DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche have discovered two-goal leads aren’t enough to get a win, so they grabbed a three-goal edge against Philadelphia on Monday night.
They needed every bit of that cushion. David Jones scored twice, Paul Stastny had a goal and two assists and the Avalanche held off a late Flyers’ rally to win 5-4 and stop a two-game skid.
Colorado led by two goals in both games of its losing streak only to see Edmonton and Vancouver come back to win. It nearly happened Monday when the Flyers scored two goals in the final 8:43 to cut a 5-2 lead to one goal.
“We’ve blown enough two-goal leads to know we need three,” Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson said.
The Avalanche got the three-goal advantage with a strong second period. Cody McLeod, Scott Hannan and Jones scored in the frame to break a 2-2 tie.
“That 5-2 lead was really important,” Jones said. “They never quit.”
The Flyers gathered themselves at the second intermission and came out stronger in the third. Daniel Briere, who had two goals and two assists, scored his 10th goal with 8:43 left and Jeff Carter knocked in a power-play goal, his second of the game, to cut it to one with 4:39 remaining.
“It was gut-check time and we need to answer the bell,” Philadelphia defenceman Chris Pronger said. “The way we played in the third period is the way we have to play each and every period in each and every game.”
Avalanche coach Joe Sacco was happy with his team’s play until the final 10 minutes.
“I thought for 50 minutes we were skating well, we were playing our game,” he said. “We had a power play around the 10-minute mark, and that’s where you have to have that killer instinct and make it 6-2.”
Trailing by a goal, the Flyers kept the pressure on, but Anderson made several saves in the final minutes to preserve the win.
“Defence did a great job and allowed me to see it and able to get pieces of great shots,” said Anderson, who had 30 saves.
Early, it didn’t look as if Colorado would need Anderson’s late-game saves. The Avalanche built an early 2-0 lead against a shaky Ray Emery. Stastny fed Jones in front of the Flyers’ net, and the forward jammed in his own rebound 1:01 into the game to give Colorado a 1-0 advantage.
Just 4:31 later, Stastny took a pass from Kyle Cumisky, skated between Pronger and Braydon Coburn and beat Emery with a slap shot to make it 2-0.
The Flyers tied it with two goals in a little over a minute. Briere scored with 33.5 seconds remaining in the first period and Carter tied it when he scored his eighth goal 29 seconds into the second period.
“They tied it up real quick there in the second period and it was real important for us to come back and get back to our game plan,” Jones said.
McLeod and Hannan scored 3:06 apart to give Colorado a 4-2 lead and chase Emery.
“Going into the game I felt good but obviously if pucks are going into the net, then you know you need to do better,” said Emery, who had 13 saves.
Brian Boucher replaced Emery and Jones greeted him with his 10th goal with 4:44 left in the second. The Avalanche were cruising until Philadelphia’s late rally.
“Once they got the power-play goal we sat back on our heels a little bit,” said Stastny, who leads the Avalanche with 23 points. “When the puck starts bouncing you start chasing, that’s where you get in trouble. Fortunately Andy was back there to bail us out.”
NOTES: Hannan injured his neck late in the second period and did not return. … The Flyers have lost three straight after winning seven of their previous eight games. … Boucher finished with 13 saves. … Avalanche D Adam Foote (jaw) missed his third straight game.