Flyers surrender 7 goals to Avalanche fresh off Vigneault firing, lose 9th in a row

Erik Johnson had a goal and an assist, and the visiting Colorado Avalanche beat Philadelphia 7-5 on Monday night to hand the Flyers their ninth straight loss just hours after they fired coach Alain Vigneault.

Mike Yeo took over as interim head coach of the Flyers, but they didn’t fare any better following the shakeup.

“I know the guys really cared,” Yeo said. “There were a lot of examples of things we want to do and the way we want to play. We want to be harder to play against, and I thought at times we did that.”

Nazem Kadri, Gabriel Landeskog, Alex Newhook, Cale Makar, Valeri Nichushkin and Tyson Jost also scored for the Avalanche, who had 50 shots on goal.

“I liked our energy level,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “On the offensive side of it, I thought we did some good things.”

Claude Giroux scored twice for Philadelphia, which could tie the club record for consecutive losses Wednesday night at New Jersey. Oskar Lindblom, Cam Atkinson and Scott Laughton also had goals.

Earlier in the day, the Flyers fired Vigneault after he went 147-74-54 in two-plus seasons. Vigneault led the Flyers to the top seed in the Eastern Conference in 2019-20, but they missed the playoffs last season. General manager Chuck Fletcher made the move following Philadelphia’s 7-1 home loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday night.

Fletcher also let go of assistant coach Michel Therrien, who oversaw a power play that entered 30th in the NHL at 13.4 per cent.

All-too-familiar result

Giroux sounded pleased Yeo is going to get a chance to lead a turnaround.

“Mike is a great guy, a guy you want to play for,” said the Flyers captain. “Anytime he talks to us, you can see that players really listen. You want to be involved with a guy like Mike Yeo.”

The Flyers may have worked hard on Monday, but the result was all too familiar.

Giroux’s slap shot from the slot gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead 6:02 in, but the Avalanche zipped past Philadelphia with speed and skill for four straight goals, culminating with Makar’s rush into the Flyers zone past defenceman Ivan Provorov that he finished with a wrister that beat goalie Martin Jones on the glove side.

It looked as if Colorado was on its way to a repeat of Tampa Bay’s lopsided victory Sunday, but the Flyers closed the first period with a pair of goals, on Lindblom’s first in 22 games this season and Giroux’s second of the night on a one-timer on the power play.

The Flyers had gone 17 consecutive games with three goals or fewer before Atkinson’s tally on a one-timer from close range 2:16 into the third pulled Philadelphia to 5-4. Philadelphia last scored more than three goals on Oct. 27.

Kadri restored the two-goal lead with a power-play goal 3 ½ minutes later for his team-leading 31st point.

“We thought they’d come out a little harder with the coaching change,” Johnson said. “Luckily, we were able to keep enough separation.”

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