Flyers look to complete California sweep vs. Sharks
The San Jose Sharks haven’t gotten off to a good start on their latest homestand and will next face a team that’s been playing with confidence and has a chance to make history.
San Jose looks to avoid its third straight loss at SAP Center on Saturday night when they meet the Philadelphia Flyers for the last time in 2018-19.
Coach Peter DeBoer noted that the Sharks didn’t have a lot of jump in the first of four straight on home ice during Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Rangers. He saw some improvement — but not enough — in a 4-1 setback to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“We’re just doing enough to hope to win,” DeBoer said Thursday. “You’re not going to win many games in this league scoring one goal.”
Logan Couture outlined what went wrong for San Jose (6-4-3).
“We didn’t pass well, we didn’t play hard enough,” the Sharks center told the team’s official website. “We didn’t spend enough time in their end, we didn’t forecheck, we turned too many pucks over. When you go down the list, we did a lot of things wrong tonight and got what we deserved.”
One positive was that Couture extended his points streak to eight games with an assist, giving him five goals with eight helpers during his run. He’s also posted two goals and two assists in a three-game streak versus the Flyers.
Philadelphia (6-7-0) started its annual visit in the Golden State with a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday followed by a 5-2 victory against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
It marked the first time the Flyers have won back-to-back games this season — and put coach Dave Hakstol’s club in position for the first road sweep of California teams in franchise history, according to STATS LLC.
“We’ve played pretty good hockey at different times. We haven’t been consistent enough. What we’ve been able to do the last two nights is put consistent play together for 60 minutes,” Hakstol said Thursday.
In nine games since then, Kane has managed only six assists. Pavelski, meanwhile, has two goals and two assists in a three-game points streak at home versus Philadelphia.
That game also marked the most goals allowed in one game by the Flyers’ Brian Elliott (4-5-0, 3.10 goals-against average). The 12-year veteran has surrendered two goals in each of his last three starts on the road and says teamwork is the key to the club’s West Coast success so far.
“We’re just playing as a group of five on the ice. We always say the cliches, but that’s what it is. It’s everybody working hard for each other,” said Elliott, who is 4-3-1 with a 2.55 GAA and one shutout over eight career games in San Jose.
After getting the night off against Columbus, Martin Jones (5-3-1, 2.66 GAA) is expected start for the Sharks. He’s 2-1-1 at SAP Center this season, stopping 92 of 101 shots.
One player to watch for Philadelphia is winger Wayne Simmonds. The 11-year veteran registered his second career hat trick in the Flyers’ 5-3 win on Oct. 4, 2017, in San Jose.
Simmonds scored his team-high seventh goal in the victory over Los Angeles.