Pavelski, Sharks Sink Flyers, 7-3

Published on February 28th, 2014

By Anthony Mingioni

PHILADELPHIA-If there was a scenario that the Philadelphia Flyers imagined coming out of the Olympic break, the results they saw Thursday night against the San Jose Sharks were the stuff of nightmares.

The Flyers were eviscerated by one of their worst single period performances this season. They gave up five goals (and a hat trick to San Jose’s top goal scorer Joe Pavelski) in the second period, leading to a resounding 7-3 defeat at the Wells Fargo Center.

Chief concern for the Flyers was the play of their defense in front of goaltender Steve Mason. After playing a fairly tight game in the opening frame, the wheels came off pretty quickly. Crease clearing presence was severely lacking in the final two periods and the Sharks were able to set up in front of Mason with relative ease.

“I think (we’re) pretty disgusted with the way we played,” Mason said. “We had a full week of practice to make sure that we were ready for this.  I thought our effort was pretty crappy overall.”

Flyers’ forward Scott Hartnell, who was a minus three and had three minor penalties in the game, concurred.

“It wasn’t our best game obviously for 60 minutes,” Hartnell said. “We lost a lot of battles the last two-thirds of the game. There were a couple simple penalties and a couple turnovers that led to odd man rushes. We were also soft in front of our net and that’s what you’re going to get when you don’t play tough, you don’t play strong and you don’t play good defense.”

“It could have been 10-3.”

The Flyers entered the game without the services of defenseman Kimmo Timonen, given a spell to recover from his Olympic sojourn. Mason acknowledged his presence was missed.

“Kimmo’s a calming influence back there.  He’s extremely patient with the puck and makes good decisions. We can’t make excuses; other people have to step up.  But obviously Kimmo is a big part of this team.”

The Sharks drew first blood when forward Raffi Torres got control of a rebound of a Jason Demers pointed that deflected off of forward Andrew Desjardins.

A little over six minutes later the Flyers responded with a pair of goals 22 seconds apart.

Defenseman Andrej Meszaros got a rush into the zone and fired a shot that Sharks goalie Alex Stalock stopped, but overcommitted to the left.  The Slovak followed the rebound and put it behind him.

Center Brayden Schenn put the Flyers ahead with a strange goal as he flipped the puck on his backhand behind the net. The puck deflected off of Demer’s skate and then off Stalock’s.

The period ended with Philadelphia holding a 10-4 shot advantage…the second period would see a dramatic turn events shortly after Michael Raffl took a tripping call that cancelled out a Flyers power play off of a Dan Boyle hooking call.

Off the ensuing action as time elapsed into the Sharks power play, center Patrick Marleau crept into the circle and fired a shot that rebounded to Pavelski who parked it past Mason to tie the game at two.

At that point, the Flyers skating stride seemed to slow and the Sharks began to up their offensive zone pressure.

Just under six minutes later, the Sharks put the Flyers in their rear view mirror with their own rapid fire two goal sequence.

Defenseman Marc Eduoard Vlasic, as he done several times during the game, fired a rising shot that was tipped home by Pavelski’s perfect deflection. It was a goal that Mason had little chance of stopping.

25 seconds later, Demers fired a point blast that Logan Couture corralled and parked behind Mason. The Flyers goaltender was pulled from the game and replaced by Ray Emery.

Pavelski completed his hat trick after he got to the front of the net, handled a shot by defenseman Matt Irwin and wrapped it around Emery into the lower right corner of the net.

San Jose applied further salt to the Flyers’ wounds when the Sharks grind line outworked the home team down low. Torres crashed the net and scored his second of the game (and of the season) to set the score at 6-2 to conclude the second.

The Sharks’ lead spread to five goals on Couture’s shorthanded goal at 4:50 of the third period.

Emery came out of the game shortly afterwards due to an apparent injury.

The shell shocked Flyers set the final score when Matt Read scored on an offensive zone rush and a precise cross ice feed from Sean Couturier.

What lessons can be learned from a game like this?

“I think we’ve got to stick with the plan,” captain Claude Giroux said. “When we get hot it’s because we stick to the plan. We do what we have to do; we do our job, not the other guy’s job. It’s a real tough one tonight.”

“I thought our first period was okay, considering the layoff and everything,” Berube said.” It seemed like after they got a couple goals in the second period , we stopped competing.

“This team’s got a lot of character. I expect a big game against the Rangers, I really do. They’re embarrassed; we’re all embarrassed tonight.”

Source:  Andrew King

Source: Andrew King

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