“We had a lot of pucks on net. We were screening goalies, a couple point-blank chances, people driving the net. When you do that, most games, you’re going to get bounces and get rewarded for your hard work. Tonight we got stoned.”
Scott Hartnell’s words offer a frustratingly accurate summary of the Flyers loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves for the Avs keeping the Flyers to a lone Wayne Simmonds goal. The Flyers ended 2013 in good fashion, taking down a few west coast teams and winning the first 3 games in a 6 game road trip, with win’s over Minnesota, Edmonton and Vancouver in shootouts and wrapping up the year with a 4-1 win in Calgary.
“We had chances when he [Varlamov] was moving east to west. And he was there to make those stops. Sometimes you run into a hot goalie you can’t really do nothing about. We had chances. But the shifts we didn’t play well and turned it over, the puck ended up in our net. We have to play a clean game.” Scott Hartnell continued. This game may have been the most evenly matched goalie battle we’ve seen this season.
Both Mason and Varlamov are 25 years old and have similar statistics on the season.Mason is 16-9-4 with a 2.38 GAA and .922 save percentage and Varlamov is 17-8-4 with a 2.38 GAA and .926 save percentage. With the Flyers deficit only at 1 goal, they had the chance to tie it up in the third on a penalty committed by former Flyer Max Talbot, but they only managed one shot on the power play.
The Colorado goalie also managed to shut down former teammate Steve Downie twice in the night. When asked about facing his former team, Downie didn’t have much to say about it. “I haven’t really put much thought into it,” he said. “My focus has been on trying to help this team win games. It’s just another game to get a win.”
Matt Read sat out on Thursday with coach Craig Berube saying that he wanted to give Read another day to rest after an elbow to the head in the Flyers win over Calgary. The Flyers also lost Michael Raffl in Colorado to a board check by Gabriel Landeskog, the hit was considered clean and there was no penalty called, but Raffl now has a concussion and will be out of Saturday’s game against the Coyotes. Matt Read will return for Saturday’s game, but there isn’t a timetable on Raffl’s return yet.
Hopefully the new year isn’t bringing a losing Flyers team with it, and this road trip can end how it started.