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Sharks bust out of slump in impressive fashion behind trio of youngsters

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On a night full of firsts, the San Jose Sharks hope the 6-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers will mark the beginning of a midseason turn-around.

Rookies Mario Ferraro and Joel Kellman each scored their first NHL goals, and Timo Meier recorded his first NHL hat trick as the Sharks (17-20-3) broke a four-game losing streak against the Flyers (21-12-5) Saturday night inside the SAP Center. 

Interim head coach Bob Bougher said he could see that a message he had delivered earlier in the day about his team embracing its identity had been received:

“We want to be a harder team to play against. I thought we were a heck of a lot more physical. We were on the body … that’s got to be a staple of our game.”

The Sharks outhit the Flyers 31-14.

Halfway through the first period, Ferraro broke the puck out of the Sharks zone to get it to Barclay Goodrow, who lifted a backhand pass back to Ferraro. Ferraro powered a one-timer past Carter Hart for his first NHL goal in his 34th career game. Ferraro said:

“I feel amazing. It was unbelievable. I think what made it more special is just the fact we got the win tonight. That’s huge for our group.”

The Sharks put the pressure on early in the second period, putting three shots on goal in the first minute and scoring soon after.

Radim Simek‘s stretch pass gave Kellman a breakaway, allowing the rookie to put a backhand shot through Hart’s legs for his first NHL goal. Playing in his fifth NHL game, Kellman put the Sharks ahead 2-0 just 2:40 into the second period. Ferraro also assisted on the eventual game-winning goal. Kellman said:

“Of course [I’m going to] remember it for the rest of my life. It’s a great feeling. But as I said, we just have to like keep working and get on the road here.”

Halfway through the second period, another young Shark scored. Meier redirected Burns’ shot past Hart to extend the lead to 3-0. 

But the final period would be the team’s true test. Recently, the Sharks have been denied wins based on third periods alone, having been outscored 24-7 in third period in their last 10 games.

A sign of another potential third period breakdown came early, as Ian Provorov scored a power play goal on a one-time blast to put the Flyers on the scoreboard.

But the Sharks moved on quickly. A minute later, a Philadelphia turnover resulted in a 2-on-1 rush for Evander Kane and Meier. Kane setup Meier for a tap-in goal, his second of the night, to put the Sharks ahead 4-1. Bougher said:

“I thought we kept our poise. We did some good things, they came out to start the third period, we gave up a power play goal. On the very next shift we score, Timo’s second goal of the game. That was important, that bounce back. “

Goaltender Martin Jones helped manage a late-game push by the Flyers, making 14 saves in the third period. Playing in his second game in 14 days, Jones stopped 26 of 27  shots for a .962 save percentage. Boughner said:

“I think that there were times in the game when we really need him to make that big save and and he did, he supplied it. I think that’s one of the sharpest games I’ve seen him play this year.”

With seven minutes remaining in the third period, Kane skated out from behind the Flyers net and threaded a pass across to Meier at the backdoor. Meier quickly swept the puck behind Hart to complete the hat trick, giving the Sharks a 5-1 lead with 5:08 left in the game. Meier said:

“It’s nice to get the first hat trick. More importantly, we got a win. I thought my line played great, they were a big part of the three goals. We played a physical game, we played a hard game, that’s the way we’ve got to play.”

And the goals kept coming. Marcus Sorensen slipped the puck between Provorov’s legs while driving to the Philadelphia net and Patrick Marleau chipped the rebound in to seal the Sharks’ second win this December. Team captain Logan Couture said:

“It’s one win, that’s it. In the grand scheme of things, we’re still near the bottom. So we’re going to need to win a lot more games.”

Up next

The Sharks will travel to play the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

Notes

With both Ferraro and Kellman scoring, this was the sixth time in franchise history that two Sharks scored their first NHL goals in the same game. Thornton recorded his 1,079th point of his NHL career, tying him for 7th on the NHL’s all-time list with Adam Oates. Melker Karlsson left the game after taking a puck to the head in the first period. Bougher said he received stitches and is still being evaluated.

Brian Truong

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