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Postgame Perspective: Fixing special teams a Flyers New Year's Resolution

Pavelski nets 2, Flyers fall to Sharks to end 2015 on sour note

West coast trips have not been kind to the Flyers in recent years, especially when the team makes the trip to San Jose.

The trend continued on Wednesday night.

The Flyers saw an early lead in the third slip as the Sharks scored three goals to down the Flyers in their final game of 2015, 4-2, on Wednesday night at SAP Center.

The Flyers and Sharks skated to a scoreless first period that featured minimal action. Aside from a series of jousting matches between Radko Gudas and Joe Thornton, there was not much happening at either end of the ice. The Sharks led in shots after the first, 9-3.

In the second, the Flyers turned up the energy to start the period, taking the first four shots of the period. The Sharks would take the momentum on a power play midway through the period, as Thornton beat Steve Mason from in close to open the scoring at 9:53. 

From there, the Flyers survived a flurry of chances by San Jose before finally solving Martin Jones in the unlikeliest of ways. Claude Giroux fired a shot off a face-off from the right circle and caught Jones off guard, tying the game at 15:49 of the period.

Shots for the second were 11-10 San Jose as the two teams went to the dressing rooms with in a 1-1 tie.

Early in the third, the Flyers ended up with two breakaway chances on Jones. Michael Raffl was stopped on a snap shot from the slot after creating a breakaway on a blocked shot. On a 3-on-1, Wayne Simmonds got the puck ahead to Sean Couturier. Couturier charged in and made a great move to beat Jones and give the Flyers the lead.

Just 1:35 later, with R.J. Umberger in the box for slashing, the Sharks tied the game on a power play goal by Brent Burns.

On another power play chance later in the period, the Sharks would regain the lead. A rush up the ice created separation on the Flyers defense. As Gudas followed the puck carrier, Justin Braun made a cross-ice pass to an open Joe Pavelski, who fired a one-timer past Mason to give the Sharks the lead with 6:17 to play, just as time expired on the penalty.

The Flyers were not able to mount the comeback, as the Sharks continued to press and forced another late penalty. Pavelski would score his second goal of the game, and 20th of the season, with 49 seconds remaining in the third to ice the game. It was the Sharks third power-play goal of the season.

The Sharks outshot the Flyers, 33-19, for the game. The Sharks power play was 3-for-5, while the Flyers went 0-for-3.

The Flyers will return to the ice in the new year, as their next game comes on Saturday, Jan. 2, in Los Angeles against the Kings. The opening face-off is set for 4 p.m.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.


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