The Flyers’ “close but no cigar’’ tour across the United States continued on Tuesday night with yet another narrow loss, this time in Colorado.
After taking a 1-0 lead in the first period, the Flyers continued to hold their own against the defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche early in the middle 20 minutes.
But the Flyers began to run out of gas at Denver’s mile-high Ball Arena and slowly gave ground, eventually dropping a 3-2 decision.
The Flyers will take a record of 0-1-2 into the final game of their four-game road trip in New Jersey on Thursday night. They are winless in 16 of their last 18 games.
Down by a 3-1 margin with 4:01 to play, the Flyers pulled their goaltender for a sixth attacker and got a goal from James van Riemsdyk with 3:38 on the clock to make it close. But that’s how it ended.
The Flyers did outshoot the Avs and may have had the better of the scoring chances, but once again there were too many times when the Flyers iced (sometimes needlessly) the puck and also lost more than their share of defensive zone faceoffs.
“I think in the second period we iced the puck a lot,’’ coach John Tortorella said. “We turned the puck over for the first 10, 12 minutes of that period. I thought we got back in it in the second half of the second and in the third (when the Flyers piled up a 16-6 edge in shots).”
Cam York, the former first-round draft pick just called up from Lehigh Valley at the start of the trip, provided the early edge when he followed up his own shot with a second try past Pavel Francouz for a score at 12:52.
In the second period, York pretty much gave that one back.
With the teams tied 1-1 and the Flyers on a power play, York watched a puck skip past him at the point. Artturi Lehkonen outraced York to the puck, rushed in and sent a five-hole shot past goaltender Felix Sandstrom at 15:04.
Still, York has been impressive in these first few debut games.
“It (the goal) felt good,’’ he said. “My confidence has been high. I think that goal definitely helps. Hopefully it continues to help my game.’’
Previously, Colorado tied the score at 9:25. Ivan Provorov got caught deep on an ill-advised pinch. The Avs started an odd-man rush and Devon Toews dropped in a short shot at 9:25.
In the third period, J.T. Compher scored at 11:33 to give Colorado a two-goal lead.
Kevin Hayes sounded more than a bit frustrated by the Flyers’ third straight one-goal setback.
“We’re at our best when we get pucks behind their defense,’’ he said. “We didn’t do that (for the whole game), so our puck management wasn’t great. I thought we had a pretty good third (period) but not enough to win.’’
Hayes has been impressed by what he’s seen from York.
“He’s been great, he’s a great hockey player,’’ Hayes said. “He’s been showing that these last couple games. Kudos to him. He’s great on the power play.’’
>DeAngelo remains out
Defenseman Tony DeAngelo was out of the lineup for a third straight game as he tends to a family matter. . .Zack MacEwen, who suffered a lower-body injury in Sunday night’s loss at Arizona, did not play.
Sandstrom’s start ended Carter Hart’s streak of seven consecutive games. . .The Flyers fell to 1-10-0 when trailing after two periods. . .The Flyers and Avalanche split the season series, 1-1. . .Joel Farabee played in his 200th NHL game. . .The Flyers scored first for just the eighth time in 30 games. . .Philadelphia entered the game leading the NHL in hits with 898. . .Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen has played 23 games and has yet to register a point.