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The Avs playoff hopes were dealt a blow in a 2-1 loss to the Flyers at Pepsi Center Wednesday night

Posted at 11:26 PM, Mar 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-29 01:26:55-04

DENVER (AP) -- Ivan Provorov had a goal and an assist, Petr Mrazek stopped all 17 shots he faced in relief of starter Michal Neuvirth and the Philadelphia Flyers held off the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Wednesday night.

   Claude Giroux also scored as the Flyers climbed into third place in the Metropolitan Division. They're tied in points (92) with second-place Pittsburgh, with the Penguins currently holding the tiebreaker.

   Philadelphia looked crisp early -- scoring both goals in the first period -- despite losing in overtime at Dallas a night earlier. Neuvirth turned back 10 shots in his first game since suffering a lower-body injury on Feb. 18, but he exited the game midway through the second period for an undisclosed reason.

   Mrazek took over and withstood a flurry of shots in the last few seconds, including one from Gabriel Landeskog where the red light briefly came on after the puck flew by the net.

   Matt Nieto scored for an Avalanche team that's on the outside of the playoff picture with five games remaining. They've lost three of four, including two of those at home where they've been stellar all season. The Avs are 16-4-1 at the Pepsi Center over their last 21 games.

   Andrew Hammond had 31 saves during an emergency start for Semyon Varlamov, who was sidelined by an illness. Varlamov had appeared in 21 straight games for the Avalanche.

   Hammond was called up from San Antonio of the American Hockey League earlier in the day as an insurance policy. It was his first appearance for Colorado after splitting time between the minors and a backup role. He also dealt with what the team called a head injury. Hammond was acquired as part of a three-team trade that sent Matt Duchene to Ottawa in November.

   Nieto cut it to 2-1 by poking the puck past Neuvirth at 5:36 of the second period.

   Colorado pulled Hammond with around 90 seconds left but couldn't score the equalizer despite turning up the pressure.

   Giroux put the Flyers up 1-0 in the first with his 27th goal, and Provorov added another nearly eight minutes later with a blast from the blue line.

   With Provorov's score, the Flyers have 48 goals from their defensemen -- the team's most in a season since the group accounted for 52 in 1992-93.

   Neuvirth was sharp early, stopping a mini-breakaway from J.T. Compher with his left pad moments into the game.

   NOTES: Flyers D Shayne Gostisbehere set up Giroux's goal. Gostisbehere has five assists over his last three games. ... Avs RW Sven Andrighetto missed a third straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Backup G Jonathan Bernier remains sidelined as he deals with a cut on his hand that became infected. He faced some shots during a morning skate Wednesday, but didn't have his stick.


   Flyers: Host Boston on Sunday.

   Avalanche: Face Chicago on Friday before a three-game trip.