PHILADELPHIA – Someone had to get the two points.
In a game that lacked energy and reflected the position the two teams are in with minuscule playoff odds, the Sharks beat the Flyers in a shootout, 3-2 at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday afternoon. Brent Burns got the deciding goal in the skills competition.
The Sharks improved to 3-3-0 on their seven-game road trip, which concludes on Sunday night in Pittsburgh.
San Jose had a chance to win it in overtime, after Brayden Schenn was given a minor for boarding Matt Irwin with 2:30 to go. Joe Pavelski had an open look on a one-timer, but missed the mark at 1:54 to go.
Instead, it took a shootout. Melker Karlsson and Jakub Voracek both scored before Burns floated a backhander over Steve Mason in the fifth round.
The Sharks lost top defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic with about four minutes left in the first period. He will miss at least one more game with a lower body injury.
The Sharks jumped out in front on Irwin’s eighth goal. The puck popped out to Irwin at the point after Chris Tierney drove it to the net, and Irwin’s shot found space through Mason at 4:38.
Philadelphia responded about two minutes later. Nicklas Grossmann’s slap shot deflected off of a couple bodies and hit the post, and Michael Raffl was there to whack in the loose puck off of Alex Stalock’s stick, after the Sharks goaltender lost his grip on it at 6:44.
A power play goal by Pavelski gave the Sharks the lead back on a bad goal by Mason. The Sharks’ leading goal scorer whizzed the puck to the crease from a tough angle, and it somehow ended up rolling behind Mason and over the line. A referee’s whistle blew the play dead before it crossed, but a video review determined it to be a good goal at 16:45.
The Flyers used a power play goal of their own to tie it in the third period, though, when Claude Giroux buzzed a wrist shot from the circle past Stalock at 8:37 with Scott Hannan off for hooking.
Neither club had its full compliment of defensemen. The Sharks were without an injured Mirco Mueller, Vlasic for most of the night, and Hannan departed with 7:23 in the third after the Flyers’ Nick Cousins rode him into the glass cutting his face. Philadelphia was without Mark Streit, Andrew MacDonald, Carlo Colaiacovo and Luke Schenn, and was forced to dress several minor league call-ups.
The Sharks outshot the Flyers for the game, 44-18. The Sharks are 4-5 in shootouts for the year, while the Flyers are 3-10.
The Sharks are 7-0-1 in their last eight games in Philadelphia, including a tie, and have not lost here since Dec. 21, 2000. They are 14-1-2 against the Flyers in the past 17 overall.
The Sharks finished 1-for-4 on the power play, while Philadelphia was 1-for-3.
The Sharks hadn’t allowed a power play goal against in their previous four games, going 7-for-7 overall.
Stalock was making his first start since shutting out the Canadiens on March 2. He finished with 16 saves to improve to 7-7-1.
Mason made 42 saves in the loss, falling to 15-17-11.
Mueller came out of the lineup after injuring his left hand blocking a shot on Thursday. He is out indefinitely.
Along with numerous injuries to defensemen, Flyers leading goal scorer Wayne Simmonds was also out, after incurring a left leg injury against Chicago on Wednesday.
The Sharks beat the Penguins at home on March 9, 2-1 in a shootout. They'll make their only visit of the season to Consol Energy Center on Sunday.
San Jose hosts Colorado on April 1, and remains at SAP Center on April 3 against Arizona. The Sharks have seven games left: three at home and four on the road.