photo from sfgate.com: Philadelphia Flyers’ Travis Konecny celebrates after scoring a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the San Jose Sharks, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Philadelphia.
By: Jessica Kwong
PHILADELPHIA, P.A.—The San Jose Sharks continued to struggle the day after the NHL trade deadline passed, falling 4-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers in their fifth straight loss on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
San Jose appeared to be the stronger team in the first period. Sharks interim head coach Bob Boughner said “it’s been like that the whole trip,” especially with the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers.
“We’re not giving up a heck of a lot over the 60 minutes, but when we give up that one or two big mistakes, they’re finding their way in the back of their net,” Boughner said. “And we’re not capitalizing when we have our two-on-ones and our three-on-one’s.”
As with recent games, the Sharks allowed the opponent score first. Flyers right wing Nicolas Aube-Kubel scored on the power play at 1:32, assisted by left wing James van Riemsdyk and defenseman Matt Niskanen.
Sharks center Joel Kellman tied the game on a rebound at 6:30, assisted by defenseman Jacob Middleton and defenseman Tim Heed. It was Kellman’s second goal of the season.
In the second period, the Flyers took a 2-1 lead with a tic-tac-toe passing play from center Travis Konecny and center Scott Laughton to center Kevin Hayes at 3:51.
The Flyers extended their lead in the second period to 3-1 when Hayes passed to Laughton for an easy hit into the net at 9:41.
The game got further away from the Sharks early in the third period. Hayes, assisted by Laughton and Konecny, hit one between Sharks goalie Aaron Dell’s legs to put the Flyers ahead 4-1.
But the Sharks did not give up. Center Noah Gregor scored at 8:18, assisted by left wing Marcus Sorensen, to cut the Flyers’ lead to 4-2.
“They got a couple of breaks there, the two-on-one and I think there was a three-on-two,” Gregor said. “They made good plays and they were able to capitalize, I think that was the difference.”
Sharks defenseman Brent Burns said he saw the loss as “tough.”
“It’s tough scoring goals right now and we just have to, you’ve got to play almost a perfect game, so it’s tough,” Burns said. “I think you’ve just got to try to do the right things when you can.”
Sharks captain Logan Couture returned after a 17-game absence due to a fractured ankle back. Couture said he felt “alright” but “wish I played a little bit better.”
“My hands I knew weren’t going to be great, but I figured it’s been a rough couple of days,” Couture said.
On Monday’s trade deadline, the Sharks dealt veteran Patrick Marleau to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a 2021 third-round draft pick that would become a second-round pick if the Penguins win the Stanley Cup. The Sharks also traded forward Barclay Goodrow to the Tampa Bay Lightning for forward Anthony Greco and a first-round draft pick.
Veteran Joe Thornton stayed put, and expressed his feelings about it.
“As you get older, you realize you only have so many shots at this thing, and it would have been nice to have a chance,” Thornton said on Monday. “I wanted a shot. I’ve been hunting this thing down for 22 years.”
The Sharks (26-33-4) return home to face the New Jersey Devils (25-27-10) on Thursday. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.