Flyers-Sharks Preview

In the midst of one of their ugliest stretches of the season,
the San Jose Sharks are counting on a couple of newly acquired
forwards to help get them back on track.

A visit from the Philadelphia Flyers could also help.

The scuffling Sharks return home Tuesday night looking to extend
their winning streak over the Flyers to nine, but they won’t have
coach Todd McLellan on the bench.

San Jose (32-22-7) stumbles back to the Bay Area after dropping
six of the last seven contests on its 2-6-1 road trip. The Sharks
allowed two goals in the final six minutes Sunday en route to a 4-3
loss at Minnesota.

During that game, McLellan was hit in the head with a stick, and
he’s been experiencing concussion symptoms. Assistant coaches Matt
Shaw and Jay Woodcroft will lead the team Tuesday.

San Jose – currently seventh in the Western Conference –
acquired Daniel Winnik and T.J. Galiardi from Colorado on Monday in
exchange for Jamie McGinn and two prospects, hoping to bolster its
postseason push.

“It’s nice when things have not been going the way you want to
get some new life in the locker room,” said injured defenseman
Douglas Murray, who left the trip early after being hit in the
throat with a puck. “Hopefully this will kick-start us out of our
funk.”

Winnik had five goals and 13 assists in 63 games with the
Avalanche while Galiardi compiled eight and six, respectively, in
55 contests. While the duo doesn’t figure to provide the Sharks
with much scoring punch, the extra depth should be beneficial.

“Once you put all the pieces in the puzzle in proper roles and
add T.J. and Daniel, we like our team a lot,” general manager Doug
Wilson. “But it’s not how it looks on paper, it’s how it performs
on ice.”

San Jose has performed splendidly recently against Philadelphia
(34-20-7), taking the last eight meetings while outscoring the
Flyers 39-22.

After sending two draft picks to Dallas in exchange for Nicklas
Grossman on Feb. 16 and getting fellow defenseman Pavel Kubina from
Tampa Bay two days later, Philadelphia remained quiet Monday.

“We made our moves a couple weeks ago and I think adding size
and experience on defense that we were looking for with the absence
of Chris Pronger for the rest of this year, we felt good with our
group,” general manager Paul Holmgren told the Flyers’ official
website.

Grossman, who had five assists in 52 games with the Stars, has
recorded three in four games with his new team – including a
career-high two during Saturday’s come-from-behind 5-4 shootout win
at Calgary.

“The tenacity of sticking with it shift-by-shift,” said
Grossman, who helped the Flyers erase a 3-0 deficit. “It doesn’t
matter if we’re down a goal or two, we just keep pounding away. I
think that shows good character of a team.”

Scott Hartnell scored twice while Claude Giroux added two
assists for his team-leading 71st and 72nd points of the
season.

Ilya Bryzgalov made 17 saves Saturday, improving to 3-1-0
despite a shaky 3.19 goals-against average over his last five
games. Bryzgalov went 1-4-3 with a 2.81 GAA in his last eight
meetings with the Sharks while with Phoenix.

San Jose’s Antti Niemi, who was pulled from Saturday’s 6-2 loss
at Nashville after allowing three goals on seven shots and rested
Sunday, hasn’t faced the Flyers since defeating them in the 2010
Stanley Cup finals while with Chicago.