The San Jose Sharks were unable to hold onto a one point lead Monday night at the SAP Center, eventually losing to the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2.
Things started to look hopeful for the Sharks, who have been struggling lately to score goals, after beating the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, but the Sharks were unable to stay ahead of their East Coast opponent.
Flyers outshot Sharks 28-22, which ended up being the difference. “You’ve got to give the other team credit– always,” Assistant Captain Dan Boyle said after the game. “We didn’t do enough.”
The Flyers dominated play for a majority of the second and third periods, scoring four unanswered even strength goals in the third. The first three goals were scored within 2:45 of each other by Matt Read, Michael Raffi, and Claude Giroux. Niemi was then pulled from the game, leaving Alex Stalock to defend the net for the last 16 minutes of the game. Jakub Voracek furthered the lead by getting a wrist shot passed Stalock at 17:44 in the third, ending any chances for the Sharks to tie the game and push it into overtime.
“I didn’t think we played well,” Captain Joe Thornton said of the Sharks’ third period performance. “It’s tough when they get three quick ones like that.”
The Sharks had a one point lead at the end of the first period that they held onto through the second. Both goals came from rookie Matt Nieto in response to Flyers defenseman, Mark Streit, scored a power play goal at 4:23 in the first period.
Nieto also scored on a power play after Matt Irwin cleared the puck up ice, where it was picked up off of the backboards by Tommy Wingels, who got the puck to Nieto. The game was tied at 7:33 in the first. Nieto got his second goal of the night five minutes later with the assists from Brent Burns and Thornton.
Nieto’s fifth and sixth goals of the season weren’t enough to prevent the Sharks fourth regulation loss at home, which ended a 14 year losing streak for the Flyers against the Sharks.
“Even in the first I didn’t think we were as sharp as we needed to be,” Head Coach Todd McLellan explained. “Back to work tomorrow and we better get it the next two.”
The Sharks have two more games at home before the olympic break. They will play the Dallas Stars on Wednesday, and maybe some Western Conference rivals will help ignite a more aggressive and competitive performance from the Sharks.
The last game before the two and a half week break will be against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night, where the Sharks will try to make use of their home team advantage.