The Flyers might have put on the pressure early Tuesday night, and the crowd might have been extra excited with the arrival of their googly eyed new mascot, Gritty. But the San Jose Sharks were up to the task of ruining Philadelphia’s home opener.
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer threw his offensive lines into the blender ahead of the team’s game in Philadelphia, and the changes brought out the best in the San Jose squad. Joe Pavelski and Evander Kane scored two goals apiece, and the power play scored twice -- yes, the power play finally scored a goal -- as Team Teal skated to a convincing 8-2 victory.
Philadelphia had San Jose pinned in its own zone early in the first period. But Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski scored the first two goals of the game 11 seconds apart to open up the floodgates for San Jose’s offense. Netminder Aaron Dell held up his end of the bargain, putting on a magnificent performance, as he only allowed Shayne Gostisbehere’s goal in the second frame.
Here are three takeaways from the Sharks' big win.
Evander Kane sets the tone
This was slightly noticeable when No. 9 joined the Sharks last season. But in this young campaign, it’s undeniable that Kane's speed and physical play can set the tone for how the rest of the team can play. His ability to create chances gives the Sharks the chance to win on a regular basis.
It also doesn’t hurt that he scores some slick goals in the process. He was responsible for ending the Sharks’ power play drought with a deflection goal in the first period, just as San Jose’s time on the man advantage was about to expire. Speaking of which …
The power play no longer is snakebit
That being said, it still has some work to do. The second power play unit looked more in sync throughout the Sharks’ multiple opportunities on the man advantage, and not just because it got on the board first.
The top group finally did find the back of the net in the third frame when Tomas Hertl knocked in the rebound of Erik Karlsson’s shot. It’s possible that goal could give that group a boost and help them find chemistry akin to what the second unit has generated.
Should Aaron Dell get more starts?
This isn’t to say starter Martin Jones has been terrible, especially considering he made some big saves against the Islanders, and the Sharks’ offense didn’t give him any help. But Dell’s play in Philadelphia looked worthy of giving him another start in the not-too-distant future.
Dell successfully turned away all but two of the Flyers’ attempts to hit the back of the net, which should earn him another start -- maybe even on this road trip.