Flyers pleased with effort but not outcome
Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves on 30 Flyer shots. (AP)
DENVER -- They had the rushes they needed. They had plays that seemed to set the table for them.
What the Flyers didn’t have in the final five minutes of a 2-1 loss to the Avalanche was enough shots.
They had three shots to that point in the period, but would finish with seven more over the final frantic minutes of the game on goalie Semyon Varlamov, who stole points.
That’s the essence of why the Flyers couldn’t keep their western road trip record at a perfect 4-0, incurring their first loss in the five-game swing (see Instant Replay).
“Their defense had good gaps on us all night,” Flyers coach Craig Berube said. “We could have shot the puck more, but I tend to always think that.
“Putting the puck on net from anywhere is a good play if you got people who are supposed to go there. Things happen. If you pass up shots, you pass up goals.”
Sean Couturier was among several players driving hard those final minutes but not finishing with a shot on goal. Something always seemed to stall the rush up ice.
“I know what you’re talking about,” Berube said. “We had some rushes and we kind of pulled up or looking for late guys and it got deflected. Normally, our guys drive and put it on net. You don’t have to shoot it hard. Put it on net. Rebounds come out.”
The Flyers had 30 shots in the game, yet not enough early in the final period. Despite that, they still had quality chances throughout the game on Varlamov.
“We had a lot of chances,” Scott Hartnell said. “He was moving east-west and he was there to make the stops. Sometimes you run into a hot goalie and you can’t do nothing about.
“We fought hard, had lots of chances but the shifts we didn’t play well turned it over and the puck ended up in our net.”
Colorado made an early push in the third period and the Flyers made a late push back, but again, it wasn’t enough.
“We were screening, we had a couple of point-blank chances, people driving the net,” Hartnell said. “Most games, you do that you get bounces or you get rewarded for your hard work. Tonight we got stoned.”
Wayne Simmonds, who had the lone Flyer goal in the second period to make it a 2-1 game, also had a good chance in the final minute from distance.
“We had our chances, we played a good game but we didn’t capitalize on our chances,” Simmonds said. “Ultimately, that’s the game.
“Varlamov played really well. We could have done some better things as a team, but as a whole, we played pretty decent.
“It would have been nice to pick up any points in this game. We have to build on it going into Phoenix.”
Flyers goalie Steve Mason agreed.
“The effort was there,” Mason said. “We had a lot of chances to go ahead. The puck just wasn’t bouncing our way, but not for lack of effort. The guys worked hard to create chances.”
Flyers captain Claude Giroux said he felt winded out there with the thin Denver air by the third period but kept going. The atmosphere here is something the Flyers aren’t used to because they don’t come to Colorado enough.
“We had a lot of chances to tie it up. The effort was there, guys worked really hard and Mase had the saves to keep us in the game,” Giroux said. “Lot of chances with pucks on the goal line.”