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Wild comeback extends dominance over Philly
Sharks overcome 3 goal deficit in 3rd period
12/8/10 - By Mike Lee -

To say that the Sharks have had the Philadelphia Flyers number might be the understatement of the year. After falling behind 4-1 in the 3rd period, the Sharks rallied to force the game to overtime, then were saved by the clock in the extra session before winning in the shootout. The Flyers may still be trying to figure out what hit them, as they fell to the Sharks for the 12th time in a row over the last ten years.

Being an Eastern Conference team, the Flyers don’t see San Jose that often, which after Wednesday night’s result may be a blessing for Philadelphia. The Flyers seemed destined to snap the Sharks dominance after Scott Hartnell put the home team up 4-1 in Philadelphia with 13:45 to play in regulation, but Jason Demers, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski all scored over a 4 minute span to stun the Wells Fargo Center crowd.

The end of the game was the antithesis of the opening period, which lacked much sizzle. Philadelphia controlled the first 10 minutes of play, outshooting San Jose 9-2 by mid-period. The Sharks would weather the storm on strong goaltending by former Flyer Antero Niittmaki.

San Jose would negate all Philadelphia’s hard work with 4.1 seconds left in the opening period, when Ryane lowe deflected a Niklas Wallin shot past Flyers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. San Jose won a faceoff in the Flyers end off a Joe Thornton draw. Wallin fired the puck left of the goal, but the shot hit Clowe in the skate, deflecting from a wide angle past Bobrovksy.

Claude Giroux would knot the game at 1-1 at 6:21 of the 2nd period on a rebound chance in tight. Jeff Carter deflected a Braydon Coburn blast from the right point that hit Niittymaki in the crest. Giroux was parked on the doorstep for the put back.

Philadelphia took at 2-1 lead on a Ville Leino spin-o-rama shot from the bottom of the left circle at 10:20. Niittmaki was partially screened by traffic out in front, allowing the Leino shot to deflect off the left post for his 6th goal of the season.

Philadelphia took a 3-1 lead less than a minute later when Nikolay Zherdev bounced a shot off the back of Niittymaki’s right pad from the left side of the Sharks goal.

San Jose appeared to cut the Philadelphia lead to 3-2 on the ensuing faceoff, after a Scott Nichol wraparound chance deflected off John McCarthy’s skate and into the goal. Officials negated the score after a lengthy video review, ruling that McCarthy kicked the puck into the net.

The Sharks seemed to everything wrong to start the 3rd period. Jason Demers took a hooking penalty a minute into the period. The Sharks would kill off the penalty, but they failed to keep the Flyers off the board.

Hartnell pushed the flyers lead to three goals at 6:15, tapping in a Matt Carle pass from the left wing boards. Hartnell raced to the Sharks goal as Carle’s pass deflected off the back of Dan Boyle, redirecting right to Hartnell on the right post. Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray failed to get back, allowing Hartnell to easily tap in his 7th goal of the season.

The next 19 minutes would be nothing short of remarkable.

Demers started the improbable comeback with a goal at 7:33, rifling a shot from the top of the right circle after Dany Heatley slid a pass thru the slot to the Sharks defenseman. The shot hit the crossbar, deflecting down and across the goal line for Demers 1st goal of the year.

Logan Couture cut the Flyers lead to a single goal with 9 minutes remaining in regulation with his 13th of the season. The rookie drove to the net, lifting a rebound past Bobrovski after Clowe tried backhanding a shot from the right side. Couture dive bombed the net, trying to sniff out the puck. That would pay off when Clowe’s shot deflected right out to him.

A Daniel Briere tripping penalty at 11:26 provided the crack the sharks would need to complete the comeback. Pavelski wasted no time, pumping a faceoff draw into the Philadelphia net 2 seconds into the power play. Joe Thornton chipped the faceoff over to the right side from the left dot, to Pavelski who walked in and roofed a shot past Bobrovski to tie the game at 4-4.

Pavelski would give the Flyers a chance to avenge the goal by taking a tripping penalty with 7 to play in regulation, but Briere would cut Scott Nichol with a high stick, earning himself a 4-minute visit to the penalty box.

San Jose missed their chance to grab the lead on the extended power play, which almost came back to bite them. Philadelphia finished off regulation with a series of quality scoring chances, including a cross ice pass to Carle that the former Sharks defenseman failed to handle.

Offsetting penalties to Murray and Kimo Timmonen in the overtime, forced a 3-on-3 situation for the final two minutes. The last play of the extra session would prove to be the most agonizing for the Flyers and their fans.

With 5 seconds left in the period, Mike Richards carried the puck up ice and into the Sharks zone, allowing Briere to get to the net. His shot clipped Heatley in the skate, redirecting past Niittymaki and into the Sharks goal. Video replay showed that the puck was straddling the goal line as time expired, so the goal was disallowed. The puck couldn’t have been any closer to ending the contest.

In the Shootout, Philadelphia elected to shoot first. Briere tried a backhand move that Niittymaki stoned with his right pad. Couture also went backhand, sliding a shot between Bobrovski’s pads for a goal. Giroux completely missed the net with a shot that went wide left. Clowe ended things with his patented backhand roofer that tucked under the crossbar.

Game Notes:

The Flyers last beat San Jose on December 21, 2000. The comeback marked the first time in franchise history that they overcame a three-goal deficit in the 3rd period to win a game in franchise history.

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1 2 3 OT SO T
SJ 1 0 3 0 1 5
PHI 0 3 1 0 0 4
1st period - 1, SJ, Clowe 6 (Wallin, Demers), 19:55.
2nd period - 2, PHI, Giroux 14 (Carter, Coburn), 6:21. 3, PHI, Leino 6 (Hartnell, Timonen), 10:20. 4, PHI, Zherdev 9 (Carle, Giroux), 11:09.
3rd period - 5, PHI, Hartnell 7 (Carle, Leino), 6:15. 6, SJ, Demers 1 (Heatley), 7:33. 7, SJ, Couture 13 (Clowe, Braun), 10:51. 8, SJ, Pavelski 9 (Thornton), 11:28, (pp).
Overtime - None.
Shootout - PHI: Briere (miss), Giroux miss). SJ: Couture (goal), Clowe (goal).
1st period - None.
2nd period - Murray, SJ (tripping), 8:00; Timonen, PHI (interference), 12:32.
3rd period - Demers, SJ (hooking), 1:00; Carter, PHI (cross checking), 8:43; Briere, PHI (tripping), 11:26; Pavelski, SJ (tripping), 12:50; Briere, PHI (high sticking – double minor), 13:27.
Overtime - Murray, SJ (roughing), 3:06; Timonen, PHI (interference), 3:06.
Shots Saves
SJ - Niittymaki 35 31
PHI - Bobrovski 33 29
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 6 9 15 3 33
PHI 9 14 9 3 35
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 5
PHI 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Logan Couture
Joe Pavelski
Ville Leino
Referees: L'Ecuyer, O'Rourke. Linesmen: Brisebois, Cherrey.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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