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.
NEW YORK -- New York Rangers forward Kevin Hayes will miss two to three weeks with a lower-body injury.
The team announced the timeline Monday after Hayes underwent an MRI in the morning. Hayes left the Rangers' game Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings during the second period.
Hayes had seven points in his previous six games and is third on the team in points with 35. The 24-year-old has 13 goals and 22 assists in 47 games this season.
His injury is a major blow to New York, which holds the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The silver lining for the Rangers is that Hayes will miss fewer games because of the upcoming All-Star break.
Senators sign Zack Smith to 4-year, $13 million extension
OTTAWA, Ontario -- The Ottawa Senators have signed forward Zack Smith to a four-year contract extension worth $13 million.
The Senators said that the extension goes through the 2020-21 season and carries an annual average value of $3.25 million.
Smith, 28, has 11 goals and 11 assists in 43 games this season and is averaging a career-high 16 minutes, 13 seconds per game.
He set career highs with 25 goals and 36 points in 2015-16. He has 75 goals and 61 assists in 443 games, all with the Senators.
Smith was Ottawa's third-round pick (79th overall) in the 2008 draft.
VOORHEES, N.J. — When a team is on a downward spiral where there’s little evidence of things improving, sometimes it takes an extraordinary effort to turn things around.
The Flyers got just that during Sunday’s 3-2 overtime victory in Brooklyn against the Islanders. To a man, you could see just how much that game meant to this group.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a single player who didn’t dig a little deeper, as the Flyers snapped a nine-game losing skid on the road. They had lost five of six overall.
One play was symbolic of the victory and what it took for the Flyers to halt a three-game losing skid and erase memories of Saturday’s disastrous 4-1 loss to the Devils on home ice.
Midway through the third period, the Flyers’ PK units had to kill off consecutive penalties – the only power plays the Isles had during the game.
The first penalty kill really stood out as Ivan Provorov was in the box for hooking. The Isles had unrelenting pressure on Andrew MacDonald, Radko Gudas, Chris VandeVelde and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare for one minute and 43 seconds.
That unit played the entire kill and couldn’t get the puck out of the zone.
Goalie Steve Mason made four saves – three on John Tavares – while the Flyers had three blocked shots and one enormous clear at the end by Bellemare.
Thoroughly exhausted and chasing the puck up the right boards near the Flyers’ bench, Bellemare dove flat out with his stick extended to push the puck out of the zone at the blue line and down the ice.
Bellemare, who logs more shorthanded minutes than any other Flyers forward – he had 2:43 in this one – was so drained physically, he could barely lift his body over the side boards. He actually rolled himself over.
It was almost reminiscent of Sami Kapanen in the famed 2004 Game 6 semifinal playoff series at Toronto, where Keith Primeau had to fishhook Kapanen off the ice because he was concussed and had collapsed near the boards.
Bellemare’s extraordinary effort was typical of what it took for the Flyers to rise above their own self-inflicted mistakes of late for an emotional victory and key two points that got them back into the second wild card.
“We only had to kill two minor penalties, but we had to kill both in the last 10 minutes of the third period of a back-to-back,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “The extra effort on that kill, there’s a couple saves there that Mase made.
“There’s a couple goal mouth scrambles where it’s all hands on deck battling down there. There’s a couple shot blocks by Belly and Vandy that stand out and then just the second effort to get the puck out of the zone and get off that kill, those are important things.
“Obviously you have to have those to win games and I thought we had a lot of second effort, good effort in a lot of areas of our game.”
The emotion generated on the bench spilled into the overtime, where they won on Claude Giroux’s first goal in 12 games.
Now the critical question is, can this kind of performance have a carryover effect Wednesday night in New York against the Rangers.
“I think you can get some, you know what I mean?” Hakstol said. “I’m not a big believer of carrying momentum necessarily from one game to the next.
“But I think there’s a significance to the fact that we played a full 64 minutes and we had everybody contributing. I think that’s significant for us and I think that’s something we can carry forward.”
Incidentally, Hakstol used eight forwards in overtime, something he usually doesn’t do. Even rookie Travis Konecny got on the ice, which hasn’t been the case most times this season.
“We’ve used seven or eight forwards before but specifically [Sunday] night on a back-to-back where we’ve got a lot of guys that are going pretty well, we used a lot of guys that are part of our 3-on-3 rotation quite often,” Hakstol said.
“But we also last night used Belly, who’s played regularly, with Cousins. They were our fourth pair on the rotation. Ultimately, if you look at it, we scored the game-winning goal against a tired group that the Islanders had on the ice.”
Tavares had gone up and down the ice twice – Mason made a tremendous glove save on him before the game-winning shift. Hence, Tavares was gassed when Shayne Gostisbehere came up ice with Jakub Voracek, went around the net and hit Giroux in front for the game-winner.
“Our guys did a good job,” Hakstol said. “They were all moving and going. We get a great save on the breakaway and that buys us the chance to go back and get the play at the other end.”
Only five players took the ice for Monday’s optional skate after the 12th set of back-to-back games. … Players on ice were goalie Michal Neuvirth plus skaters Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Dale Weise and Roman Lyubimov. … The Flyers play back-to-back this week one more time before the All-Star break. After the Rangers, they have Toronto at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday, where the wild card will again be at stake.