Another slow start costs Flyers momentum

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Shayne Gostisbehere (left) and Colorado’s Nikita Zadorov get their sticks up during the first period of the Flyers’ 5-4 overtime loss Saturday.

So much for the Flyers carrying momentum from their grittiest win of the season into their next game.

Their 5-4 shootout loss to visiting Colorado on Saturday showed that this is a young team going through growing pains, a team that has a penchant for facing early deficits that force it to chase the game.

The Flyers allowed the first goal, and have now won just one of eight games (1-5-2) when that happens.

Two nights earlier, they were shorthanded because of injuries and played with four first-year defensemen. Yet, they emerged with a stunning  2-0 win against a St. Louis team that was tied for the most points in the NHL and had not lost at home.

But on Saturday, despite having high-scoring defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere back in the lineup after a three-game absence, they were outlasted by Colorado, which had lost its previous three road games by a combined score of 14-2.

“We played a good game, just a couple of bad bounces turned into goals,” defenseman Ivan Provorov said.

Colorado, a much-improved team from last season, scored one of its goals on a deflection off Provorov’s skate. Another Avs goal was scored after it caromed off the stick of Flyers rookie defenseman Robert Hagg.

The Flyers finished a hectic stretch in which they played seven games in 12 nights (and four in six nights), and they don’t play again until Thursday against visiting Chicago.

“I think it will be good for us,” Provorov said of the mini-break. “Get some rest. We’ve been playing a lot of games in a short amount of time. Get some rest and work on a bunch of things in practice and we will get better.”

They may also get injured players Nolan Patrick and Radko Gudas back in the lineup against the up-and-down Blackhawks.

The Flyers will be trying to avenge last Wednesday’s 3-0 loss (with an empty-net goal) in Chicago. The Flyers fired 35 shots — many of them high-quality chances — but goalie Corey Crawford was the difference.

“We just need to stay with what we’re doing,” winger Travis Konecny said. “We’re playing good hockey. The games are going to  start turning in our favor.”

The Flyers are 7-6-2. After 15 games last season, they were 6-7-2.

They have won just two of seven games (2-3-2) since Andrew MacDonald, a veteran who stabilized the young defense, was sidelined with a leg injury. The Flyers hope he can return in about two weeks.

Breakaways. Gostisbehere returned from a head injury and played 26 minutes, 28 seconds. He led the Flyers with 11 shot attempts: four on goal, three that were blocked, and four that missed. Gostisbehere also committed a third-period turnover that led to an Avs goal. … Sean Couturier and Jake Voracek entered Sunday tied for fourth in the NHL with 18 points apiece. Voracek was second in the league with 15 assists. … As expected, 29-year-old defenseman Will O’Neill was sent back to the Phantoms. Drafted 11 years ago by the old Atlanta Thrashers, he made a solid NHL debut in the upset win in St. Louis.