SAN JOSE, Calif. - There’s something about the San Jose Sharks that turns the Flyers into bait.
It happened again on Wednesday night.
Joe Pavelski scored just as a penalty expired, snapping a 2-2 tie with 6 minutes, 15 seconds left, helping San Jose rally past the Flyers, 4-2, at the SAP Center.
Pavelski added the Sharks’ third power-play goal of the night with 48.4 seconds remaining.
In the last 15 years, the Flyers have just one win in 19 games against the Sharks. Their latest loss featured three San Jose power-play goals, and another goal that was scored before Shayne Gostisbehere could get back in the play as he left the penalty box.
In the last two games, the Flyers have allowed five power-play goals in nine chances.
"At the start of the year, we had a stretch where we kind of got hot and killed off a lot in a row," defenseman Luke Schenn said, "and now it's killing us again."
"We've got to do a better job of staying out of the box," said captain Claude Giroux, whose team committed 10 penalties for 31 minutes.
About a minute before Pavelski’s first goal, Brent Burns leveled Chris VandeVelde, lowering his shoulder into his face and causing him to hit the ice hard. No penalty was called, much to the disbelief of Flyers coach Dave Hakstol.
"In my opinion, it's a direct contact to the head. A guy that's engaged with another player without the puck," Hakstol said. "...That needs to be called."
After the game, VandeVelde said he felt "OK." He did not return to the game after the hit, with about eight minutes left.
Burns’ power-play goal from the right circle, scored while R.J. Umberger was in the penalty box for slashing, tied the game at 2-2 with 14:06 left in the third period.
Just 1:35 earlier, the Flyers had taken their first lead of the night.
Sean Couturier scored on a breakaway with 15:41 left to put the Flyers ahead, 2-1. Jake Voracek forced a turnover in the Flyers’ defensive end that was recovered by Wayne Simmonds, leading to the rush that ended with Couturier putting a backhander into the net.
Couturier scored 44 seconds after Martin Jones made a glove save to stop Michael Raffl on a breakaway.
The Flyers have lost five straight (0-3-2) to San Jose.
The Flyers tied the score at 1-all on a gift goal, scored by Giroux on faceoff.
Giroux’s shot off the draw bounced off the chest of unsuspecting goalie Martin Jones and dribbled between his legs and over the goal line with 4:11 left in the second.
“I was just trying to get the puck to the net and maybe create a rebound,” said Giroux, who won the draw over Joe Thornton and ended a five-game pointless streak with the bizarre goal. “I think the goalie was surprised.”
Added Giroux: “It’s funny because me and a couple of the guys were actually practicing this the last practice, but I didn’t think I was going to try it.”
The Sharks had taken a 1-0 lead on Thornton’s fifth power-play goal of the season.
Thornton took a pass from Patrick Marleau at the bottom of the right circle, skated a few strides and beat Steve Mason high and to the short side with 10:07 remaining in the second.
The Flyers' penalty killers gave the Sharks too much space.
"The penalty kill didn't do the job tonight," Mason said. "You have to come up with big saves on the penalty kill. It would have been nice to make the save on the third goal, but at the end of the day, the goaltender is a big part of the penalty kill and we all have to be better on it."
Michal Neuvirth was scheduled to start for the Flyers, but he became ill before the game, forcing Mason into the nets.
Nick Schultz was in the penalty box for tripping when Thornton scored. VandeVelde and Tommy Wingels were also in the box for fighting, and Wingels — who came to Dainius Zubrus’ rescue — was fortunate not to get an instigator penalty.
The Flyers, on their second stop of their three-game West Coast swing, had little attack time during a scoreless first period in which they were outshot, 9-3.
Mason made his best save with 5:42 left in the first, stopping Joel Ward from point-blank range.
About 1:30 later, Gostisbehere, firing from above the left circle, blasted a shot that caromed off Jones and off the post.
The Flyers conclude their trip by playing in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon. The Flyers dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the visiting Kings on Nov.
17, a game in which Gostisbehere collected his first career goal.
Breakaways. The Flyers were outshot, 33-19....Radko Gudas and Thornton had several run-ins during the game.… Logan Couture sparked the Sharks' PP in his return from an undisclosed injury that forced him to miss seven games.....The ice was in poor condition, thanks to an AHL game played at the SAP Center earlier in the day… San Jose has been playing so badly at home this year that head coach Peter DeBoer, hoping to change the team’s fortunes, switched the morning skates to their practice rink earlier this week. The Sharks entered the night with an NHL-worst 4-10 home record.… Schultz is five games shy of 1,000 in his NHL career.