Claude Giroux and the Flyers scored four third-period goals in a 5-2 win against the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 3. (Photo Courtesy of Flyers.com)
The last time we left the Philadelphia Flyers, they had closed out a four-game winning streak at home against the Calgary Flames. The four-game streak also included a meeting with the San Jose Sharks on a West Coast road trip. A four-goal third period helped the Flyers rally for a 5-2 win over the Sharks that night.
That makes Thursday night's return to action a revenge game for the Sharks. The 37-16-6 Sharks face the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center for the first time since Dec. 8, 2010. The opening face-off commences at 7 p.m.
The Sharks possess a potent offense that was struggling to score when the Flyers made the trip to San Jose earlier this month. Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are always players to watch. The Sharks also have the benefit of Logan Couture, who missed the previous meeting between the two teams.
Those four players are the top scorers on the team, though Matt Nieto, Brent Burns and Tommy Wingels had success in the prior meeting between the two teams as well.
Defensively, the pair of Dan Boyle and Jason Demers lead the Sharks. In goal, Alex Stalock is expected to start in place of regular starter Antti Niemi. Niemi was pulled from the game against the Flyers on Feb. 3 after allowing the fourth goal of the game. Stalock is 8-4-0 with a 1.67 GAA and a .938 save percentage.
The Flyers will be returning from the break trying to extend the winning streak to a season-long five games. It is the first action for the likes of Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Scott Hartnell and more in three weeks. Four of the Flyers five Olympians will be playing in the return from the break. Defenseman Kimmo Timonen will sit out tonight's game for rest purposes and return on Saturday.
That will likely give Andrej Meszaros a start after his trip to Sochi and the Winter Olympics. Mark Streit, another Olympian, will also return along with Jake Voracek and Michael Raffl.
Steve Mason will start in goal after the break as well. Mason, who did not play in the Flyers last game against the Flames on Feb. 8, is 23-14-5 with a 2.49 GAA and .918 save percentage.
Flyers scratches: Kimmo Timonen, Hal Gill, Jay Rosehill
Flyers Projected Lineup
Line 1: Scott Hartnell-Claude Giroux-Jake VoracekLine 2: Vincent Lecavalier-Brayden Schenn-Wayne SimmondsLine 3: Matt Read-Sean Couturier-Steve DownieLine 4: Michael Raffl-Adam Hall-Zac Rinaldo
D-Pair 1: Nick Grossmann-Braydon CoburnD-Pair 2: Erik Gustafsson-Mark StreitD-Pair 3: Andrej Meszaros-Luke Schenn
Goalie: Steve Mason
Where to WatchTV: CSNRadio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Kevin Durso is the lead beat writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.