The Colorado Avalanche are struggling after a hot start lifted them to the top of the Northwest Division. They will try to get back on track as they host the Philadelphia Flyers, who have also hit a rough patch after some outstanding play of late.
In danger of falling out of first place, the Avalanche face the Flyers in the teams’ only meeting this season as both clubs look to avoid a third straight loss.
Colorado (13-7-3) continues to slump, losing 5-2 at Vancouver on Friday to give it 3-6-1 mark in the last 10 games. The Avalanche, one point ahead of Calgary atop the Northwest, have allowed 19 goals in their last three losses.
Colorado blew a 2-0 lead after the first period against the Canucks, giving up four goals in the third.
“We just slept in the third and made key turnovers that led to their goals,” goaltender Craig Anderson(notes) said. “We’ve got to figure out what’s going on, and figure out how to play with the lead. Once we figure out how to play with the lead, we’ll be all right.”
Colorado also blew several leads in a 6-4 loss at Edmonton on Wednesday.
“It’s a mindset right now more than anything,” coach Joe Sacco said. “You can’t sit back in this league, and that’s two games in a row now where we’ve had leads in the third period and we get on our heels.”
The Avs, who completed a three-game road trip, will try to bounce back against a Flyers team that suffered defeats in its last two contests after going 7-1 in its previous eight. Philadelphia (12-7-1) lost 6-3 at San Jose on Friday and 3-1 to Phoenix on Saturday.
“We’ve got to be doing a better of, first of all, staying out of the box,” Flyers forward Scott Hartnell(notes), who scored in the second period against the Coyotes, told the team’s official Web site. “We’ve had too many penalties the last probably five or six games and they’re going to come haunt you sometime.”
The Coyotes converted twice on five power-play chances, as did the Sharks on Friday. Philadelphia allowed 26 power-play opportunities in the last five games.
Killing penalties may have gotten even tougher for the Flyers with the loss of center Blair Betts(notes), who suffered a dislocated right shoulder against Phoenix and is expected to miss at least a month.
The Flyers, 1-2 on a five-game trip, beat the Avs 5-2 in the last meeting Dec. 16 to snap a five-game skid (0-2-3) in the series.