SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The last extended road trip of the season ended for the Flyers on Monday night with them picking up a crucial two points on the second-best team in the Pacific Division.
A three-goal outburst saw the Flyers stun the Sharks, 5-2 at SAP Center, giving Craig Berube’s club a 2-1 record (four points) on their three-game, six-day West Coast trip.
It was the Flyers' first victory in Northern California since Nov. 5, 1999, back in the Lindros Era.
Trailing 2-1 when the third period began, the Flyers scored three times on goalie Antti Niemi in 2:45 to chase him for backup Alex Stalock.
The third-period comeback victory was the Flyers' 10th such win this season, establishing a new franchise record.
The Flyers had a very strong second period against Niemi and simply could not find the net, even though they led in shots at intermission, 19-13.
When the third period began, however, they made the most of their chances. First, Matt Read scored off right wing at 1:11 to tie the game at 2-2.
Then rookie Michael Raffl buried a rebound off an Erik Gustafsson point shot to give the Flyers their first lead since the opening period at 2:29.
Sixteen seconds later, Claude Giroux ripped one from the left circle for his 18th goal, making it 4-2. That’s when Sharks coach Todd McLellan yanked Niemi.
San Jose was 26-1-2 when leading after two periods until this game.
Because Columbus defeated Anaheim, 4-2, the Flyers remained fourth in the Metropolitan Division.
Both teams have 62 points, but the Blue Jackets have played one less game (56).
Tyler Kennedy took warmups for San Jose and was expected to play, but missed his third game with a lower-body injury.
San Jose had a nine-game win streak against the Flyers coming into the game.
The Flyers struck it rich early with a power-play goal at 4:23 of the first period. Mark Streit sent a blistering point shot down the center of the ice. It happened so fast, Niemi never flinched a muscle, never saw the shot. Wayne Simmonds was originally credited with a tip, but he went to officials and told them to review it because he didn’t think he touched it. He was right. Streit had gone 12 games without a goal.
Nick Grossmann’s interference call gave the Sharks a power play almost immediately after the Flyers scored. Despite the Flyers’ PK units clearing the puck three times, Matt Nieto blew past Luke Schenn down the line and banged home a hard-timing pass from Tommy Wingels at 7:33 to tie it, 1-1.
Berube talked at the morning skate about San Jose’s speed and it was a factor, too. Nieto came into the game with four goals but scored his second at 12:32 of the first period to give the Sharks their first lead, 2-1. He eluded Grossmann and Braydon Coburn in the slot on an over-commitment, got a pass from Brent Burns, put on two moves and slid it under Steve Mason. No Flyer D-man could handle his quickness. The Flyers' defense is very slow when moving laterally and that’s what the Sharks did to them.
The Flyers had some very good chances in the first period by Scott Hartnell, Giroux and Matt Read but Niemi came up strong with 11 saves. Hartnell had a terrific rebound opportunity late in the second period, but had to rush his shot from a tough angle before Niemi could get back and ended up shooting wide.
Gustafsson wishes he had that one back after blowing an open net in the final five minutes of the second period off the rush from the left circle.
Jakub Voracek’s goal late in the game was his first in eight games. He has 15 goals.
Giroux had his third game with three or more points in his career.
The Flyers were 1 for 2 on the power play. The Sharks were 1 for 5.
Joe Thornton’s assist on Nieto’s second goal was his 550th as a Shark.
Through two periods, the Sharks won 56 percent of the draws.
Defenseman Kimmo Timonen (left foot); Forward Jay Rosehill and defenseman Hal Gill were healthy scratches. Gill has sat 21 consecutive games.