PHILADELPHIA – Just when it looked like the Flyers might find a way to overcome all the missing star players from their lineup, another game got away from them on Saturday night.
After getting a pair of goals from James van Riemsdyk early in the third period, the Flyers allowed the Sharks to come right back on a pair of goals from Tomas Hertl, who finished with a hat trick.
Ultimately, the game was decided by an overtime goal from Hertl just 24 seconds into the tiebreaker. The 3-2 defeat at the Wells Fargo Center extends the Flyers’ winless streak to five games (0-3-2)
Flyers goalie Martin Jones, whose contract with the Sharks was bought out at the end of last season, was saddled with the loss.
Interim head coach Mike Yeo watched his team get outshot by a 20-5 margin in the third period, so the outcome wasn’t all that surprising.
The Flyers hope to have star players such as Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim back from COVID protocol in time for Tuesday night’s home game against Carolina because they sure could have used them against the Sharks.
“We put ourselves in a position where we had to defend the whole time,’’ Yeo explained about the late stages of the game. “If it wasn’t for Jonesy, we wouldn’t have been in a position – we were lucky to get a point tonight. Obviously we have to be better.’’
It goes without saying the Flyers would have used defenders such as Provorov against Hertl and the outcome might have been different. The players who played so well for the first 40 minutes reverted to some bad habits in the last 20.
“A lot of that stuff (not possessing the puck, etc.) is habits,’’ Yeo said. “In the third period, with the game on the line, that’s when a lot of our bad habits came out. We have to continue to build the right habits here, continue to show the benefits of doing the right things. And the consequences of doing the wrong things. The self-inflicted stuff is something we have to get out of our system.’’
Van Riemsdyk broke a scoreless tie at 1:06 of the third period when the Flyers got through the San Jose defense along the boards. Kevin Hayes and Oskar Lindblom helped get the puck to center ice, then JVR took it from there, bouncing a puck off off the board past defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, then beating goalie Adin Hill from just beyond the center hash marks.
The Flyers made it 2-0 on a power play. Rookie Cam York’s point shot was blocked by JVR and the puck deflected into the net at 6:47.
San Jose scored at 7:47 when Hertl tucked in a short shot off a feed from Timo Meier. Later, Hertl scored from in close again with 5:39 to play.
When asked why things turned the wrong way in the third way, van Riemsdyk really couldn’t put a finger on one thing.
“They started to carry the game a little bit more,’’ he said. “As for pinpointing the reason why, I don’t have an answer for you. Not much we can complain about as far as goaltending.’’
The first 40 minutes had plenty of back and forth play but not a whole lot in terms of quality chances. Both Jones and Hill stood their ground as they stopped 26 and 25 shots respectively. The Sharks finished the game with a total of 47 shots.
As for the third period, Jones said: “They kind of jumped on us early after we got the two goals. Once you start spending time in your own end, it can be tough to kind of get the momentum back.’’
>York fitting in
York registered his first point with an assist on van Riemsdyk’s second goal. He’s starting to look more comfortable after a couple games of NHL action. However, he was on the ice for Hertl’s winning goal.
“I mean I’m doing my best but obviously it’s a challenge,’’ he said. “You’re playing against other teams’ top lines, 20-plus minutes a night. It’s the best thing in the world going up against the best players. I’m trying to play simple and let the game come to me.’’
>Sharks put Kane on waivers
It seemed like only a matter of time before the Sharks parted ways with Evander Kane and they did so on Saturday, putting the controversial forward on waivers.
In addition to submitting a false COVID-19 ID card (for which he had been suspended), Kane also was involved with charges stemming from an alleged domestic abuse incident as well as accusations from a gambling scandal.
Where this goes from here is anybody’s guess. He had $22.9 million left on a seven-year contract which was scheduled to pay him $49 million.
The Flyers resume action on Tuesday when they host to the Carolina Hurricanes. . .Flyers forwards Gerry Mayhew (injury) and Jackson Cates (COVID) returned to the lineup.