Varlamov, Avalance stone Flyers in Denver
Updated On: Jan 03 2014 12:26:42 AM CST
DENVER -- In a city of legalized marijuana, it was only fitting the Philadelphia Flyers left Denver frustrated and stoned.
Goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves, center Ryan O'Reilly scored the winning goal and the Colorado Avalanche beat the surging Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 on Thursday night.
Left winger Jamie McGinn also scored for the Avalanche, who are winners of two straight.
Right winger Wayne Simmonds scored and goaltender Steve Mason stopped 29 shots for Philadelphia.
The red-hot Flyers came into Denver having won four straight and six of seven. They won the first three of their current six-game road trip but ran into a hot goalie to stop their momentum despite a furious push in the game's final minutes.
"A lot of pucks on net, we were screening goals, peopled driving the net," left winger Scott Hartnell said. "You do that most games you get rewarded. Tonight we got stoned."
Varlamov left most of the Flyers feeling that way. He kept his team in the lead after McGinn's goal midway through the first period with big save after big save.
"Varly once again was outstanding," Colorado coach Patrick Roy said.
Philadelphia stepped up its pressure in the third but couldn't generate many chances. The best came when center Brayden Schenn had a tip in front, but Varlamov made the save.
Hartnell had a great chance later in the period before Mason came off for an extra skater with 1:29 remaining.
"He played well. He played really well," Simmonds said of Varlamov. "I thought we could have done better things as a team but as a whole we played pretty decent. Varlamov was playing pretty well and maybe that crept into our minds. It would have been nice to pick up any points out of that game."
The Avalanche went up 1-0 when Philadelphia center Sean Couturier turned the puck over in the neutral zone. Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson picked it up and carried it into the Flyers zone. He sent a centering pass to center Matt Duchene, and McGinn cleaned up the rebound for his eighth goal of the year and second in as many games.
"We didn't give them much in the first period and we scored," Roy said. "They had nine shots, six on their power play."
The Flyers had a great chance to tie it on the power play when right winger Steve Downie broke in alone on Varlamov, but the goalie made the save.
"Downie almost got me with the backhand," Varlamov said. "He has great skill. I was lucky on that one."
Downie had another chance on a power play early in the second, but Varlamov stopped him on the doorstep to keep it a one-goal lead.
The Avalanche struck again when O'Reilly's shot went off Mason and over the goalie's shoulder to give Colorado a 2-0 lead midway through the second. It was O'Reilly's 14th of the season.
"It hit me on the top of the right pad, I just bent down and it went over," Mason said. "Pretty crappy break."
The Flyers finally broke through later in the period on Simmons' 13th goal of the season.
The Flyers lost left winger Michael Raffl to a concussion early in the second when he took a hit from left winger Gabriel Landeskog early in the second.
"I didn't think it was a penalty," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "He's against the glass, he hit him, it's tough play. I didn't think it was a dirty hit at all."
Berube said Raffl won't play Saturday in Phoenix.
NOTES: Colorado Ds Ryan Wilson and Tyson Barrie were healthy scratches. ... Avalanche C Paul Stastny said he was "thrilled" to be selected to the U.S. Olympic team that will compete in Sochi next month but was disappointed his teammate, D Erik Johnson, was not included. "He's always played well on the big sheet. It's a bummer for him," Stastny said. "I was hoping we'd be able to go together." ... Heading into Thursday's game, Flyers RW Steve Downie needed one assist to reach 100 for his career. ... Colorado LW Gabriel Landeskog carried a four-game points streak (three goals/two assists) into Thursday's game. ... Philadelphia LW Michael Raffl was the only Flyer invited to play in next month's Olympics. He will represent Austria. ... Thursday's game was Colorado's 1,400th since the franchise relocated to Denver in 1995.
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