Instant Replay: Flyers 5, Sharks 2


Instant Replay: Flyers 5, Sharks 2


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.

Win streaks
San Jose had a nine-game win streak against the Flyers coming into the game.

California gold
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.

Scoring chances
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.

Open net
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.

Ice breaker
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.

Special teams
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.

Flyers-Canadiens 5 things: Long week starts with a bang

Flyers-Canadiens 5 things: Long week starts with a bang

Flyers at Canadiens
7:30 p.m. on CSN, Pregame Live at 6:30

The Flyers’ mettle will be tested this week with a stretch of five games in seven days.

That’s a lot of pucks.

It starts Monday night when the Flyers (2-2-1) visit the hot-starting Montreal Canadiens (4-0-1) at the Bell Centre.

Let’s get you set with five things to know for the matchup:

1. Goals, goals, goals
There should be an abundance of them Monday night.

The Canadiens are scoring an NHL-most 4.00 goals per game while the Flyers, coming off a six-goal outburst, are third at 3.80.

Montreal has been scary good through five games. Not only are the Canadiens lighting the lamp at a league-best clip, but they’re also allowing the fewest goals per game at 1.60 a night. They have hockey’s No. 1 goal differential (plus-11) and No. 8 penalty kill, having thwarted 23 of 25 opponents' power plays (92.0 percent).

The Canadiens' offseason additions of defenseman Shea Weber and backup goalie Al Montoya have paid instant dividends. Weber, acquired in a blockbuster trade that sent P.K. Subban to the Predators, has one goal, four assists and leads all NHL blueliners with a plus-8 rating. Montoya, who filled in early for a flu-stricken Carey Price, is 2-0-1 with a 1.30 goals-against average and .962 save percentage. Price, the 2014-15 Hart Memorial Trophy winner (NHL MVP), looks in form after playing just 12 games last season because of a knee injury.

2. A fresher Ghost
Shayne Gostisbehere went off for three points (one goal, two assists) in the Flyers’ 6-3 win over the Hurricanes on Saturday, his biggest output of the season.

It just so happened to come in a game in which Gostisbehere registered his lowest ice time of the season at 16:45, a significant drop from his previous low of 20:57. Before the defenseman’s three-point game, Gostisbehere played an average of 23:14 over the prior three games while totaling one point and a minus-3 rating.

Is it a coincidence Gostisbehere’s best game yet was in far less ice time? Maybe, but the 23-year-old is playing the Flyers’ most minutes (21:29 per game) after undergoing offseason surgery and finishing the longest year of his hockey life.

Defensemen Mark Streit (22:45), Nick Schultz (19:44) and Brandon Manning (18:41) all played season highs in minutes on Saturday, and there’s no way that was by mistake.

If head coach Dave Hakstol can manage Gostisbehere’s ice time and not rely so heavily on the second-year blueliner, it can only help the Flyers. A more rested Gostisbehere is a better Gostisbehere — and we all know how vital the 2015-16 Calder Trophy runner-up is to the Flyers’ power-play success, as well as defensive coverage.

3. Stop and start
Speaking of defensive coverage, while the Flyers are scoring quite a bit, they’re not stopping anyone. The orange and black are surrendering 3.80 goals per game — tied for fifth most in the NHL — which is exactly what they score on average.

The Flyers can’t consistently bank on winning goal-fests.

Starting fast will be critical against the Canadiens, who close games as well as anyone. Montreal is outscoring its opposition 17-6 through the second and third periods. The Flyers have just one goal in the first period.

Facing this Habs team, it’ll be problematic if the Flyers fail to get going early.

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: Matt Read, why not? With five goals, the 30-year-old is astoundingly tied for second in the NHL with Maple Leafs phenom Auston Matthews. Last season, it took Read 29 games to score five goals. The previous season, he needed 56 games. This year, just five. Until he comes back to Earth, Read will be worth watching as much as any other Flyer.

Canadiens: The 22-year-old Alex Galchenyuk racked up career highs last season in goals (30) and points (56). To start this season, the 2012 No. 3 overall pick has a goal and four assists in five games. Young and offensive-minded, Galchenyuk has given the Flyers trouble in the past with 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 11 career games against them.

5. This and that
• Steve Mason has played in the Flyers’ last four games with three starts and one relief appearance. Michal Neuvirth has not played since last Tuesday. He is 6-4-2 with a 2.14 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in 13 lifetime games against Montreal.

• Price is 11-9-0 with a 2.61 GAA and .916 save percentage in 21 career games against the Flyers.

• Jakub Voracek leads the Flyers in points with seven but is third in the NHL in penalty minutes with 24.

• The Canadiens have won three straight games by a combined score of 13-4.

• Defenseman Michael Del Zotto (knee) and forward Scott Laughton (knee) returned to practice on Sunday.

Brandon Manning-Ivan Provorov pair to get another shot after strong showing

Brandon Manning-Ivan Provorov pair to get another shot after strong showing

VOORHEES, N.J. – Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol hasn’t had much consistency in his lines early on this season thanks to an array of injuries and suspensions. On the back end, though, the pairings have remained mostly constant through the first five games.

Yet, Hakstol decided to mix things up a bit and put the suddenly productive and confident Brandon Manning with the heralded rookie Ivan Provorov for Saturday’s game with Carolina.

Turns out, that pairing jelled and made an impact in the Flyers' 6-3 victory over the 'Canes.

“I thought they were pretty efficient as a pair,” Hakstol said following Sunday’s practice. “They defended well, they moved pucks out of the zone well and they added to the offense. It was a solid night for that pair.”

Provorov contributed a pair of assists while Manning scored on what Hakstol called “the play of the game," a dazzling goal that saw Manning get 'Canes goalie Eddie Lack down on the ice with a deke and then tuck it home as he skated around the net. Provorov logged 19:36 of ice time with his new partner recording a season-high 18:41.

“I thought we did well as a pairing,” Provorov said. “It was easy, shift after shift, just trying to keep the momentum going.”

The two were together again on Sunday and are expected to team up for their second straight game when the Flyers begin the week with a trip to Montreal to face the Canadiens at the Bell Centre.

In their first outing as defensive partners, it was pretty evident the two worked well together, with both picking their spots to attack on offense with the other laying back. They each have a solid two-way game, as well, proving to complement to one another.

“He’s an easy guy to play with,” Manning said of the 19-year-old Russian rookie. “His English is great. I think he’s just going to keep getting better and better.”

Provorov returned the sentiment, adding that whomever he lines up next to, the goal is to get the most out of each other. He felt that’s exactly what they did Saturday against Carolina.

After five games, Manning (four points - one goal and three assists) and Provorov (three points, all assists) rank second and third in defensive scoring behind Shayne Gostisbehere’s five points (one goal and an assist).

With Radko Gudas set to return to the lineup on Tuesday night against Buffalo as just one more game remains on his six-game suspension and Michael Del Zotto nearing a return, Hakstol will once again be shuffling his defensive pairs in the near future.

Considering how much Gudas and Del Zotto played together last year, they’ll likely return as a pair, meaning another strong showing from the newly formed Provorov-Manning pair against Montreal could cement the two together once the Flyers' have their full arsenal of blue liners available.