Claude Giroux and the Flyers suffered a 7-3 loss to the Sharks on Thursday night. (USA Today Images)
They were trying to take two games from the Sharks for the first time since November 1999.
The Flyers' stretch run -- 23 games in 46 days -- began in earnest Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center, and a season sweep wasn’t in the picture as the Sharks routed the Flyers, 7-3.
All eyes focused on the start and both teams seemed up to speed, but the Sharks seemed to have an added gear in the second period as they scored three unanswered goals quickly to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead.
Starting goalie Steve Mason fought the puck all night and was replaced by Ray Emery at 10:57 in the second period after Logan Couture made it a two-goal lead.
San Jose was extremely aggressive at the net on the attack, scoring a total of five unanswered goals, including one by Raffi Torres with 2.2 ticks left in the period.
Both Torres and Couture returned from long absences and scored twice apiece.
Mason returned to the net in place of Emery with 9:11 left in the game. Matt Read scored soon after for the Flyers.
You might think after a 19-day layoff it would be a sluggish start for both teams, but the skating was good. Naturally, timing and such were off on passes, creating some offsides and icings. San Jose moves the puck quickly around the ice, too, even when not on the power play.
Torres made his season debut for the Sharks coming off an extended injury.
That would be San Jose at 4:25 of the first period when Mason thought he had trapped Jason Demers' point shot. In fact, it was loose to Mason’s right when Torres bounced it over him into the net.
Two quick ones
The Flyers overcame the 1-0 deficit with two goals in 22 seconds.
Andrej Meszaros, who has played well in February, tied it at 10:38, hustling to knock in his own rebound when goalie Alex Stalock failed to handle his shot.
Then Brayden Schenn chased down a puck behind the net and backhanded it into the slot off Demers’ skate for a 2-1 lead at 10:58.
The Sharks tied the game 2-2 at 4:23 of the second period with a power-play goal from Joe Pavelski, who took Patrick Marleau’s pass in the paint, changed hands and scored on Mason. That was Pavelski’s 30th goal, and he got another a few minutes later with a shot from distance that went off Mason’s blocker into the net. His third goal came with less that six minutes left in the second period, making it 5-2.
The Flyers were 0 for 5 on the power play. San Jose was 1 for 5.
The Sharks had a two-on-one rush during an abbreviated Flyers power play in the final 1:36 of the first period, but Logan Couture shot the puck over the net.
The Flyers gave up five goals in the second period. They last did that on Dec. 11 during a 7-2 loss at Chicago.
Defensemen Hal Gill and Kimmo Timonen were healthy scratches, as was forward Jay Rosehill.
The Flyers outshot the Sharks 10-4 in the opening period. ... San Jose outshot the Flyers 16-8 in the decisive second period. ... The Flyers defeated the Sharks, 5-2, in the first game earlier this month on the West Coast. ... After a lengthy review in Toronto on what could have been a hat trick for Couture, the “no-goal” call on the ice stood.