Tomas Hertl breaks the stealth mode curse with overtime winner, lifting Sharks past Flyers 3-2

The San Jose Sharks capped off a 7-game homestead Thursday night, welcoming the Philadelphia Flyers into town.

The Sharks came into Thursday night’s contest looking to keep the offense rolling, coming off an 8-goal outburst Tuesday night in a 8-7 shootout win over the Arizona Coyotes.

The Flyers came into SAP Center riding a 6-game point streak, having won 5 of their last 6 games with the lone loss coming in a shootout.

Martin Jones made his first return to the Tank after signing with Philadelphia this past offseason after San Jose decided to buyout the remaining 3 years of his 6-year deal. Unfortunately for Sharks fans looking to see Jones in net for his return, rookie goaltender Felix Sandstrom made his NHL debut between the pipes for the Flyers.

On the Sharks side of the ice, James Reimer took the crease for the second-straight game, looking to bounce-back after giving up 7 goals Tuesday night.

Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro was added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list less than an hour before puck drop, making him unavailable for Thursday’s matchup, while forward Jonathan Dahlen was removed from the list. Sharks goaltender Adin Hill was unavailable for the second-consecutive game due to being in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

The Sharks came out of the gates soaring, dominating a majority of the first period. San Jose recorded 11 of the first 14 shots of the game while sustaining constant pressure.

Despite the Sharks dominating play, Morgan Frost scored the loan goal of the period for the Flyers to give them a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

Starting off the second period with the Sharks looking for a spark, Jeffrey Viel dropped the gloves with Nick Seeler. Viel and Seeler traded numerous heavy blows before the officials skated in to break it up, earning stick taps from both benches.

Not long after the tilt, with the Sharks on the penalty kill, Logan Couture tied the game shorthanded with his 11th goal of the season. Couture skated in on a breakaway after a fortuitous bounce and snapped a wrist shot past Sandstrom.

Exactly two minutes after Couture’s equalizer, Brent Burns netted his 3rd goal of the season to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead. Tomas Hertl dished out a beautiful pass to a streaking Burns, who found himself wide-open before sending a slap shot past Sandstrom. Hertl’s primary assist on the goal extended his point streak to a career-long eight games.

Just as the Sharks did in the first period, San Jose dominated play in the middle frame. Heading into the second intermission, the Sharks held a 28-16 edge in the shot department.

San Jose went straight to the power play coming out of the dressing room after Travis Sanheim was sent to the box in the closing moments of the second. The Sharks registered 5 shots on the power play, including some high-quality opportunities, that were all turned away by Sandstrom.

With 12:27 left in the final frame, Timo Meier was sent to the box for hooking Travis Sanheim. Only 4 seconds after Meier’s penalty, Brent Burns was called for tripping James van Riemsdyk, giving the Flyers a 5-on-3 penalty for 1:56.

With the game on the line, the Sharks penalty kill came up huge, killing off both penalties. San Jose only surrendered two shots on goal while killing off Philadelphia’s two-man advantage. James Reimer came up huge with a brilliant pad save on the Flyers only decent chance.

As the game started to wind down, Joel Farabee scored his 9th goal of the season to tie the game back up with 4:03 left in the third.

For the second-consecutive game, the Sharks gave up a late goal in the third period to push the game to overtime. San Jose took a whopping 44-23 lead in shots into overtime.

With 31 seconds left in overtime, Tomas Hertl buried his team-leading 16th goal of the season for the game-winner. Erik Karlsson skated in with Hertl to his left on a 2-on-1 break. EK65 dished out a perfect pass to Hertl, who on the second attempt, sent the puck to the back of the net.

For the first time this season, the Sharks pulled out a win while wearing their black stealth mode uniforms. In a dominating performance, San Jose ended the game with a 46-25 advantage in the shot department.

James Reimer had the bounce-back game he was looking for, saving 23 of the 25 shots that he faced, including turning away a couple of high-quality chances.

Jacob Middleton was a standout in tonight’s contest, ending the game with two assists. The hero of the game, Tomas Hertl, ended the night with a goal and an assist to extend his point streak to eight.

The Sharks will now head to Pittsburgh for a Sunday showdown with the Penguins, kicking off a 4-game road trip.

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