After firing coach, Flyers drop 9th straight, 7-5 to Avs

Sports

Colorado Avalanche’s Nazem Kadri celebrates after scoring a goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Erik Johnson had a goal and an assist, and the Colorado Avalanche beat Philadelphia 7-5 on Monday night to hand the Flyers their ninth straight loss just hours after they fired coach Alain Vigneault.

Mike Yeo took over as interim coach of the Flyers, but they didn’t fare any better following the shakeup.

“I know the guys really cared,” Yeo said. “There were a lot of examples of things we want to do and the way we want to play. We want to be harder to play against, and I thought at times we did that.”

Nazem Kadri, Gabriel Landeskog, Alex Newhook, Cale Makar, Valeri Nichushkin and Tyson Jost also scored for the Avalanche, who had 50 shots on goal.

“I liked our energy level,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “On the offensive side of it, I thought we did some good things.”

Claude Giroux scored twice for Philadelphia, which could tie the club record for consecutive losses Wednesday night at New Jersey. Oskar Lindblom, Cam Atkinson and Scott Laughton also had goals.

Earlier in the day, the Flyers fired Vigneault after he went 147-74-54 in two-plus seasons. Vigneault led the Flyers to the top seed in the Eastern Conference in 2019-20, but they missed the playoffs last season. General manager Chuck Fletcher made the move following Philadelphia’s 7-1 home loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday night.

Fletcher also let go of assistant coach Michel Therrien, who oversaw a power play that entered 30th in the NHL at 13.4%.

Giroux said before the game that the Flyers had no identity.

“We have a lot of things to figure out, a lot of things to work on,” he said. “I doubt that we’re going to solve all of them tonight. But for tonight, go out there tonight in front of our fans, work our butt off and do everything we can to get a win.”

The Flyers may have worked hard, but the result was all too familiar.

Giroux’s slap shot from the slot gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead 6:02 in, but the Avalanche zipped past Philadelphia with speed and skill for four straight goals, culminating with Makar’s rush into the Flyers zone past defenseman Ivan Provorov that he finished with a wrister that beat goalie Martin Jones on the glove side.

It was the 11th goal and 22nd point for the defenseman this season.

“That was unreal,” Johnson said. “Special talent, great goal.”

It looked as if Colorado was on its way to a repeat of Tampa Bay’s lopsided victory Sunday, but the Flyers closed the first period with a pair of goals, on Lindblom’s first in 22 games this season and Giroux’s second of the night on a one-timer on the power play.

Philadelphia entered with just nine goals in 67 chances on the man-advantage before scoring a pair in the high-scoring opening period.

The scoring calmed down in the second, as Colorado got the only tally by Nichushkin 1:42 into the period.

The two-goal margin was plenty for the high-scoring Avalanche, who entered leading the NHL in goals per game at 4.00. Philadelphia has struggled to put the puck in the net all season and entered with 34 fewer goals than the Avalanche in one more game played.

The Flyers had gone 17 consecutive games with three goals or fewer before Atkinson’s tally on a one-timer from close range 2:16 into the third pulled Philadelphia to 5-4. Philadelphia last scored more than three goals on Oct. 27.

Kadri restored the two-goal lead with a power-play goal 3½ minutes later for his team-leading 31st point.

“We thought they’d come out a little harder with the coaching change,” Johnson said. “Luckily, we were able to keep enough separation.”

Justus Annunen, playing in his second career game, made 27 saves for the Avalanche.

CAPTAIN LIKES MIKE

Giroux sounded pleased that Yeo is going to get a chance to lead a turnaround.

“Mike is a great guy, a guy you want to play for,” he said. “Anytime he talks to us, you can see that players really listen. You want to be involved with a guy like Mike Yeo.”

The 48-year-old Yeo has eight years of coaching experience, going 246-181-55 with Minnesota and St. Louis.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Avalanche: D Bown Byram (head) missed his third games in a row. He is day-to-day.

Flyers: Winger Joel Farabee (left shoulder) missed his third straight game. He is week-to-week. … C Derick Brassard (hip) was sidelined for the sixth straight game.

UP NEXT

Avalanche: At the New York Rangers on Wednesday to end a five-game road trip.

Flyers: At the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday.

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