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Flyers vs. Sharks recap: Penalty kill dooms Philadelphia

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For the second straight time this season, the Flyers largely outplayed the San Jose Sharks at even strength only to fall to them on the scoreboard. This time, it was a floundering penalty kill that kept Philadelphia from a win.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Holding onto a 2-1 lead with fifteen minutes remaining in a road contest against the San Jose Sharks, the Philadelphia Flyers looked on their way to a hard-earned win to close out 2015.

The Sharks' power play had other ideas.

Brent Burns tied the game after an R.J. Umberger slashing penalty, and two late goals by Joe Pavelski would seal the outcome, giving the Sharks a 4-2 victory over the Flyers. Philadelphia actually won the shot attempts battle at even strength handily (43-29), but failed to contain the Sharks' power play. Three of San Jose's four goals were scored on the man advantage, and the fourth goal came just after a Flyers penalty had expired. Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier were the goal scorers for Philadelphia, who lost their second straight game to finish the calendar year at 15-14-7.

After a sleepy first period that consisted of only 12 combined shots from both clubs, the offenses finally got going in the second period. Joe Thornton kicked off the Flyers' penalty killing woes that would last throughout the game. The former Sharks captain beat Mason from in close with a high wrist shot to put his team in front.

Claude Giroux would strike back minutes later, however. Entrusted with an offensive zone faceoff, Giroux took a shot from the faceoff dot rather than pulling the puck back to a defenseman. It barely slipped past the startled Martin Jones to give the Flyers an unlikely tally, tying the game at one-all.

A defensive breakdown helped the Flyers finally take the lead four minutes into the third. Forcing a turnover while San Jose was on the attack in the offensive zone, the Flyers charged down the ice on a three-on-none break, with only a sliding tackle from Brent Burns preventing all three forwards from skating in on Jones. It would be Sean Couturier who would do the honors, beating the Sharks goaltender with a slick deke in close.

The lead would be shortlived, however. Umberger's offensive zone penalty less than sixty seconds later would put San Jose back on the power play, and Brent Burns made sure the Flyers would pay. Taking a slick pass from Logan Couture, Burns blasted a top-corner shot past Steve Mason to tie the game once more.

Then, things began to get ugly. Shayne Gostisbehere was whistled for a questionable hooking penalty that gave San Jose yet another man advantage. On the ensuing power play, Burns violently checked Chris VandeVelde, making contact with VandeVelde's head and forcing the Philadelphia forward to the locker room. Yet no penalty was called on the hit, allowing Joe Pavelski to score soon after, just as the Gostisbehere penalty expired.

Pavelski would score once more - again on the power play - with time running down in the third period to cement the victory for the Sharks. The Flyers have one more game left in their California road trip, against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday afternoon. In order to come away with a win, they'll need to clean up their penalty kill, which let them down tonight.

Comment of the Night:

Gold star to anyone who stays up for the whole game.

-- Kimmosahbee