Pavelski: 'Everyone contributed'
Joe Pavelski completed his second career hat trick in the Sharks' dominant win in Philadelphia Thursday. (USATSI)
PHILADELPHIA – The Sharks scored six unanswered goals, including five in the second period, and pummeled the Flyers on Thursday night at Wells Fargo Center, 7-3. It was San Jose’s first game after the NHL's Olympic break.
Joe Pavelski secured his second career hat trick, and Raffi Torres and Logan Couture both returned to the lineup in impressive fashion with two goals apiece to pace the Sharks.
The Sharks trailed 2-1 after the first period before taking control.
It started with a power play goal. Pavelski took a feed from Patrick Marleau, and made a skillful move in front of the net before flipping it past Steve Mason at 4:23. It was his 30th goal of the year, the second time he’s reached that plateau, but Pavelski was just getting warmed up.
Midway through the second, the onslaught began. Pavelski picked a floating puck out of midair off of the stick of Marc-Edouard Vlasic at 10:12, giving the Sharks a 3-2 lead. Just 35 seconds later, Couture found the rebound of a Marleau attempt, scoring in his first game back from a hand injury that sidelined him for the previous 16 games.
Pavelski completed the hat trick at 14:12. The puck somehow squirted through the slot to his tape, and he wheeled around and snuck it inside the far post past Ray Emery, who replaced Mason after the Sharks’ fourth goal. The hammer fell with 2.2 seconds left in the period, when Mike Brown battled behind the net before centering to Torres, who flicked it in.
Torres was making his season debut from a knee injury suffered in the preseason.
The teams traded goals in the third period, with Couture getting a shorthanded marker to make it 7-2 at 4:50. The center looked like he completed a hat trick of his own with 11:11 to go, but a long review in Toronto determined that his shot didn’t quite get past the goal line.
Matt Read stopped the bleeding with a Flyers goal with 12:12 to go, shortly after Mason re-entered in place of Emery.
Torres gave the Sharks the early lead on just the second shift of his season at 4:25 of the first period. Philadelphia responded later with two goals just 22 seconds apart by Andrej Meszaros and Brayden Schenn.
Marleau, Jason Demers and Andrew Desjardins all had two assists.
The Sharks have won four of five games overall, and trail Anaheim by five points in the Pacific Division. Each team has 22 games remaining in the regular season.
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Philadelphia’s four-game winning streak before the break was emphatically snapped. The Sharks were playing in Philadelphia for the first time since Dec. 8, 2010.
The Sharks finished 1-for-4 on the power play, but it was an important one, as the team was just 1-for-29 in its previous nine games before the break.
Couture’s third period goal was the Sharks’ fifth shortie of the season. San Jose was 5-for-5 on the penalty kill against a Flyers power play that looked dangerous early in the game.
Stalock improved to 9-3-0 as a starter, making 27 saves. His best stop came when the score was 2-2, and he turned away Mark Streit’s redirection on a two-on-one rush.
Antti Niemi, who got an extra day of rest after traveling back from Sochi, is scheduled to start in Buffalo on Friday.
Mason took the loss with 12 saves on 16 shots. Emery allowed three goals on 14 shots.
Brad Stuart is not on the road trip, and will miss at least the next two games with an upper body injury. He has been placed on injured reserve.
Bracken Kearns was reassigned to Worcester over the break.
Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen missed the game with a lower body injury.
The Sharks continue a three-game road trip in Buffalo Friday and New Jersey on Sunday. They return home on March 4 to host Carolina.