|PHI||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|COL||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||5|
The Philadelphia Flyers and Colorado Avalanche each feel they've played well so far this season, but neither has a victory to show for it.
That will change for one of these clubs when the two meet on Thursday night at Pepsi Center
A pair of playoff teams a year ago, the early days of the season haven't been fruitful for two clubs expecting to build off their 2007-08 success.
Philadelphia (0-2-1) bounced back from a disappointing 56-point effort in 2006-07, by posting 95 and reaching the Eastern Conference finals last season. Carrying over that success has stalled, as the Flyers opened with three straight losses for the first time since the labor dispute-shortened 1995 season.
"That's not the place we want to be, that's not the start we want," said Simon Gagne, who has three of Philadelphia's eight goals. "It's not like we played bad three games in a row. But it's a rough league now, and those two points are hard to get."
In earning their first point of the season, Gagne and Jeff Carter scored in the Flyers' 3-2 overtime loss at Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Philadelphia has dropped its three games by a total of four goals.
"It's still only one point," said Flyers captain Mike Richards, who has two goals and one assist through three games. "Good teams find a way to win. We're still looking for two points."
One immediate problem the Flyers must solve is on the power play, where they are 2-for-19.
Antero Niittymaki made 25 saves in his first start on Tuesday after Martin Biron allowed eight goals on 40 shots over the first two games. Biron, though, is 5-3-0 with a 2.49 goals-against average against Colorado.
The Avalanche (0-3-0) - one of two NHL teams without point - has lost each contest by one goal.
Ryan Smyth had a goal and an assist, while Paul Stastny added two assists as Colorado fell 5-4 at Calgary on Thursday. Smyth has 10 points in 15 games versus the Flyers, having recorded an assist in his last four meetings with the team.
"We can't push the panic button or get discouraged," Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said. "In our first two games, we clearly outplayed the teams, and (Tuesday) it seemed like it was going back and forth and both teams were making mistakes and both teams had the heat on them to get this win and we made the last mistake and they were able to capitalize on it."
While Philadelphia is struggling to score on the power play, Colorado is having problems stopping opponents, who are 5-for-12 with the man-advantage through three contests.
After Peter Budaj allowed 13 goals in three games, Andrew Raycroft is expected to make his Colorado debut in this contest. Raycroft signed with the Avalanche as a free agent after spending the last two seasons with Toronto. He is 5-4-0 with a tie and a 2.33 GAA against Philadelphia in his career.
"We want to give him one game a week," Granato told the team's official Web site. "He's coming off a season two years ago where he played a lot of hockey; last year he didn't play a lot of hockey. We want to get him some rhythm."
Colorado has won four in a row against Philadelphia, while each of the last six contests between the clubs have been decided by one goal. Four of the last five have gone to overtime.
|Dec 16 '08||COL 2 at PHI 5||J. Lupul|
|Oct 16 '08||PHI 2 at COL 5||M. Hejduk|