(San Jose, CA, November 18) – The San Jose Sharks scored three times in each of the first two periods en route to a 6-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night at the HP Pavilion.
The second period was one that the Flyers would like to forget, as they were outscored 3-0 and also lost defenseman Alexandre Picard.
San Jose led 3-1 after the first, when just 1:36 into the second period Picard had to be helped off of the ice after a hit from Mark Bell in the corner. Picard did not return due to an upper body injury.
The Sharks increased their lead to 4-1 when Kyle McLaren found room above Robert Esche's near shoulder on the power play at 3:52. Ryan Clowe's wrist shot from the high slot five-and-a-half minutes later made it a 5-1 game, while Curtis Brown scored at 12:25. Esche was relieved in net by Antero Niittymaki after surrendering six goals on 18 shots.
"When you get behind in the first period against a team like this it becomes very difficult to come back," said John Stevens. "We turned pucks over when clearly we had possession."
"When we gave them chances with the puck they took it and ran with it and capitalized. We were on our heels immediately because of that," said Mike Knuble.
Philadelphia had its modest two-game winning streak snapped, and finished its road trip with a 2-2 record. The Flyers return home on Monday night to face the Pittsburgh Penguins for the fourth time this season (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet, 610 WIP).
Four of the next five games are at the Wachovia Center.
"At least we showed we can play pretty good hockey. It was two big wins against Anaheim and L.A.," said Peter Forsberg. "Even if it was bad today, we have to build on what we did well against L.A. and Anaheim. It was a step backwards today but at least we showed we can play with the best if we set our minds to it."
The Sharks wasted little time in jumping out to a 2-0 lead. First, a slap shot from the point by Ville Nieminen was tipped in by Patrick Rissmiller at 2:36.
A pretty passing play gave San Jose a two-goal cushion. Milan Michalek left the puck for Joe Thornton inside the blue line, and Thornton's perfect backhanded feed to a cutting Michalek resulted in an easy tap-in just two minutes and 10 seconds after Rissmiller's goal.
The Flyers got one back on the power play. A slap shot by Mike Richards deflected off of the skate of San Jose defenseman Rob Davison to the stick of Geoff Sanderson, and Sanderson had just enough time to get the puck past a diving Vesa Toskala at 8:16.
Sanderson now has seven goals on the year and increased his scoring streak to four games.
Thornton was whistled for boarding R.J. Umberger at 9:10 to put Philadelphia back on the power play, but Mike Grier scored on a shorthanded breakaway after a Forsberg turnover with the Flyers' setting up shop in the Sharks' zone.
"The big turning point was when we turned the puck over on the power play and they came down and scored shorthanded," said Stevens. "Our power play was actually moving the puck well, and we got some good chances at the net, and then we went from going on the power play to giving up a shorthanded goal."
Sami Kapanen played in his 700th game in the NHL, while Randy Robitaille recorded his 400th NHL game.
FLYERS NOTES San Jose was without Jonathan Cheechoo, last season's league leader in goals. … The game was Philadelphia's first at the HP Pavilion since a 0-0 tie on October 16, 2003. … Kyle Calder and Ryan Potulny were the Flyers' scratches for the third consecutive game. … Mike Rathje, who spent the first 11 years of his career in San Jose, made his first trip back since signing with the Flyers in August, 2005.