Home ice hasn't exactly been friendly to the Sharks this season. With a home record of 4-10-0 and zero wins at SAP Center in the month of December prior to last night's game, the Sharks are really struggling in their own territory, but the win against Philadelphia provides the Sharks with renewed hope. The 4-2 victory over the Flyers gives San Jose yet another chance to string together a couple of wins at home in the new year.
The Power Play
The Sharks couldn't have rallied back from 2-1 without the power play. Three of the four Sharks goals were scored on power plays. It was clear early on that the refs were handing out penalties left and right, but at least they were consistent throughout the game. Overall, the Sharks went three for six on the power play. San Jose was granted a lot of opportunities with the man advantage, and with each one, they looked more confident.
The first power play was especially crucial for shifting momentum. The Flyers came into the second period with a little more "umph" than the Sharks, but it was clear that San Jose was hungry for a win. There was a lot of electricity in the building and on the ice which amounted to a scrap between Tommy Wingels and Chris VandeVelde that got things going for the Sharks.
With the extra energy boost from Wingels and Nick Shultz joining VandeVelde in the box for hooking against Zubrus, the Sharks were able to push back against the Flyers with a PP Goal. The Sharks power play is now fifth in the league and could really be a huge asset moving forward.
Joe Pavelski had a great game against the Flyers, scoring two of the Sharks goals in the 3rd period, including the game winner. In his first year as Sharks' captain, Pavs has 20 goals and 18 assists so far this season, and the Sharks are relying on him to keep up that kind of consistency throughout the rest of the season.
Pavelski's two goals in the third -- the go-ahead goal at 13:45 and the one in the dying seconds of the game -- really reflected the energy of the game. They were exciting goals that brought the entire arena to their feet and I can only hope to see more of that in the new year.
The Return of Logan Couture
The Sharks should certainly be happy to have Couture back in the line up. Couture finished the night with two points (2A) and earned third star of the game. It's been a tough first-half of the season without Logan and with him back, the Sharks only improve their chances of clinching a playoff spot. The Sharks will no doubt be trying to rejuvenate the sizzling chemistry that Logan had on the second line with Joel Ward and Patrick Marleau early-on.
Couture got the primary assist on Brent Burns' PP Goal in the 2nd period, which tied the game 2-2. The Sharks looked more confident in their second power play than in their first. Couture was able to get-off a great pass to Burns that led to the tying goal. Couture looked confident in his first game back, and if he's confident, I'm confident. That's a lot of confidence leading into 2016, something the Sharks are definitely going as the season goes on.
With Couture back in the line-up, Pavelski lighting up the ice, and the power play clicking, the Sharks just feel more like a complete team. The 4-2 victory over the Flyers was a great way to bring in a new year, and hopefully San Jose can keep their players off the IR and continue to do what they did last night against Philadelphia.