Only the last-place New York Islanders have scored fewer goals this season among Eastern Conference teams than the disappointing Philadelphia Flyers. Now they try to end an eight-game losing streak amid turmoil against the high-flying Colorado Avalanche.
They will be doing so with a new voice behind the bench as the Flyers made a coaching change. Alain Vigneault, who guided the Vancouver Canucks to the 2011 Stanley Cup final before losing to the Boston Bruins in seven games, was fired on Monday morning. He spent five seasons coaching the New York Rangers before landing in Philadelphia in 2019.
The moneyline has already gone from -155 to -200 for Colorado since the news of the Flyers’ coaching change. The total went from 6 to 6½.
Injuries have slowed Colorado in the early part of the season but the NHL playoff odds still list the Avalanche as the Stanley Cup favorite.
Colorado has lost three of its last four road games to fall to 5-5-1 on the road.
Game: Colorado Avalanche (12-7-1) at Philadelphia Flyers (8-10-4)
Location: Wells Fargo Center
Day/Time: Monday, 7 p.m. ET
|Colorado Avalanche||-1½ (+125)||-200||6½ (-105o)|
|Philadelphia Flyers||+1½ (-145)||+170||6½ (-115u)|
Colorado Avalanche at Philadelphia Flyers
Red-hot Kadri Latest Avs Player Sidelined
There might not be a team in the NHL with more star power than the Colorado Avalanche. Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar among the offensive dynamos. However, none of those players have been as productive as Nazem Kadri.
Kadri almost has as many points (30) in the first 20 games as he did in 56 games last season. He is producing more than a point per game for the first time in his NHL career.
After going four straight games without a point in one stretch during October, Kadri had points in 13 of the next 14 games. He has multiple points in seven games with the Avalanche, going 5-1-1 in those contests, while Colorado is 1-4 when he fails to record a point. While many of his high-profile teammates missed time earlier this season, including MacKinnon, who has appeared in just 11 games, Kadri has been the player driving the Colorado attack.
TRAIKOS: More mature Nazem Kadri goes from pest to point producer since leaving Maple Leafs https://t.co/Rmotekrbd7 Via @Michael_Traikos pic.twitter.com/fZzNgnIodo
— Toronto Sun (@TheTorontoSun) December 1, 2021
The only concern about Kadri is his availability. He did not play in the Avalanche’s overtime loss to Ottawa on Saturday and is considered questionable for Monday’s game.
With Kadri missing Saturday’s contest, the only Colorado forwards to play in every game are Logan O’Connor, Tyson Jost and Darren Helm.
Struggling Flyers Can Vigneault
The Philadelphia Flyers finally made the move that was being speculated upon as the losing piled up.
Philadelphia announced that Vigneault and assistant coach Michel Therrien have been fired. Former NHL head coach Mike Yeo will serve as the Flyers’ interim head coach beginning with the game against Colorado.
Yeo coached the Minnesota Wild to three playoff appearances in five seasons and most recently coached the St. Louis Blues for part of the 2016-17 season and all of 2017-18. He posted a 246-181 regular-season record and a 17-22 mark in the playoffs with the Wild and the Blues.
The Flyers were outscored 37-13 during its eight-game losing streak and the final straw was a 7-1 loss at home to reigning Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay on Sunday night. It was the fifth loss at home in the last six games after starting the season 4-0-1.
If there is a silver lining, the Flyers have won six of the last nine home games against Colorado, and the scores and odds total have gone under when Philadelphia has played against teams from the Western Conference.
The bad news is that Joel Farabee (upper-body injury) is out indefinitely as he joins forward Derick Brassard and defenseman Ryan Ellis as key players sidelined for the game.
Will Change Reverse Tailspin?
The Flyers’ recent defensive struggles, which despite some high-profile personnel moves in the offseason, are reminiscent of what kept Philadelphia out of last season’s playoffs. With the way the Colorado Avalanche can score goals, this has a feeling of a game that will go over.
Six of Colorado’s last eight games have gone over the total listed by the Las Vegas odds, including nine of the last 13 games on the road.
This is not exactly the ideal matchup for a new coach to step into. Colorado is coming off a loss and a game when it allowed six goals to an Ottawa team mired in last place in the Atlantic Division, so expect plenty of energy from one of the NHL’s most talented teams.