 16 already.

Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Wayne Simmonds are all in the top 10 of the NHL scoring race. Only the Penguins have 3 other players in the top 10.

Flyers prospects Carter Hart (G) and Phillipe Myers (D) have been selected by Team Canada to participate in the World Junior Championship later this month.

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