“When you have a chance to play with guys on a line like that it’s just fun,” Heatley said. “Those guys open up a lot of room.”
“You drop your mouth every time you see Joe do something like that,” Malhotra said. “He’s a special player, a special passer. On that first one, I think there were 17,000 people who wanted him to shoot. There aren’t many players who have the patience to make that play.”
Thornton, who had points on each of Heatley’s goals, earned four assists. He matched his franchise record and has 30 points this season.
“Throw in Marleau, and that was the first time all three guys played together the whole game,” Thornton said. “Those guys must have 30 goals between them. When you’re passing to those guys, it’s a passer’s dream.”
Heatley notched his second hat trick of the season, and the ninth of his career.
“Just moving the puck, skating and creating chances,” he said. “It was a fun game to play.”
Giroux had his first career multigoal game.
The matchup of two of the NHL’s top offensive clubs didn’t disappoint as the action remained furious throughout.
“They beat you every which way you can imagine,” Flyers coach John Stevens said. “That top line kind of took the game away.”
Heatley leads the NHL with 17 goals, and Thornton has a league-best 24 assists. The Flyers and Sharks combined for 14 goals in two meetings this season.
Heatley helped create his first goal after picking up a loose puck along the boards as Chris Pronger(notes) fell going after it, and dishing it to Thornton before skating to the net. Thornton split two defenders and put the puck on Heatley’s stick in front of an open net 50 seconds into the middle period.
Pronger had his skates fixed between the first and second periods.
“The ice conditions were bad but I thought I got the problem fixed,” the defenseman said. “That’s a goal they shouldn’t have. The puck was on our stick and down I go.”
Heatley’s short-handed goal 8:41 into the third period was a near duplicate. He completed his hat trick and gave the Sharks a 5-3 lead with a power-play goal with 7:16 left in the game.
“He’s the goal scorer,” Thornton said. “I thought about shooting, but then I saw Dany. He gave me the puck the first two times and I found him in the exact same spot.”
NOTES: D Jason Demers(notes) leads NHL rookies with 12 assists. … Flyers D Matt Carle(notes) has recorded assists in two consecutive games following a six-game scoreless streak. … All four of Malhotra’s goals have been scored against Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. … Briere scored his third goal in five games since returning from an injury. … Emery made his first career start against the Sharks. … The Sharks have scored an NHL-leading 40 goals in the second period. … The Flyers are winless in San Jose since Nov. 15, 1999. … Heatley has 28 points—18 goals—in 28 games against the Flyers.