The Sharks shoot for their ninth straight victory over the Flyers tonight in their first home contest in over two weeks.
San Jose hasn't played at HP Pavilion since a win over Chicago on Feb. 10. The Sharks were shut out in St. Louis two days later, kicking off a nine-game road trip that produced just five points and a 2-6-1 record. The fruitless trip has dropped them two points behind the Coyotes for first place in the Pacific Division and only one point ahead of the eighth-place Stars and Avalanche in the Western standings.
San Jose ended its swing on Sunday with a 4-3 loss in Minnesota, its second straight defeat. The Sharks got a goal and an assist from both Joe Thornton and Brent Burns, as well as an additional score from Tommy Wingels, but Thomas Greiss allowed four goals on 26 shots.
Adding injury to insult, Sharks head coach Todd McLellan left the game in the second period after taking an inadvertent stick to the head. McLellan was alert and responsive in the locker room.
"I saw [Marco Scandella] come into the boards and I saw our guys kind of push him out," San Jose assistant coach Matt Shaw said. "Then I looked and Todd was trying to compose himself and stay upright, and you could tell he was in some discomfort. I just kind of grabbed him."
San Jose has been playing without Douglas Murray (fractured throat) and Dominic Moore (lower body) due to injury, and Logan Couture is also questionable for tonight due to a lower-body issue, but the Sharks will have some fresh forwards tonight after making a trade with Colorado prior to Monday's deadline.
The Sharks dealt forward Jamie McGinn and a pair of prospects to the Avalanche for Daniel Winnik, T.J. Galiardi and a seventh-round pick. Winnik had five goals and 13 assists in 63 games for the Avalanche this season, while Galiardi notched eight goals and 14 points in 55 contests.
McGinn has posted the best offensive numbers of the players involved in the deal, registering 12 goals and 12 assists in 61 games for the Sharks this year.
"We feel that T.J. and Daniel bring some additional size, speed, and penalty killing ability to our existing group of forwards," said Sharks executive vice president and general manager Dough Wilson.
The duo could be in for a successful debut given the Sharks recent history with the Flyers. San Jose, which opens a four-game homestand, has won eight in a row over Philadelphia and is 10-0-0 with a pair of ties in the past 12 meetings since the Flyers' last win on Dec. 21, 2000.
The Sharks are 5-0 with a tie since their last home loss to the Flyers on Nov. 5, 1999.
Philadelphia will try to close out a four-game road trip with a rare win over San Jose and is coming off a 5-4 shootout rally victory over Calgary on Saturday. The Flyers battled back from a 3-0 deficit and won on Matt Read's fifth-round tally in the tiebreaker.
Scott Hartnell scored twice to match a career high with 30 goals on the season, while Braydon Coburn and Jakub Voracek also scored. Ilya Bryzgalov made 17 saves to get the win, one that left recently-acquired defenseman Nicklas Grossman impressed.
"Just the tenacity of sticking with it, shift-by-shift. It doesn't matter if we're down a goal or two early. We just keep pounding away and that's shown the good character of the team," said Grossman, who was acquired from Dallas on Feb. 16 just two days before the club added blueliner Pavel Kubina from Tampa Bay in a trade.
Tonight, the Flyers will be aiming to win two in a row for the first time since Jan. 10-12, having gone 8-8-3 since. They currently sit fifth overall in the Eastern standings, two points behind the Penguins and just one up on the Devils and Senators.