You normally wouldn’t think that the goaltenders had a big night in a 5-3 decision, but both Brian Elliot and Martin Jones did everything they could to keep their teams in the game. In the end, it was the Flyers power play that made the difference with three goals on their first four shots on the man advantage.
The Flyers and Sharks came out with a ton of end-to-end action of Wednesday night right off the opening draw. The Flyers brand new left winger Claude Giroux opened scoring at 8:28 of the first period. Goaltender Martin Jones tried to play the puck behind the net, but his pass hit a stick and went right to Jakub Voracek, who quickly found a wide open Giroux in the slot for the one-timer.
Jordan Weal doubled the Flyers lead on the power play less than three minutes later as the kids showed that speed kills in today’s NHL. Shayne Gostisbehere made a stretch pass to Weal, who deferred to Travis Konency and headed towards the net. Konecny made a nice lead pass back to Weal whose wrist shot beat Jones to the far post.
Youngster Kevin Lebanc missed on a pair of golden scoring chances early in the opening period, but he came through late in the frame. He cut the Flyers lead in half at 17:17 by getting to the front of the net and swatting the rebound off a Brendan Dillon shot out of mid-air past Brian Elliott.
The 21-year-old forward struck again with just 19 seconds left in the opening period to tie the game. With the Sharks on the power play, Labanc kept the puck in the zone and fired a wrist shot through a Tomas Hertl screen to even things up.
Wayne Simmonds scored the only goal of the second period as he gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead at 17:36 by having a point shot from Gostisbehere hit him in the shin pad and get into the Sharks net. The secondary assist was credited to Voracek.
Logan Couture tied the game on the power play at the 3:12 mark of the third period as his centering pass hit off the skate of Andrew MacDonald and got in behind Elliott.
Just over six minutes later, the Flyers scored their third power play goal of the night with Labanc in the box. This time Simmonds got to the front of the net to redirect a Voracek shot past Jones. Gostisbehere picked up his third helper of the night as well with the secondary assist.
Simmonds completed his second career hat trick with an empty net goal assisted by Sean Couturier in the final minute of the game.
In the end, Elliott made 32 saves in his first of hopefully many wins in a Flyers uniform. The Flyers will be right back at it at the Los Angeles Kings tomorrow night.