SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Matt Nieto scored the tiebreaking goal with 11.5 seconds remaining to lead the San Jose Sharks to their first consecutive wins in more than a month with a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic also scored and Antti Niemi made 28 saves for the Sharks, who last won back-to-back games Oct. 26-28 against Anaheim and Colorado. Both two-game winning streaks followed skids of four games as San Jose has gotten off to a slow start this season.
Sean Couturier scored the lone goal for the Flyers, who have lost eight straight road games for their longest skid away from home since March 1998. Steve Mason made 25 saves but had no chance to stop the game-winner.
Nieto forced a turnover at center ice, leading Patrick Marleau in on a partial breakaway. Mason made the initial save but was knocked out of the play by teammate Braydon Coburn as Tommy Wingels went for the rebound.
Nieto then knocked the loose puck into the empty net for his second goal in two games. He hadn’t scored since the season opener before getting an empty-net goal Saturday against Anaheim.
The Sharks played most of the third period without center Logan Couture, who went to the dressing room after a hard collision with Michael Raffl and did not return.
The Flyers got off to a fast start on the road for a change, controlling the play in the opening period and taking the lead when Couturier beat Niemi with a shot from the top of the circle on a power play early in the first. That marked the first time in 12 road games this season that Philadelphia scored the first goal.
The Flyers dominated the rest of the period but were unable to add to the lead as Niemi stopped 15 shots. San Jose’s best scoring chance came slightly before Couturier’s goal when Mason made a glove save against Couture on a 2-on-1 short-handed break.
The Sharks found their footing in the second period and finally got the equalizer late when Vlasic capped a pretty passing sequence with his third goal of the season. Marleau started it with a pass out of the defensive zone to Couture near center ice. Couture then fed Wingels along the boards and he quickly fed a rushing Vlasic, who beat Mason with a wrist shot.
NOTES: The Sharks have one loss and two ties in their past 16 games against Philadelphia. … F Vinny Lecavalier was a healthy scratch for the first time in his 16-year career after recording no goals and two assists the past 12 games. … Philadelphia D Michael Del Zotto also was scratched. … The Sharks sent D Matt Tennyson back to Worcester of the AHL.