Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sharks Put Final Bite on Flyers in Wild Shootout Win

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

Joe Pavelski was credited with the winner while Jeremy Roenick notched the deciding goal in the shootout, as the San Jose Sharks kept the Philadelphia Flyers winless on the season with a 7-6 victory at the Wachovia Center.

Pavelski tallied first for San Jose while Mike Richards and Danny Briere failed on both attempts for the home team. Roenick fired the game-deciding score low to the glove side on Martin Biron, bringing a poignant end to the former Flyer’s return to the city.

“I think you look to the stats of last year, and we went with the stats of last year, [Pavelski] and I were one and two,” said Roenick of the shootout. “I might be an old goat, but sometimes the puck goes in the net.”

Roenick went 5-for-8 in the round last season, while Pavelski hit at a 10-for-14 clip for San Jose.

Patrick Marleau recorded four points on two goals and two assists for the Sharks, who recorded their most goals in any one game against the Flyers since arriving in the NHL in 1991. Pavelski added a goal and two assists as did Devin Setoguchi and Ryane Clowe. Dan Boyle also picked up a score.

Evgeni Nabokov won despite allowing a season-worst six goals in regulation on 29 shots.

Joffrey Lupul picked up his first two goals of the year and Scott Hartnell added a season-best three assists for the Flyers, who are the lone winless team in the NHL at 0-3-3 despite posting a season-high in goals. Briere scored the game-tying goal late in regulation while Scottie Upshall, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards each lit the lamp once.

Antero Niittymaki got the start but was pulled after one period for giving up four goals on 15 shots. Biron finished the contest by making 18 saves but was saddled with the loss.

“You score six goals that should be enough to win,” added Flyers head coach John Stevens. “You look at the games we played, there are a lot of games we have scored enough to win. I thought tonight we created a lot of opportunities offensively but it’s no secret, you get your goals against down, you win hockey games.”

With Philly on the power play and Biron on the bench for an extra attacker, Briere emerged from a goalmouth scrum with 1:05 left in regulation to lift the puck over Nabokov to produce a 6-6 tie.

The score capped a comeback for the beleaguered home club, which led 1-0 early but continually had to play from behind for the remainder of the contest.

Carter notched the game’s first goal only 51 seconds in, an unassisted short-handed tally with a little help from a deflection off a San Jose stick. Richards had been called for a hold after only 18 seconds played.

San Jose got the next two goals – both on the power play, coming 58 seconds apart. Pavelski’s easy tap-in from the left side of the crease at 7:42 was followed by Clowe’s first of the season at 8:40.

Richards then tied the score at 12:04, as he took a dish from Andreas Nodl, skated through the Sharks’ zone and floated a wrister through a screen. It was the first NHL point for the youngster, called up from the AHL’s Phantoms on Tuesday.

Marleau’s first of the game at 15:45 gave the visitors the lead, but Upshall slid a rebound through Nabokov on the backhand at 17:54 for a 3-3 game on another man-advantage goal.

However, Setoguchi managed to tuck in a bouncing puck through traffic in the crease with 39 seconds to play in the first, and San Jose took a 4-3 lead to intermission.

Biron came out for the start of the second, and Lupul took a Hartnell feed on the right wing, waited for Nabokov to commit, and roofed a shot high and just inside the left post at 3:30 for a 4-4 deadlock.

The Sharks took a 5-4 edge with 7:08 to play in the second as Biron lost track of Marcel Goc’s shot in his pads and Boyle tipped home the loose puck in the crease.

It was 6-4 only 47 ticks into the third as Marleau converted a Goc pass, but Philly got within one just 17 seconds later as Richards won a right-circle draw and Lupul slammed the puck home.

“We’ve got to keep working hard. It’s disappointing, the way we thought we finally came back the last couple [goals],” said Briere. “In the game at San Jose we let them back in the game to give them that late goal and they pulled through at the end. I was hoping we would be able to do the same and get rewarded for working so hard to score that late goal, and then send it to overtime, but they won against us again.”

The Flyers have never opened a season in their 42-year history without a win in their first six games. They get two cracks at the New Jersey Devils on Friday (in Newark) and Saturday (at home) to pick up that elusive first victory.

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