Playing on the opponent's home ice has been a boon to the San Jose Sharks. That's long been the case in Philadelphia.
The Sharks haven't lost there in nearly 15 years as they enter Thursday night's visit seeking their longest road winning streak since 2011, and the Flyers are trying to avoid their worst stretch at home since that same year.
Being on the road has been much kinder to San Jose (10-8-0) than playing at home, where the club is 3-5-0. The Sharks are perfect halfway through a season-high, six-game trip and have posted four consecutive one-goal victories on the road overall.
They haven't had a longer win streak away from home since Oct. 21-29, 2011.
“Each night's important and so far on this road trip they've been good quality wins for us. Good team wins,” captain Joe Pavelski told the club's official website. “A lot of guys that contributed and that's what you need. The biggest thing is guys are showing up. Everyone's contributing and we're getting that solid effort from everyone.”
Seven players have scored during the trip and 15 have posted at least one point. Pavelski leads the way with five.
“We're talking about having everybody involved,” Patrick Marleau said after scoring the go-ahead goal in Tuesday's 5-4 victory at Boston. “It takes everybody to win, and that's what you want. You don't wanna have some guys going and some guys not. You want everybody in it, pulling the same direction and getting those Ws.”
They've gotten plenty against the Flyers. San Jose has won 12 of 13 in the series, including seven consecutive victories in Philadelphia – three in shootouts. Preceding that run, the Sharks played to a tie there, pushing their unbeaten streak on the Flyers' home ice to Dec. 21, 2000.
It's been a while since Philadelphia won there, mired in a five-game home losing streak which is the club's worst since a six-game skid March 12-April 3, 2011.
Yet, the Flyers (6-8-4) came away encouraged from their latest home loss, 3-2 in a shootout to Los Angeles on Tuesday. Coach Dave Hakstol said his team “played hard and we played well” after recording 38 shots – its most in three weeks – and taking only two penalties.
“That was the first time in 18 games that we played good hockey,” winger Jakub Voracek said. He had a second straight two-point game after having only five points through the first 16 contests.
Steve Mason made a season-high 38 saves but suffered his fifth loss in six starts. He's dropped three straight to the Sharks, including a 3-2 shootout loss March 28 at Philadelphia in the clubs' last meeting.
Pavelski scored that night and has six goals in his last four games there.
Five of his team-leading 18 points have come on the power play, an area which further shows San Jose's propensity for better play outside northern California. The Sharks are 8 for 32 on the road after scoring twice Wednesday and remain the NHL's only team without a power-play goal at home (0 for 21).
That trend could continue against a Philadelphia penalty-killing unit which is among the league's worst (75.4 percent) after allowing power-play goals in five of its opponents' last 10 chances.