November 10th, 2015 – Game 15
Wells Fargo Center/Philadelphia, PA
The game got off to the flukiest of all possible starts when Jarome Iginla flung a soft shot at Michal Neuvirth that happened to squeeze in between the goaltender’s skate and the post. This happened within the first minute of play and set the tone of the opening period.
It would be an exaggeration to say the Avalanche were dominant, but they looked strong through the neutral zone (apart from a couple bad turnovers) and led in both possession and shots by a healthy margin at the P1 buzzer. The Flyers were unable to equalize.
Somehow, the second period began almost identical to the first. Thirty seconds into P2, an incredible effort by Nathan MacKinnon led to a nice rebound goal by Matt Duchene. MacKinnon juked past every Flyer on the ice to get the puck in towards Neuvirth and even though he didn’t score it, that goal was 100% on his effort.
Later, a carry-in by Ben Street and an incredible lunging keep-in effort by Nick Holden led to Matt Duchene’s second goal of the night. The Flyers struggled to produce any meaningful scoring chances. There was a ten-minute stretch where Philly didn’t even register a shot.
At one point, newly-acquired Flyers defender Radko Gudas checked Blake Comeau hard at center ice while lining up a hit on Carl Soderberg. Comeau looked hurt and went immediately down the tunnel, but returned to the ice shortly thereafter. From this writer’s POV the hit did not appear dirty, just that Comeau got in the way while attempting a cross. Either way, he appeared to be fine.
The game looked like it might get out of hand for a bit with Gudas and Wayne Simmonds expressing some frustration, but the Avalanche never rose to the bait. The lone goal scored in P3 was on the power-play, a wraparound courtesy of Cody McLeod that sealed the deal for Colorado.
Reto Berra maintained his shutout and the final score was 4-0 to the visitors.
1. Matt Duchene (2G, 1A)
2. Nick Holden (2A)
3. Reto Berra (25-save shutout)
PLAY OF THE GAME
Nathan MacKinnon’s phenomenal shift that led to Matt Duchene’s first P2 goal. Everybody knew MacKinnon would grow up into a true franchise forward, but seeing it in action still surprises and delights.
Matt Duchene’s two goals in slightly over three minutes. The first goal tilted the ice in Colorado’s favor at the period’s opening. The second goal sucked a lot of wind out of Philly’s sails. Though they managed a couple pushes at the very end of the period, they never generated any real momentum.
BY THE NUMBERS
And can we talk about the Avs’ top line of Landeskog-MacKinnon-Duchene?
QUOTE OF THE GAME
“We just got to keep working hard, try and get a little more dirty in the net area, jam in there, keep working harder. We can’t say, ‘we were close, we were close.’ Close isn’t enough.” – Francois Beauchemin, pregame interview
Many were saying that if the Avs couldn’t pull a winning record out of this road trip, major players could be on the trading block. Is this a sign that the team is starting to turn things around or are the Flyers just equally bad? The next few games will set the tone for the 2015-16 season.
The Avalanche continue their road trip and face the Boston Bruins at TD Garden next. Puck drop is at 5:00 pm on Thursday the 12th and the game will air on Altitude.