Now 4-0 on a season-long six-game road trip, it would appear the San Jose Sharks are feeling right at home. Overall, it was San Jose’s fifth straight road win.
”We needed a good road trip,” Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said. ”We talked about that, taking it one game at a time and trying to squeeze out wins. We weren’t in a great spot after our homestand. To our guys’ credit, it was a little bit of a gut check and we’re finding a way here.”
Backstopped with the stellar efforts of goaltender Martin Jones, 25-year-old winger Melker Karlsson found the back of the net at 3:45 into the overtime period. After the game, Karlsson explained that he and Joonas Donskoi had been practicing the same play in the precise overtime scenario just earlier in the day.
From the opening puck drop, the Sharks displayed their dominance over a Flyers team they’re now victorious against in 13 of 14 games. San Jose outshot Philadelphia’s maligned defense 10-6 in the first period. They could have easily been ahead 2-0 after one frame — on their first shift of the game, Flyers goaltender Steve Mason misplayed a dumped puck off the glass, but Luke Schenn put his body in front of Joe Pavelski’s shot towards the open net. Minutes later, defenseman Justin Braun had another quality scoring chance, his backhand try from close range was stopped by Mason.
In the second, the Flyers woke from their slumber. They kept Jones busy, recording 15 shots in the period. The forward half of the Schenn brothers, Brayden, found himself in prime scoring position midway through the period while on a power play. Schenn’s slap shot was gloved by Jones. Philadelphia outshot San Jose 15-5 in the second period.
”Over 82 games you have to win all kinds of different ways,” DeBoer said. ”Tonight was a goalie win for us. You have to get timely contributions at different points from everybody. (Jones) was our best guy tonight.”
After successful efforts against the Boston Bruins, the Sharks shaky work on the power play unit returned against the Flyers — both units went 0-4 on the night, and San Jose’s power play remains ranked near the bottom of the table, 28th in the NHL. On Thursday, the Sharks mustered just two shots with the man advantage. On the other side, San Jose’s penalty kill has been functioning above average — they have not allowed a special teams goal in five of their last six games.
The final two games of the road trip will be difficult for San Jose. They will face the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets in back-to-backs.