San Jose Sharks at Philadelphia Flyers: Lindblom’s revenge
The San Jose Sharks to face with Philadelphia Flyers in the final game of this four-game road trip. The second period of adversity continued against New Jersey Devils on Saturday morning, allowing 20 shots and two goals en route to a 2-1 loss. Meanwhile, the Flyers won 3-1 against the ” Nashville Predators thanks to Joel Farabi, who scored a goal and had two assists. With both teams traveling to Philly for the second day of the matchup, this could be a sloppy affair.
The Flyers have surprised by starting the year 4-1-0 with some impressive wins, including a 3-2 win over the team. Tampa Bay Lightning. Many predicted that the Flyers would finish near the bottom of the league standings, but under new head coach John Tartarella, Philly was competitive in every game they played under new Carter Hart.
It’s a big deal for a 2021-22 team that finished last in the Capital Division with a 25-46-22 record and 61 points after firing Alain Vignes in December. Before the trade deadline last season, the Flyers parted ways with longtime captain Claude Giroux. Giroud played his 1,000th game in orange and was then sent to the Florida Panthers for a 2024 first-round pick, a 2023 third-round pick and former 10th overall pick Owen Tippett.
In the draft, the Flyers added USNTDP forward Kater Gauthier with the fifth overall pick. Another big move in the draft was the acquisition of controversial quarterback Tony DeAngelo. The Carolina Hurricanes received a fourth-round pick in 2022, a third-round pick in 2023 and a second-round pick in 2024. The Flyers then signed DeAngelo to a two-year, $10 million contract.
During free agency, Philadelphia was allegedly a dark team in drafting Johnny Gaudreau, but did not offer the South Jersey native a contract due to an “inability to move contracts.” They bought out fan favorite Oscar Lindblom before free agency and signed defenseman Justin Brown to a one-year, $1 million deal after sending him to New York Rangers at last year’s trade deadline.
The Flyers are dealing with a lot of injuries early this season. Ryan Ellis is expected to miss the entire season with a potentially career-ending injury. Patrick Brown is also on LTIR after offseason back surgery. Analyst community favorite Sean Couturier is also on injured reserve to start the season dealing with an upper body injury. Defensive end Rasmus Ristolainen and forward Tippett join Couturier on IR to start the season. Cam Atkinson is also listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Can the Sharks stop stumbling in the second period?
The second period has not been good for the Sharks this season. They have surpassed 16-4 and by more than 50 strokes in the second stanza. The Flyers have been outscored opponents 6-2 in four games this season. With both teams going head-to-head, whoever can make it through the second period could end up winning the game as both teams could be poisoned in the third.
If San Jose has any hope of salvaging their season, they need to overcome their second period demons. Kaapo Kahkonen saved the team’s bacon on more than one occasion in Saturday’s 2-1 loss, but being down in the defense all the time is not a sustainable way to play hockey. The Devils used a ferocious forecheck to keep the Sharks from getting the puck out of the zone. San Jose must find answers to these forechecking issues, either by adding more support from the returning forwards or by moving the puck out of the zone quickly.
Timo Meier and Thomas Hertl are eager to start the season. Meier is yet to score and Hertl hasn’t scored since the first game of the season in his native Prague. This could be a good game for both of them. The Flyers are one of the worst teams in the league to give up shots at even strength – the problem is that the Sharks aren’t much better.
A first line of Meyer, Hertl and Aleksandr Barabanov against the Flyers’ top line of Joel Farabi, Kevin Hayes and Travis Kanechna could give both teams a chance to top the line.
Meyer had one of the best games of his career against the Flyers, including his first career hat trick. If Timo Time can’t come to Philadelphia, he may be cursed, and an exorcism may be the only option left to bring Meyer back to normal.
The Sharks have been able to hang on for most games with depth players like Niko Sturm and Evgeny Svechnikov, but if Meyer and Hertl start to heat up to their normal levels, that will be a key factor in starting to win more games. where the team is otherwise competitive.
A goaltending advantage?
Both teams are in the second half of back-to-back meetings, so it’s a safe bet that a rested James Reimer will face Felix Sundstrom in net. Reimer has been nothing short of terrific to start the season and was rewarded for his efforts with a win over the Rangers on Thursday night. He had 3.1 more goals against than expected at the start of the season, a 2.78 goals against average (GAA) and a .918 save percentage (SV%) despite (points to the mess in front of him).
After old mutual friend Martin Jones left for deep-sea pastures, the Flyers turned to Swedish netminder Felix Sundstrom, who was working his way up the organization’s goaltending pipeline. The 25-year-old played 44 AHL games for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms last season, posting a solid 2.89 GAA and .902 SV%. He has played 6 games in the NHL so far and is still waiting for his first major league win. The limited organization is asking a lot from the unproven netminder to hold down the fort behind Hart.
If San Jose can apply pressure early on, it could rattle the young Swede and possibly lead to more than three major goals per game — this time.
A bold prediction: Timo Meier and Thomas Hertl lit the lamp and the top line finally got going, capping the trip with a 5-2 win over the Flyers. Oscar Lindblom also scores and stares down Chuck Fletcher, unnerving him enough to haunt the Flyers general manager for the rest of the season.