DENVER — Michal Neuvirth’s return from a lower-body injury was a successful but short-lived one for the Flyers.
Neuvirth made 10 saves on 11 shots before leaving in the second period with an undisclosed injury. Neuvirth, who was making his first start since Feb. 18, stayed in long enough to get the win but was replaced by Petr Mrazek midway through the Flyers’ 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.
Mrazek made 17 saves as the Flyers ended a two-game losing streak. Meanwhile, Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol did not have an update on Neuvirth postgame.
Claude Giroux scored a goal to extend his point streak to six games and Ivan Provorov had a goal and an assist for the Flyers (39-25-14), who moved a point ahead of the Blue Jackets for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Flyers are also knotted with the Penguins at 92 points. Both Pittsburgh and Columbus have played one less game.
The Flyers took advantage of Colorado’s goaltending issues to secure the win. Semyon Varlamov, the No. 1 goalie, was out sick and his backup, Jonathan Bernier, was unavailable because of an infection from a cut on his left hand.
Andrew Hammond, who was acquired from Ottawa in the Matt Duchene deal in November, was called up from the American Hockey League and looked shaky at the start in his Colorado debut before settling in to make 31 saves.
Giroux victimized Hammond with a one-timer off a diagonal pass from Shayne Gostisbehere 10:24 into the game, and defenseman Provorov’s blast from the point at 18:12 made it 2-0.
Matt Nieto’s goal at 5:36 of the second made it close but the Flyers held on.
• Center Valtteri Filppula missed his first game this season. Filppula was banged up in Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime loss at Dallas and was ruled out after the warmup. Right winger Dale Weise took Filppula’s spot in the lineup and played on the fourth line with Jori Lehtera and Matt Read.
• Giroux tied his career high with 93 points (27 goals, 66 assists) and is seven points shy of becoming the first Flyers player to reach 100 points since Eric Lindros did it in 1995-96. He has eight goals and 19 assists in his last 20 games.
Oh no big deal, it's just Giroux tying his career high in points 😎 pic.twitter.com/zWA9FN92ti— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 29, 2018
• Neuvirth was sharp before he left. He made a save on J.T. Compher’s point-blank chance just 1:47 into the game, and then robbed Blake Comeau with a pad save later in the first. His best save came 20 seconds after Colorado made it 2-1. A deflected puck gave Mikko Rantanen an open side of the net but Neuvirth slid over to make another pad save.
Mrazek came on soon after and emergency goaltender Nick Barnett was in the wings if needed.
Alex Lyon, who was assigned to the Phantoms of the AHL, will likely return to the Flyers if Neuvirth’s injury keeps him out.
• The Flyers survived a late flurry by Colorado, which included nearly two straight minutes of offensive zone time for the Avalanche. Hammond came off for an extra skater with about 1:25 left but couldn’t tie it.