DENVER -- The perfect record on this five-game western road trip is no longer perfect.
The Colorado Avalanche outplayed the Flyers offensively Thursday night at Pepsi Center and came away with a 2-1 victory.
The loss was the Flyers' first in four games on this road trip, as they officially hit the midway point (41 games) of the season.
Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov simply stoned the Flyers -- no pun intended -- at every angle at the net.
He didn’t outplay Flyers goalie Steve Mason, but he was good. Mason was under siege in the third period and gave the Flyers every chance to get a victory.
Just when things were going so well for the Flyers' first line ... a major injury.
Michael Raffl suffered a concussion in the opening period. He had replaced Scott Hartnell on the top line nine games ago.
Raffl’s absence forced coach Craig Berube to rotate Steve Downie, Brayden Schenn and others to the top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.
Matt Read was already sidelined with an upper body injury, so the Flyers were pretty much down two forwards most of this game.
Ryan O’Reilly’s shot near the midpoint of the second period hit Mason’s right pad and bounced up and over his shoulder, giving Colorado a 2-0 lead which seemed like 4-0 given the saves Varlamov was making. It didn't hit Mason's shoulder, although it appeared that way.
Wayne Simmonds halved the deficit four minutes later by redirecting Andrej Meszaros’ wrister from the left circle, setting up a tense final period in which the Flyers made a late push but could not tie the game and simply didn’t put enough shots on net in the last period.
Raffl left the game with a concussion in the final three minutes of the first period after taking a hit from Gabriel Landeskog.
Simmonds has seven goals over the past six games.
Paul Stastny ripped one off the left post in the final second of the second period with the Avs leading, 2-1.
The Avs came into the game 7-0-2 against the Flyers in their previous nine meetings. Since the Avs moved from McNichols Arena to Pepsi Center in 1999, they were 4-2-3 against the Flyers in this building.
One by Sean Couturier resulted in Jamie McGinn’s first-period goal and a 1-0 lead at 11:14. Mason made the initial save on Matt Duchene, but the rebound went directly to McGinn in the slot for an easy goal. Not much of a backcheck there from Couturier, who turned it over in the neutral zone.
Mason had two during the Avs’ first-period power play with a glove save on Ryan O’Reilly and a stop on Landeskog. When the power play ended, he denied Duchene during a turnover in the slot. Varlamov had a quality pad stop on Scott Hartnell early in the second period off an odd-man rush, as well.
Downie had one on Varlamov’s doorstep during the opening shift of the game that was covered up. Downie’s better chance was during a breakaway pass from Mark Streit on the Flyers' late first-period power play. Varlamov made a pad stop on his backhand, much like the pad stop he made on Simmonds in the paint earlier that power play. Varlamov robbed Downie during a second-period power play, as well, inside the paint again.
Couturier had a chance with 3:24 left in the game but Varlamov covered up on a bouncing puck.
He also had a glove stop on Simmonds very late.
The Flyers were 0 for 3 on the power play, while the Avs were 0 for 2.
Berube said at the morning skate that his players had to move on the power play up top and shoot, otherwise their shots will be blocked. Near the midpoint of the third period, Vinny Lecavalier stood at the point and tried to shoot one through the Avs on a key Flyers power play. It was blocked out of the zone.
Forward Matt Read missed the game with an upper body injury; defenseman Erik Gustafsson missed the game with a sprained left knee; defenseman Hal Gill and forward Chris VanderVelde were healthy scratches.
Incredibly, there were rather loud “Let’s Go Flyers” chants. Looking around, there was a very noticeable number of Flyer orange jerseys in the stands, too. ... Avs coach Patrick Roy said he would alternate Paul Stastny and Duchene against Giroux’s line. ... Jamie McGinn is Tye’s older brother.