Flyers drop a heartbreaker to Sharks in San Jose

The Philadelphia Flyers played arguably their best road game of the season, for 59 minutes. Sean Couturier gave them a first period lead. San Jose got a late goal in the second. Matt Nieto scored with 11 seconds left and the Philadelphia Flyers fell to the San Jose Sharks 2-1 at the SAP Center.

It was a much better start for the Flyers. For the first time all season, Philadelphia scored the first goal on the road. Sean Couturier got his fifth of the season just six minutes in for an early 1-0 lead.

With James Shepard in the box for interference, Couturier fired home his first career power play goal at the six minute mark of the first period. He took a pass from Scott Laughton just above the circle and beat Antti Niemi.

The assist was Laughton's first NHL point. 

The Flyers would outshoot the Sharks 16-6 in the period and had the jump they have been missing during their current four game losing streak. Steve Mason, though not busy, made some big saves early before Philadelphia was able to capitalize.

The second period saw the Sharks start to dictate play some as they would outshoot the Flyers 13-6. Early in the period the Flyers took what was their only minor penalty of the game.

Nicklas Grossmann turned the puck over behind his own net and subsequently tripped Tomas Hertl. Mason made a string of saves on the penalty kill to keep the Flyers ahead. 

Grossmann would ironically have the Flyers best chance of the period. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare hit Grossmann on the tape with a long stretch pass as he came out of the box. Grossmann made a nice move in tight but could not bury the puck.

With a little more than two minutes left int the period, San Jose came down on a counter rush. Logan Couture made a pass to Tommy Wingels who found a streaking Marc-Edouard Vlasic in the slot. Vlasic beat Masion high glove side to tie the game at the end of two periods of play.

The third period saw some great end to end action. Both teams had chances. Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds showed great speed coming down the wing but was foiled by Niemi. Braydon Coburn led the Flyers down the ice on a 3 on 1 chance but could not put the puck in the net.

The best chance for San Jose came off a turnover at the Sharks line as Andrew Desjardins went in alone on Mason. The centerman made one too many moves and ran out of real estate in tight and never got a shot off.

It seemed as though the game was headed for overtime with less than a minute to play. San Jose jumped on a bouncing puck at center ice and after two great saves by Mason, Matt Nieto scored with 11 seconds left to give the Sharks the victory.

Mason made 25 saves in the loss. The Flyer netminder once again played well enough to deserve a better fate. Niemi made 28 saves for the win. 

With the loss, the Flyers are now 1-8-1 in their last ten games. San Jose has won back to back games after losing four straight. 

There will be no rest for the orange and black as they take on the Ducks in Anaheim tomorrow night. Game time is 10:00.

Bill Minchin is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow Bill on Twitter @wtfd103074

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