Instant Replay: Sharks 7, Flyers 3

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Instant Replay: Sharks 7, Flyers 3

BOX SCORE

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.

The start
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.

Debut
Torres made his season debut for the Sharks coming off an extended injury.

Scores first
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.

Hat trick
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.

Special teams
The Flyers were 0 for 5 on the power play. San Jose was 1 for 5.

Shorthanded
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.

Five goals
The Flyers gave up five goals in the second period. They last did that on Dec. 11 during a 7-2 loss at Chicago.

Scratches
Defensemen Hal Gill and Kimmo Timonen were healthy scratches, as was forward Jay Rosehill.

Loose pucks
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.

Flyers free-agent goalie fits: Jonathan Bernier

Flyers free-agent goalie fits: Jonathan Bernier

Each day this week until July 1, the day free agency begins, Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone will profile the five best goalie options for the Flyers on the open market and project their likelihood of signing.

Jonathan Bernier
Age: 28
Height: 6-0
Weight: 184
Last team: Anaheim Ducks
2016-17 cap hit: $4.15 million

Scouting report
After being drafted 11th overall in 2006, Bernier was a highly-touted goaltender coming up in the Los Angeles Kings system and performed well in a backup role for five seasons in L.A.

But with Jonathan Quick in Los Angeles, Bernier was blocked from getting a viable opportunity to be a No. 1 with the Kings. In June 2013, they shipped him to Toronto.

Bernier did not capitalize on his opportunity with the Maple Leafs, however. He never established himself as a high-end starting goalie in three seasons despite a strong first year.

In 2013-14, Bernier was 26-19-7 with a 2.68 goals-against average and .923 save percentage with the Leafs but that save percentage continually dropped the next two years.

Toronto decided to cut ties with Bernier after the 2015-16 season and traded him to the Anaheim Ducks for a conditional draft pick. He spent last season backing up John Gibson.

Appearing in 39 games last season for the Ducks, Bernier posted a 21-7-4 record with a 2.50 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and two shutouts.

One note about Bernier: Flyers general manager Ron Hextall was an assistant GM in Los Angeles when the Kings drafted him in 2006, so there is a connection there.

Dougherty's projection
I don’t think Bernier is the best option available for the Flyers but the most likely. Maybe I’m putting too much weight on the Hextall connection here, maybe not. We’ll see.

Bernier fits what the Flyers appear to want in a goalie going forward: a short-term veteran option who can share the net with Michal Neuvirth in a platoon situation.

Hextall isn’t looking for the Flyers’ goalie of the future this summer. He believes he has that in the system already but needs to bide time for Carter Hart and Felix Sandstrom.

But he will be looking for a goalie who he can trust playing around 40 games or more next season and give the team quality in net. In that role, Bernier would be a solid fit.

He hasn’t panned out as projected and we could use him as one example of why we don’t see many goaltenders drafted high in the first round. They’re tough to project.

With that said, Bernier has found success in the past, including last season in Anaheim, in either a platoon or backup situation. He’ll come at a reasonable price, too.

A tandem of Neuvirth-Bernier would not be the worst thing in the world for the Flyers; it wouldn’t be the best, either. I think it would give them enough in net to compete.

If I had to predict which goaltender on the market will be here next season, it is Bernier.

Hall's projection
I see Bernier as one of the least realistic options for the Flyers.
 
The 2006 11th overall pick hasn't quite lived up to the hype, but he still has some cachet, probably too much for the Flyers in this spot.
 
He turns only 29 in August and in a backup role last season, his 2.50 goals-against average and .915 save percentage still ranked in the top 15 among NHL goalies that played 39 games or more.
 
The role and price in which the Flyers will offer shouldn't attract Bernier much. From the sound of Hextall, I expect him to be judicious in adding a goalie. This sounds much more like a stopgap, temporary position than anything future oriented.
 
There's a connection with the Flyers' GM here, but that might be it when it comes to the Bernier scenario.

Paone's projection
I find Bernier to be an intriguing option for the Flyers.

First and foremost, there is plenty of familiarity with Bernier within the Flyers' organization. Hextall and current Flyers goalie coach Kim Dillabaugh were both parts of the Kings' organization when Bernier was drafted in 2006 and worked with him during his development into an NHL goaltender. They not only know the type of player and competitor they'd be getting, they also know the type of person they'd be getting and that plays a role, too.

Bernier had a very strong campaign for the Ducks last season. That certainly makes him an attractive option for the Flyers. He did his best to prove he can be a reliable option again after things soured for him in Toronto. But, hey, a lot of things went sour in Toronto during those times.

But that strong campaign with Anaheim last season will have Bernier wanting opportunity and more of it. With Neuvirth entrenched here, how much opportunity would there actually be for Bernier here? Would the Flyers present the type of opportunity he's looking for after last year's showing with the Ducks? My guess is no. He'll likely want an opportunity to take on much more of a workload.

So while the option is intriguing for many reasons and it certainly isn't out of the realm of possibility, I ultimately feel this is an option both he and the Flyers pass on.

Flyers re-sign defenseman Mark Alt to 1-year, 2-way deal

Flyers re-sign defenseman Mark Alt to 1-year, 2-way deal

One day after extending qualifying offers to seven restricted free agents (see story), the Flyers re-signed Mark Alt, who was unrestricted.

The Phantoms' defenseman agreed to a one-year, two-way deal on Tuesday that will play him $125,000 in the AHL and $650,000 in the NHL.

The 25-year-old has played four years with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. 

He had one goal and 11 points last season in 40 AHL games.

Alt's only NHL appearance was his debut as a Flyer on March 28, 2015, at San Jose.

Alt has 68 points (12 goals) in 237 AHL games.