Philly came to town Monday night and brought their A game to the Tank, exploding for four goals in the final frame to quickly erase a Sharks 2-1 lead for 5-2 victory. Rookie Matt Nieto scored two goals in the first period staking Los Tiburones to a lead they ultimately would not hold onto. The second unfolded with the Flyers turning up the pressure and hemming the Sharks in their own zone consistently but couldn’t put one past Niemi. The Anti crumbled under the Flyers onslaught to start the third with a Matt Read knuckle ball that ramped up off of D man Matt Irwin’s stick and floated by Niemi. A minute and eighteen seconds later Michael Raffi scored on a huge rebound off a shot by D man Eric Gustaffson to take the lead. The Sharks appeared to be stunned and continued their somnambulance (sleepwalking for the uninitiated) when Claude Giroux fired in a laser off of a Matt Irwin neutral ice turnover, deflecting off of Niemi’s glove. His night was finished and so were the Sharks who could mount nothing against a fired up Flyers team.
The loss continued a disturbing trend by San Jose lately of little or no scoring without Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl in the lineup and has to be a concern going into the last quarter of the season. Joe Pavelski has been the most consistent scorer for the Sharks but they can’t rely on one guy for offense. Another concern has to be Niemi who has been pulled several times this season and more often lately because of giving up goals on what appear to be savable shots. If I had to pick a goat of the game it would be a tie between Irwin and Niemi as they both played like shit in the third. Even worse, the Sharks standout defenseman Dan Boyle was -3 and has never really returned to form after recovering from a devastating hit early in the season by Maxim (the Prick) Pierre of the St. Louis Blues. Oh well, all streaks come to an end as Philadelphia ended a fourteen YEAR losing streak against San Jose with a great game on Monday at the Tank. Next up, the Dallas Stars, a streaky team at best who just shutout Anaheim on Monday.