The San Jose Sharks won the fourth straight game to start their Eastern Conference road trip with another win over the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday, Nov. 19. The imbalance of atombash.com’s pictured stars furthered the imbalance of head-to-head success, led by Martin Jones in stealing the 1-0 overtime win.
Flyers History shows the last Philadelphia home win as Dec. 21, 2000—a streak of nine games with fans going home unhappy including the tie Nov. 21, 2002. San Jose has won 17 of 18 games since, but it has been less about dominance than just being one play better as seven of those wins have come in overtime or a shootout.
The Flyers dominated two periods of this one and still could not win. They battled even in the circle (35-35) for the game after losing 15 of the first 18 draws, committing five more giveaways (11-6) but managing one more takeaway (7-6) and two more hits (28-26) to build a 67-49 edge in attempts and 34-21 in shots (28-11 after the first period). Even the 22-15 edge in blocks the Sharks had represents only 2.2 percent more attempts blocked and actually allows 10 percent more shots for every one blocked.
However, Jones was not going to be denied in his first NHL career start against Philadelphia. He could have given up three or four goals in this game without anyone blaming him. San Jose needed every bit of it with its continued problems solving another unimpressive goalie.
Steve Mason almost gave up a goal eight seconds into the game after leaving the net when the puck took a funny bounce—Luke Schenn blocked Joe Pavelski’s bid at the open net—and had another shaky play in the first minute but settled in and turned away the first 20 shots he faced.
Even with one power play taking part mostly in overtime, the Sharks could manage only two shots in the four times the Flyers were shorthanded. Jones was the team’s best penalty killer, turning away all four shots on the two penalties.
Philadelphia took control in overtime after killing the penalty, registering the next three shots on goal. However, Paul Martin advanced the puck from the defensive to Joonas Donskoi streaking up ice. With 1:15 left before the shootout, Melker Karlsson caught the cross-ice feed and put a wrist-shot winner into the top corner for his third goal in just five games this 2015-16 NHL season.
Ultimately, earning the overtime win gives San Jose its best possible result whether or not it was the better team. Jones assured that even with a tough back-to-back weekend set ending with the nemesis Columbus Blue Jackets after the Stanley Cup-contending Pittsburgh Penguins, the Eastern Conference road trip is already guaranteed to be a success.