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Flyers 5, Sharks 2

The SportsXchange

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The Flyers scored three times during a 2:45 stretch early in the third period Monday, and Philadelphia rallied past the Sharks 5-2, winning in San Jose for the first time since November 1999.

Even-strength goals by forwards Matt Reid, Michael Raffl and Claude Giroux were enough to chase San Jose's starting goalie, Antti Niemi, who was both lucky and good during the opening 40 minutes. The Sharks nursed a 2-1 lead to the second intermission.

Things quickly fell apart for the hosts early in the final period, and San Jose (35-16-6) lost for the fourth time in 26 games.

Reid drove wide after Philadelphia won a defensive-zone draw, and his wrister from the far edge of the right circle changed direction after tipping off defenseman Matt Irwin's stick, beating Niemi stick-side at 1:11. Reid's 15th goal of the season tied the game.

Sharks defensemen Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun lost a battle in the corner and watched as Raffl scored from the slot at 2:29 on a juicy rebound of defenseman Erik Gustafsson's shot from the left point.

Giroux scored his 18th goal and chased Niemi in favor of backup goalie Alex Stalock at 3:56 with a shot that was partially screened by Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle.

Flyers right winger Jakub Voracek scored his 15th goal at 17:44 for insurance.

Niemi came up big during a second period dominated territorially and in shots by the Flyers, who trailed after 40 minutes despite holding a 19-13 edge in shots.

Philadelphia's best chances in the middle period, in fact, were efforts that missed the net entirely. Left winger Scott Hartnell fired wide from the bottom of the right circle while looking at an open net after Niemi left a rebound on Voracek's shot nine minutes in.

Gustafsson's one-timer went over the net from the left circle as he trailed on a three-on-two break six minutes later.

The Sharks had a chance to extend their lead to two goals during a late-period power play, but right winger Brent Burns' drive from the left circle tipped off Philadelphia goalie Steve Mason and the goalpost.

The Sharks took a one-goal lead into the first intermission, snapping a power-play drought in the process after allowing the game's first goal.

Rookie left winger Matt Nieto atoned for taking an early and costly penalty by tipping a cross-ice feed from right winger Tommy Wingels past Mason 78 seconds into defenseman Nicklas Grossmann's interference minor.

The power-play strike snapped an 0-for-16 drought by the Sharks over six games.

Nieto struck again at 12:32 at even strength with his first career multi-goal game. Linemate Burns did the heavy lifting, winning a battle in the corner with Giroux, then sending a perfect backhand pass behind two Flyers defenders. Nieto darted around Mason to score low on the forehand.

The visitors broke on top just 38 seconds after Nieto hooked Philadelphia defenseman Braydon Coburn early in the first period. Defenseman Mark Streit's drive from the high slot went through a screen provided by right winger Wayne Simmonds in front of Niemi at 4:23.

Mason made 20 saves for the win. Niemi stopped 19 of the 23 shots he faced. Stalock, stopped four of five shots.

NOTES: San Jose was unbeaten in its previous 13 games against Philadelphia. ... The city of Plover, Wis., decreed Feb. 7 as "Joe Pavelski Day" in recognition of the San Jose center's achievements both on and off the ice. Pavelski, who was born in Plover, will be on the U.S. Olympic team. ... The Flyers concluded a three-game road trip. They host the Calgary Flames on Thursday in their penultimate game before the Olympic break. The Sharks host the Minnesota Wild on Thursday in the third of four straight at home. ... Rookie D Matt Tennyson was promoted from AHL Worcester to give San Jose seven players on the blue line, as D Jason Demers missed his second consecutive game with a lower-body injury. ... San Jose RW Tyler Kennedy took warm-ups but was scratched for a third straight game. ... Philadelphia continues to play without D Kimmo Timonen (bruised foot). ... Flyers LW Jay Rosehill and D Hal Gill did not dress.
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