Game Preview 31/82: Flyers at Sharks

Flyers James van Riemsdyk
Flyers’ James van Riemsdyk (Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre)

Philadelphia Flyers (13-12-5) vs San Jose Sharks (16-14-1)

SAP Arena, San Jose

10:30 PM

Returning from the leaguewide pause, the Flyers defeated the Seattle Kraken in overtime. Now, just one day later, they’ll be in San Jose to take on the Sharks. The win over the Kraken wasn’t pretty.

Heading into San Jose, Philadelphia is playing in back-to-back games immediately upon returning from the leaguewide pause. Last night, Martin Jones (6-4-1, 91.1%SV, 3.2GAA) commented about the possibility of starting against his former team:

“I’ve played some back-to-backs a few times throughout my career. I’ve done it before. It’s just up to the coaching staff.”Martin Jones; 12/29/2021

The Flyers haven’t fared well in San Jose. They’re 2-8-0 in their last ten games on the road versus the Sharks and 2-2-1 in their recent five subsequent of a back-to-back. The odds don’t favor Philadelphia.

Martin Jones will likely suit up against his former team. If Mike Yeo rests Jones, Felix Sandstrom will make his NHL debut. Defensively, the Flyers rank 21st in the league, allowing 3.13 goals per game. A lack of clean entries and puck possession allows too many shots and eventual rebounds. Goaltending can’t stay under that constant pressure and survive, let alone thrive.

San Jose remains without Kevin Lebanc (shoulder) and Rudolfs Balcers (lower-body.) Tomas Hertl (15G, 8A) scored the shootout game-winner in his return from COVID protocol. Timo Meier (13G, 18A) and Logan Couture (10G, 17A) provide the bulk of the scoring for the Sharks.

Two nights ago, San Jose defeated the Arizona Coyotes. They’ve remained at home and weren’t involved in a back-to-back schedule. However, they played an extremely sloppy game against a poor Coyotes team. Philadelphia has to be opportunistic in how they approach.

Last night, Claude Giroux (11G, 15A) picked up his 600th career assist, moving into second place all-time on the Flyers scoring list with 884 points. Other forwards need to pressure James Reimer (10-5-1, 92.8%SV, 2.29GAA) and hope that James van Riemsdyk (7G, 6A) can build on his two-goal performance from Seattle.

Tonight is a tough matchup for both teams. Will the Flyers be able to find some energy? History says otherwise.

Prediction: Sharks 4, Flyers 1

(Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre)

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