Flyers Come Back, Beat Sharks
It took a "step-in-the-right direction" second period leading to three third period goals, but all ended well in the final leg of a California road trip as the Phialdelphia Flyers defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-2 in comeback fashion.
Four third period goals scored by Matt Read, Michael Raffl, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek led yet another third period comeback on the road. That mindset broke through on the Flyers' last extended western road trip, and it continued with this trip as well.
According to Flyers insider Anthony San Fillippo, they set a franchise record by winning their tenth game when previously trailing in the third period.
"I thought we did a really good job without the puck tonight," head coach Craig Berube said. "Playing the team like the Sharks, they have a lot of high-powered guys."
Berube continued by saying he was thrilled with his team's overall effort across these three games.
When San Jose last played, they ran into a historic brick wall named Ben Scrivens. Perhaps with doubt creeping in, offensive confidence could have stayed low.
What was worse for them, Mark Streit started the night well for the Flyers, slamming home a first period power play goal. It was the Flyers' seventh straight game with a power play goal, and the fifth of six road games with a goal up a man.
That goal had originally been credited to Wayne Simmonds, but after notifying Flyers PR, their request to have it reviewed once more gave credit back to Streit.
Matt Nieto changed that trend. First, he took a marvelous feed from Tommy Wingels to to tie it up, and then he took a better pass on a power move from Brett Burns, cutting through the crease and sliding the puck past Steve Mason.
It seemed like more of an observational second period from the Sharks, choosing not to press the issue offensively up by taking any risks. In fact, they only took five shots. However, all it took was outchancing San Jose 10-6 in the second period to get back on the right track.
"We just came into the locker room after the second, and we just said play simple, keep it simple," Matt Read said. "[In the] first couple minutes of the third period, we got a goal, and we played on our toes."
Read started the comeback by taking a great area pass from Steve Downie, firing a shot over Niemi. Raffl collected an Erik Gustafsson shot's rebound and scored just one minute and eighteen seconds later. Just minutes of game time before, Gustafsson missed a wide open opportunity towards the end of the second period.
Just over a minute later, Giroux powered home a wrist shot off the rush to take a two-goal lead. The Flyers' captain continues to be scorching hot, scoring eight points in his last five games.
That led to pulling Antti Niemi in favor of backup Alex Stalock. At that point, suffociating defense along with key saves by Mason proceeded to seal up business previously left unfinished. The Flyers' PK might have allowed a goal on the first power play opportunity, but held the Sharks empty on four other opportunities.
That, and a late Voracek goal on a cross-ice feed from Giroux helped too.
"We played very well today," Voracek said. "I think we deserved to win today."
By winning this game, a 2-1-0 road trip against the league's best gave the Flyers the opportunity to leap over the Devils, who had lost a heartbreaking 2-1 decision to Colorado earlier that evening.
Said heartbreakers are next on the schedule. 25 games remain, and 16 of them will be on Wells Fargo Center ice. In essence, they find themselves within striking distance of Columbus, who had defeated Anaheim earlier in the night.