Game 19 Preview: Flyers look to finish against Sharks


The Flyers shootout loss on Tuesday to Los Angeles had everything but the finish. The Kings tied the game in the final minute of regulation and the Flyers couldn’t convert in overtime or the shootout to grab the extra point.

But after one of their better efforts of the season, the Flyers can bring that confidence into a game against another tough Western Conference team. The San Jose Sharks await the Flyers on Thursday night at Wells Fargo Center.

The opening face-off is set for 7 p.m.

It’s no secret the Flyers performance has been better with Shayne Gostisbehere in the lineup. Gostisbehere got his first NHL point on the game-tying goal in Carolina on Saturday and scored his first NHL goal on Tuesday.

The Flyers top line of Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek and recently added Brayden Schenn showed plenty of life as well in Tuesday’s game, finally cashing in for a goal with just under eight minutes to play.

Steve Mason also turned in a solid game on Tuesday, making 38 saves in regulation and overtime before allowing the only goal of the shootout. Mason is 3-5-3 on the season with a 3.21 GAA and .902 save percentage.

The Sharks come in with a 10-8-0 record, good for 20 total points. 

San Jose is led in points by Joe Pavelski with 18 total, including a team-high 10 goals. Joel Ward, Brent Burns and Joe Thornton are each tied with 14 points. Thornton has 11 assists, good for the team lead.

Patrick Marleau trails right behind with 11 points, and has a career milestone within reach. The veteran forward's next point will be the 1,000th of his career.

In addition to Burns offensive savvy on the blue line, Paul Martin, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun hold down the fort in the defensive end. The Sharks allow 2.61 goals per game, but just 27.6 shots per game.

In goal, Martin Jones will get the start. Jones is 9-5-0 with a 2.25 GAA and .918 save percentage. 

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (T-25th, 27th at home), Sharks (24th, 7th on road) 
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (26th, 27th at home), Sharks (23rd, 18th on road)
  • The Flyers lost both meetings against the Sharks last season. The Flyers suffered a late 2-1 defeat in San Jose on Dec. 2 and fell in a shootout, 3-2, in Philadelphia on March 28.
  • Flyers leaders vs. Sharks
    • Claude Giroux – 9 games, 5 goals, 4 assists, 9 points
    • Sam Gagner - 32 games, 5 goals, 17 assists, 22 points
    • Wayne Simmonds – 22 games, 5 goals, 3 assists, 8 points
    • Steve Mason – 16 games, 6-8-2, 2.71 GAA
  • Milestone Watch: Wayne Simmonds needs three assists to reach 100 as a Flyer. Sean Couturier is playing in his 300th NHL game tonight. Michael Del Zotto is playing in his 400th NHL game tonight.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Line 1: Brayden Schenn-Claude Giroux-Jake Voracek
Line 2: Matt Read-Sean Couturier-Wayne Simmonds
Line 3: Taylor Leier-Scott Laughton-Sam Gagner
Line 4: Michael Raffl-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare-Chris VandeVelde

D-Pair 1: Michael Del Zotto-Radko Gudas
D-Pair 2: Nick Schultz-Luke Schenn
D-Pair 3: Brandon Manning-Shayne Gostisbehere
Goalie: Steve Mason

Scratches: Vincent Lecavalier, R.J. Umberger, Ryan White, Mark Streit, Evgeny Medvedev

Where to Watch
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

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

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