Flyers lose in San Jose, Sharks get first season win

Flyers' Joel Farabee
Philadelphia Flyers left wing Joel Farabee (86) skates off the ice during his team’s loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs after an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022 in Toronto. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

Overnight, the San Jose Sharks (1-10-1) went from winless to winning once.

Of course, that honor came at the expense of the Philadelphia Flyers (5-7-1). It’s easy to look at the schedule, see a winless team, and think ‘trap game,’ but John Tortorella didn’t bite.

“We shouldn’t be able to spell ‘trap game.’ We have enough traps ourselves in how we go about it, just to be able to play each and every night. I get it. I know it’s been a struggle for San Jose [Sharks]. It’s the National Hockey League; you need to be ready to play each and every night.”

John Tortorella; 11/6/2023

Last night was an opportunity to gain confidence against a porous club leaking goals to just about everyone. Sean Couturier (lower body) returned to the lineup, hoping to help create powerplay scoring for the struggling special teams unit. Here’s how it all happened at the ‘Shark Tank’:

Philadelphia Flyers at San Jose Sharks

Anthony Duclair took advantage of a sluggish start from the Flyers. Sean Walker couldn’t get off on the line change once Nick Seeler flipped the puck into the neutral zone. Ty Emberson recovered, then banked a pass to Mikael Granlund, who found Kevin Lebanc in a seam. Walker was caught between Lebanc and Duclair on the rush. Duclair finished the quick stick past Sam Ersson, 1-0, with 18:17 remaining in the first period.

Nicolas Deslauriers and Givani Smith exchanged fists. An attempt to swing momentum in favor of Philadelphia didn’t do the trick in the grand scheme of things.

Turnovers were a glaring issue. The Sharks weren’t susceptible to unforced errors, whereas the Flyers couldn’t establish a sustainable possession. Joel Farabee had a breakaway opportunity on Mackenzie Blackwood but didn’t get the shot on goal; Jan Rutta served a minor penalty for high-sticking, which carried into the next period.

As quickly as the powerplay came, it left due to too many men on the ice. Philadelphia had six skaters on the ice during a powerplay, ruining an opportunity to begin the second period with a man advantage. There were no conversions on the evening from a sloppy special team. They’re converting with the extra man at a staggeringly low 8.9% success rate (31st in the NHL).

“No execution. When lanes are there, we’re not making the passes. We’re not finishing at all. It sucks.”

Sean Couturier; 11/7/2023

While turnovers were a glaring issue, another was shot selection. The Flyers were outshooting San Jose, 21-9. Blackwood saved each shot at this point in the game but didn’t have to do much work to make saves.

Yegor Zamula served a minor penalty for interference. William Eklund and Duclair passed back and forth from the point to the faceoff circle during a four-on-three powerplay to time their one-timer with a screen. Duclair gave a final pass to Eklund, who blasted a slapshot with Tomas Hertl net-front to extend the lead, 2-0, with 3:42 remaining in the second period. Philadelphia finished 4/5 on the penalty kill (14th in the NHL).

“It was a disjointed game with all the penalties; four-on-threes, four-on-fours. We know they’re going to be desperate. We couldn’t find a way to finish. We had a lot of ‘almost’ chances; we just didn’t finish at the net. Territorial; I thought we controlled it, but we just didn’t get enough quality chances.”

John Tortorella; 11/7/2023

Gripping their sticks, the Flyers didn’t want to be the first team the Sharks defeated. Farabee helped fight back on the scoreboard. Scott Laughton made the entry pass to Travis Sanheim across the offensive zone in the same area where Tyson Foerster could be found. Sanheim found Farabee for the quick stick in close, but it seemed Blackwood made an unreal save. It turned out the save was not real, and the puck crossed the goal line while resting on the blockers, 2-1, with 1:09 remaining in the second period.

“I saw the replay. I thought he [Blackwood] caught it with his glove. I didn’t see it until after that it was on his back leg. I had no idea on the ice.”

Joel Farabee; 11/7/2023

‘Urgency’ was key for Philadelphia in the third period. San Jose was a period away from securing their first victory of the season. Most of the period featured immense pressure via even-strength hockey, and Owen Tippett had a couple of good chances, but again, nothing challenged Blackwood when most shots sailed high and wide. Blackwood stood on his head to close out a victory for his club, saving 38/39 en route to a 2-1 win at the SAP Center.

Up Next

Next, the Philadelphia Flyers visit the Anaheim Ducks in an attempt to split the season series on Friday, November 11th, at 10pm.

(Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)