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Colorado Avalanche misses big chance to gain ground in playoff chase with loss to Philadelphia Flyers

Offensively, the Avalanche has found itself in an untimely slump.

With third-string goalie Andrew Hammond in net Wednesday, the rested Avalanche couldn’t produce more than one goal for the third consecutive game in regulation/overtime and lost ground in the Western Conference playoff race against a team that lost in OT Tuesday at Dallas.

Colorado’s top line of Nathan MacKinnon and wingers Gabe Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen were pointless for the third consecutive game and the Philadelphia Flyers skated off the Pepsi Center surface with a 2-1 victory that enhanced their Eastern Conference playoff chances.

Boxscore

The Avs (90 points) could have leapfrogged St. Louis and Anaheim, both with 91 points, if they had won. Instead, they remain out of the playoff picture with just five games to play.

“Everybody goes through spurts where you don’t score as much as you’d like to,” Avs right winger Blake Comeau said. “When that happens you have to buckle down defensively. We held them to two (goals) and had a lot of great looks. We just couldn’t get that second one. Just got to get ready for the next game.”

Indeed, Hammond (31 saves) wasn’t to blame. He blanked the Flyers in the second and third periods. But Colorado’s power play was 0-of-3 and didn’t look dangerous at all.

“Generally, we’ve counted on our power play to get at least one a night, so there’s one we’re missing in the last couple games. Power play wasn’t great again tonight,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “Too deliberate, too slow with the puck. Not moving enough with it and letting the puck do the work. Little bit too slow for me. Doesn’t have enough attack mentality right now.”

Starting goalie Semyon Varlamov was ill, the Avs said, and Jonathan Bernier missed his third consecutive game with an infected cut on his left hand. Rookie Spencer Martin backed up Hammond, who traveled from San Antonio on Wednesday and did not participate in the morning skate.

“I didn’t feel like I was behind the 8-ball or anything coming in here,” said Hammond, who was acquired Nov. 5 from Ottawa in the Matt Duchene three-team deal that netted Colorado seven pieces, including prospects and draft picks from the Senators and Nashville Predators. “It’s (like) a bus in the American League or a preseason game in the NHL when you fly the day of the game — so I didn’t think it was too tall of a task to ask of me. It’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t get the win.”

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