The Flyers may have put on the pressure early Tuesday evening, and the crowd may 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 Tuesday night tilt in Philadelphia, and the changes brought out the best in the San Jose squad. Joe Pavelski and Evander Kane scored two goals a piece 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 their own zone early in the first frame. But Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski scored the first two goals of the game 11 seconds apart to open up the flood gates 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 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 speed and physical play can set the tone for how the rest of the team can play. His ability to create chances gives this Sharks team 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’ PPG drought with a deflection goal in the first just as San Jose’s time on the man advantage was about to expire. Speaking of which …
The power play is no longer 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 they got on the board first.
The top group did finally 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 getting another start in the not-too-distant future. He 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.