SHARKS (6-4-1) at FLYERS (5-2-1)
This is the first of two meetings between the teams this season. The Sharks won both games last season in a rare bi-coastal home-and-home series, one in overtime and one in a shootout. Patrick Marleau
had 2 goals and 2 assists in the second game, a 7-6 shootout win in Philadelphia. In the first game, Dan Boyle
scored the overtime winner.
What kind of offensive fireworks will this game produce? The final scores on last season's two games were 5-4 and 7-6.
With three wins in their last four games and at least four goals in each of the wins, San Jose's offense looks to be picking up steam. Patrick Marleau
had 2 goals and an assist Saturday, and has 8 points in his last four games. The Sharks are third in the Western Conference with 3.46 goals per game.
Any rust from their long layoff earlier in the month appears to be gone thanks to a pair of wins. Danny Briere
seems to have found his scoring touch thanks to a two-goal, three-point night Saturday against Florida. It broke a three-game point drought for Briere. "When you're not on the scoreboard, you start thinking, you start squeezing the stick," he told NHL.com. "A game like (Saturday) came at the right time."
Who's Hot --
Sharks center Joe Thornton
leads the League with 13 assists and has a point in four straight games. Arron Asham suddenly has become a scoring star for the Flyers. The feisty forward, better known for penalty minutes than goals, has found the back of the net in a career-best three straight games.
Injury Report --
The Flyers will be without defenseman Ryan Parent, due to a lower-body injury. Fourth-line center Blair Betts
continues to make progress from a dislocated right shoulder and could return sometime next week. The Sharks are icing a healthy lineup.
Stat Pack --
Devin Setoguchi had 2 goals and an assist in the two games against the Flyers last season, the most he scored against any Eastern Conference opponent. Danny Briere
had 3 goals in the two games against the Sharks, the most he scored against any team last season.
Puck Drop --
Both teams pride themselves in their defensive ability, but that was nowhere to be found in the two meetings last season. In the first game, the Flyers blew third-period leads of 3-2 and 4-3 -- Setoguchi scored with 4:44 remaining to tie the game, and then Boyle won it 1:25 into overtime.
In the second game, it was the Sharks nearly giving away two points. San Jose led 4-3 after a seven-goal first period, and Marleau gave the Sharks a 6-4 lead less than a minute into the third. But Briere made it a one-goal game 13 seconds after Marleau's goal and added a power-play goal with 1:05 left to tie it. Joe Pavelski
and Jeremy Roenick scored the only goals in the shootout to preserve the win for the Sharks.
"You score six goals, that should be enough to win," Flyers coach John Stevens said after the second game.
-- Adam Kimelman, NHL.com