Sharks stroll past struggling Flyers
PHILADELPHIA -- Chris Tierney and Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored even-strength goals, and Joe Thornton added a power-play tally as the San Jose Sharks opened a four-game road trip with a 3-1 win over the slumping Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Goaltender Aaron Dell, who filled in for injured starter Martin Jones, stopped 22 shots for the Sharks (13-8-2). San Jose extended its points streak to five games (3-0-2).
Claude Giroux scored the lone goal for the Flyers (8-10-7), who lost for the ninth consecutive time (0-4-5). The Flyers have blown leads in seven of those nine games, including a 1-0 lead against the Sharks. The Flyers are riding their longest losing streak since the 2007-08 season, when they lost 10 in a row and still made the playoffs.
Goaltender Michael Neuvirth (31 saves) took the loss for Philadelphia.
Boos and chants of "Fire Hakstol" erupted throughout the third period of the loss. The Flyers have gone 28-33-13 in their last 74 games under head coach Dave Hakstol. They went 60-37-17 in his first 114 games behind the Flyers bench.
The Flyers started out with a bang when Giroux scored just 48 seconds into the game on a nice cross-ice feed from Jakub Voracek. It was Giroux's 11th goal of the season and Voracek's team-high 23rd assist.
The Sharks tied the score midway through the period when Tierney snapped a shot from the top of the right circle past a screened Neuvirth for his sixth goal of the season.
Despite having one of the league's best passers in Thornton, best shooters in Joe Pavelski and most dynamic defensemen in Brett Burns, the Sharks entered the game ranked 24th in the NHL on the power play. The Flyers gave them plenty of practice, taking six minor penalties in the first two periods.
The Sharks converted on their third of five power plays with 1:18 remaining in the opening period when Thornton snapped a pass intended for Pavelski inside the far post for his fourth goal of the season and a 2-1 lead. It marked the fourth time in five games the Sharks scored a power-play goal. They had gone the previous six games without one.
The Flyers' penalty killers have struggled without Radko Gudas, who served the sixth game of a 10-game suspension for slashing. Philadelphia has allowed 10 power-play goals in those six games.
NOTES: Sharks G Martin Jones (lower body injury) did not dress. ... LW Melker Karlsson returned to the San Jose lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury. He took the place of RW Kevin Labanc. ... Flyers LW Taylor Leier and C Jordan Weal were healthy scratches. ... The Sharks continue their four-game road trip with games against the Florida Panthers on Friday and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday before finishing the trip in Washington on Monday. ... The Flyers are off until Saturday when the Boston Bruins make their first visit to Philadelphia. Philadelphia follows with a three-game road trip to Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.