Sharks score with 11.5 seconds left to beat Flyers
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Flyers' road misery continued on Tuesday night, this time at the SAP Center. San Jose scored a 2-1 win when Matt Nieto scored on a rebound with 11.5 seconds left after the Sharks' Tommy Wingel and Braydon Coburn collided with goalie Steve Mason.
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Flyers' road misery continued Tuesday night, this time at the SAP Center.
San Jose registered a stunning 2-1 win when Matt Nieto scored on a rebound with 11.5 seconds left after the Sharks' Tommy Wingels and Braydon Coburn collided with goalie Steve Mason.
The goal handed the Flyers their eighth straight road loss (0-7-1). That's the longest they have gone without a road win since an 0-7-2 streak in 1999.
Sean Couturier scored his first goal in 11 games - appeasing Flyers chairman Ed Snider, who pleaded for some secondary scoring the other day - and rookie Scott Laughton recorded the first point of his NHL career.
But it didn't matter, even though the Flyers played one of their better road games of the season.
After a neutral-zone turnover by Brayden Schenn with 20 seconds to go, the puck bounced off defenseman Nick Schultz' stick and went to Patrick Marleau, who sped ahead of the pack. Mason stopped Marleau's shot, but the goalie collided with Coburn and Wingels, and Nieto knocked the rebound into an empty net.
"We just have to be smarter. We have to realize the situation and the time of the game and be better," Schultz said. "We can't give them an opportunity like that with under a minute to go in the game."
The Flyers, who play in Anaheim on Wednesday night, have been outscored by 27-12 in their last eight road games.
"It's funny to say after you lose that you can build on that game, but I think we have to keep our heads high," captain Claude Giroux said. "We were winning battles, we were playing together, supporting each other."
The Flyers had a two-on-one with just under two minutes left in regulation, but Antti Niemi made a chest save on Coburn.
The Sharks controlled the second period and tied the score at 1-all on Marc-Edouard Vlasic's goal with 2:16 left in the stanza. Vlasic got a stride in front of Giroux and scored on a three-on-two rush, beating Mason with a left-circle drive.
Couturier's power-play goal had given the Flyers an early 1-0 lead, marking the first time this season they had scored the first goal in their 12 road games. After taking a pass from Laughton, Couturier scored from the left circle with 14 minutes left in the first period.
The Flyers dominated the opening period, outshooting the Sharks, 16-6, and taking the 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
The Flyers have lost nine of their last 10, but they believe they can build off this defeat.
"We played the right way tonight; we played together as a team," Schultz said.
"If we give that kind of effort (Wednesday) and on a consistent basis, we should get some wins," Couturier said.
Mason said the loss was disappointing, "but you take the positive out of how the team played. It's not easy coming out here with the time change. You just have to put this behind you as quickly as possible."
That said, Mason, now 4-9-2, is getting sick of losing.
"I think we're all tired of moral victories," he said. "The team played a good game, but if you don't win, it's not good enough. Everybody's frustrated. Everybody's ticked off."
"When we win one game, I think everybody will relax and enjoy the game a little more," Giroux said.
"That was probably one of our better games, and it's tough not to come out with at least one point," Schenn said.
"We played a positive game; it's better than getting bleep-kicked," Coburn said.
Trying to wake up his floundering team, Flyers coach Craig Berube continued a recent pattern of benching some of his healthy regulars.
Berube benched Michael Del Zotto - who has struggled lately, but was arguably the team's best defenseman in the season's first month - and veteran Vinny Lecavalier, a 405-goal scorer who will get strong Hall of Fame consideration when his career ends. Lecavalier has not scored a goal in his last 12 games.
In recent games, Berube has benched Luke Schenn twice, Andrew MacDonald, and Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare.
"That's a sign that everyone has to be held accountable and responsible," Del Zotto said before the game.
TSN reported that Lecavalier is so frustrated he is considering retiring after next season, thus forefeiting a total of $6 million - and giving the Flyers $4.5 million in salary-cap space each year.