Tuesday, February 04, 2014
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Flyers surge in third to stun Sharks

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[February 04, 2014]  SAN JOSE, Calif.  The Philadelphia Flyers set a club record for third-period comebacks in a most unlikely building.

Scoring three times in a 2:45 span of the early third period, Philadelphia snapped a 13-game losing streak to San Jose, beat the Sharks on the road for the first time since November 1999 and rallied in the third for a franchise-record 10th time this season.

All in all, Monday's 5-2 win was a great way to cap a 2-1 trek through California.

"Good trip," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "I thought the guys battled and played well all three games against good teams, and we got some good results."

Even-strength goals by forwards Matt Reid, Michael Raffl and Claude Giroux were enough to chase San Jose's starting goalie, Antti Niemi, who was both lucky and good during the opening 40 minutes. The Sharks nursed a 2-1 lead to the second intermission, and they were 26-1-2 when entering the third with a lead.

"Even in the second period, we weren't the better team," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We were playing with fire, and it was a matter of time. If we were going to continue that way, we were going to get burned, and we did."


Things quickly fell apart for the hosts early in the final period, and San Jose (35-16-6) lost for the fourth time in 26 games while getting held to 22 shots, a season low at home.

Reid drove wide after Philadelphia won a defensive-zone draw, and his wrister from the far edge of the right circle changed direction after tipping off defenseman Matt Irwin's stick, beating Niemi stick-side at 1:11. Reid's 15th goal of the season tied the game.

Sharks defensemen Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun lost a battle in the corner and watched as Raffl scored from the slot at 2:29 on a juicy rebound after defenseman Erik Gustafsson's shot from the left point.

Giroux scored his 18th goal and chased Niemi in favor of backup goalie Alex Stalock at 3:56 with a shot that was partially screened by Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle.

"We played 60 minutes, and obviously we were down 2-1 for pretty much the whole game," Giroux said. "But we liked the way we played. We had a lot of chances, and when we had a chance in the third, we went for it."

Flyers right winger Jakub Voracek scored his 15th goal at 17:44 for insurance.

"We talked about how were still weren't playing the way we needed to," Boyle said about the locker-room chat before the third. "Obviously, we didn't play well enough to get it done."

Niemi came up big during a second period dominated territorially and in shots by the Flyers, who trailed after 40 minutes despite holding a 19-13 edge in shots.

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"They were pressing hard and forcing us to make plays, and we weren't executing," Irwin said. "That's unacceptable for us. We've got to find a way to move forward. We felt going into the third period with a 2-1 lead it's one of those nights you're just going to grind it out and get those two points."

The Sharks took a one-goal lead into the first intermission, snapping a power-play drought in the process after allowing the game's first goal.

Rookie left winger Matt Nieto atoned for taking an early and costly penalty by tipping a cross-ice feed from right winger Tommy Wingels past Flyers goalie Steve Mason 78 seconds into defenseman Nicklas Grossmann's interference minor.

The power-play strike snapped an 0-for-16 drought by the Sharks over six games.

Nieto struck again at 12:32 at even strength for his first career multi-goal game. Right winger Brent Burns did the heavy lifting, winning a battle in the corner with Giroux, then sending a perfect backhand pass behind two Flyers defenders. Nieto darted around Mason to score low on the forehand.

The visitors broke on top just 38 seconds after Nieto hooked Philadelphia defenseman Braydon Coburn early in the first period. Defenseman Mark Streit's drive from the high slot went through a screen provided by right winger Wayne Simmonds in front of Niemi at 4:23.

Mason made 20 saves for the win. Niemi stopped 19 of the 23 shots he faced. Stalock stopped four of five shots.

"I think an L.A, reporter referred to coming to California as a 'Bermuda Triangle'," Simmonds said. "But I think we played pretty well and competed all three games. I think taking four points out of six is pretty nice. We'll take that and go back home."


NOTES: The city of Plover, Wis., decreed Feb. 7 as "Joe Pavelski Day" in recognition of the San Jose center's achievements both on and off the ice. Pavelski, who was born in Plover, will be on the U.S. Olympic team. ... The Flyers concluded a three-game road trip. They host the Calgary Flames on Thursday in their penultimate game before the Olympic break. The Sharks host the Dallas Stars on Thursday in the third of four straight at home. ... Rookie D Matt Tennyson was promoted from AHL Worcester to give San Jose seven players on the blue line, as D Jason Demers missed his second consecutive game with a lower-body injury. ... San Jose RW Tyler Kennedy took warm-ups but was scratched for a third straight game. ... Philadelphia continues to play without D Kimmo Timonen (bruised foot). ... Flyers LW Jay Rosehill and D Hal Gill did not dress.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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