PHILADELPHIA — Kevin Hayes and Joel Farabee scored two goals each and seldom-used reserve goaltender Alex Lyon made 28 saves to earn his first win in nearly two years as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-3 on Saturday night.
Sean Couturier assisted on three of the Flyers goals, including when he capitalized on a sloppy Colorado turnover eight minutes into the third period, stole a pass, and fed Farabee for a goal that would eventually count as the winner, putting the Flyers up 4-2.
Matt Niskanen and Scott Laughton also scored for Philadelphia.
Nikita Zadorov, Mikko Tantanen, and Andre Burakovsky scored for Colorado.
The furious scoring in the final two periods kept the Wells Fargo Center fans entertained, but the undrafted Lyon was the pleasant surprise of the night for Philadelphia.
Pitted against a potent Avalanche team that entered the game second in the Western Conference in points, the 27-year-old Lyon shouldered the load in a sluggish first period for the home team and persevered through a frantic final two periods. Lyon made critical saves throughout, perhaps none bigger than two in a row along the post against Colorado All-Star Nathan McKinnon, who came into the game with 71 goals since the beginning of last season.
The win was the first for Lyon in 682 days, when the Flyers beat the Rangers 4-3 on March 22, 2018.
The little-used Lyon was called on Saturday night because the Flyers were on the back-end of two games in two nights, following an overtime loss in Pittsburgh on Friday. Lyon, the team’s third-string goalie behind Carter Hart and Brian Elliott, was called up from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in mid-January when Hart went down with an abdominal injury.
Lyon had started just two games since the beginning of last season entering the night.
With 30 games remaining, the Flyers are going to need more performances from unlikely heroes to avoid missing out on the post-season for the second straight season. Although the franchise is in a down period — it has failed to reach the playoffs in four of the previous seven seasons — the Flyers are in danger of finishing outside the playoffs.
The Flyers haven’t missed the playoffs in back-to-back years since 1994, the final of five straight seasons that ended before the post-season.
Philadelphia is currently playing without Hart, a breakout rookie from a year ago who is expected back this month, and also defenceman Shayne Gostisbehere (knee surgery, expected back this month) and former No.2 overall pick Nolan Patrick (migraines, return not imminent).
The game was the first multi-goal game of Farabee’s career. Farabee, the Flyers’ first-round pick in 2018, has seven goals in 42 games this season. … Hayes’ two goals gave him 16 on the season, putting him ahead of his 2017-18 pace, when he had 13 goals through his first 52 games and finished with a career-high 25 goals.
Flyers: At Detroit Red Wings on Monday for their third game in four days.
Avalanche: At Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday for the second game of a five-game trip.
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Ryan Lawrence, The Associated Press