After playing in Seattle on Wednesday night, the Flyers didn’t get to their hotel in San Jose until 4:30 Thursday morning. And that would have been a convenient excuse if they had given up in the third period against the Sharks some 15 hours later.
Instead, with Philadelphia trailing by a 2-1 score at SAP Center and time running out, Joel Farabee scored with 4:03 to play, with the tie eventually sending the game into overtime. While the Flyers failed in the tiebreaker and lost, 3-2, they kept their point streak alive at seven games (5-0-2).
The Sharks scored with 30.1 seconds to play in OT on a goal by Tomas Hertl for the victory.
Rookie goaltender Felix Sandstrom made his Flyer/NHL debut and held the fort as best he could. But the Sharks simply spent too much time in the Flyers’ zone and generated too many scoring chances. By the end of the game, he had made 43 saves to break the Flyers record for stops by a goalie in his NHL debut.
“I thought he was outstanding,’’ interim coach Mike Yeo said in a media Zoom call after the game. “He looked confident in the net, that’s what we had seen from him in practice. That’s sort of his demeanor and that’s what you like in a goalie, that he doesn’t get rattled. I thought he gave us a chance to stabilize at the end of the second period.’’
Sandstrom waited a long time for this night.
“I’m disappointed not getting a win,’’ he said. “But it was a great experience. It was fun to be out there.’’
Farabee added: “Felix was great. Given the circumstances with COVID and whatnot, coming on this trip and playing like that, says a lot about the player he is. I thought he made some huge saves even after we went down 2-1. With everything, I thought he played a heck of a game.’’
Morgan Frost scored his second goal of the season at 15:43 of the first period to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead.
Oskar Lindblom started the sequence with an entry pass to Travis Konecny. In turn, Konecny spotted Frost dashing down the left side and caught the center in stride for a shot past goalie James Reimer.
“I think we’re doing some good things,’’ Frost said. “I think it’s just a matter of executing for 60 minutes.”
Meanwhile, Sandstrom made his first period of NHL action a successful one by stopping all 12 shots he faced.
The Sharks finally broke through at 5:20 of the second period. During a Flyers power play, Keith Yandle had his pocket picked by Logan Couture, who raced in to score a shorthanded goal.
Just two minutes later the Sharks scored again. This time the Flyers fell completely apart on defense and Sharks defenseman Brent Burns fired a shot past Sandstrom.
In the third period, the Flyers had 1:56 of a five-on-three power play but couldn’t convert.
“For me it was disappointing not to get a goal there,’’ Yeo said. “But we had some huge kills, our penalty kill was massive tonight. To find a way to get that point was the bigger thing.’’
Yeo tried to concentrate on the positives of the last two games, including the late rally in Seattle for a 3-2 overtime win.
“We have to continue to focus on trying to build our game,’’ said Yeo, even though his team has taken 12 of the last 14 possible points in the current streak. “That’s not the sort of game we want to be playing, spending that much time in our own zone. We don’t want to be a team that is outshot, outchanced. We also came into this trip with the understanding we were going to have to battle, crash and clog in order to get wins.’’
Farabee confirmed fatigue was a factor in this game.
“With back-to-backs, the second night you always try to simplify a little bit,’’ he said. “Not everyone is going to have their legs, that’s a given. I thought we gave a great effort. We gave ourselves a chance to win and that’s all you can really ask for.’’
>Couturier on injured reserve
Before the game the Flyers announced center Sean Couturier, who’s still on COVID-19 protocol, has been placed on IR and is listed as week-to-week.
>Seeler, Cates in action
In another pre-game move, the Flyers activated defenseman Nick Seeler and forward Jackson Cates. They placed Gerry Mayhew on the taxi squad. Seeler replaced Kevin Connauton in the lineup.