Thursday, November 30, 2023
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NHL Preview: Philadelphia Flyers (5-6-1) at San Jose Sharks (0-10-1)



Rasmus Ristolainen (D) IR – undisclosed 10/9- 12

Marc Staal (D) upper body 10/21- 8

Sean Couturier (F) lower body 11/3- 2

Carter Hart (G) mid body 11/3- 2


QUICK HITS – Philadelphia netted a season-high three goals in the first period Nov. 3 at BUF. The Flyers lead the League with 18 first period goals. – The Flyers also rank T-1st in the NHL in shorthanded goals (4). – Philadelphia is 5-1-0 this season when scoring first and ranks T-4th in the NHL in wins when scoring first. – The Flyers have tallied 40-plus shots in three games this season and rank third in the League in shots (376).

VS. THE WEST – Philadelphia plays its second contest of a four-game streak against a Western Conference opponent Tuesday (0-1-0). – The Flyers will face a Western team in 11 of 15 games (Oct. 17-Nov. 18). – Philadelphia went 3-2-1 in a season-long six-game stretch against a Western Conference team, Oct. 17-28. – The Flyers are 1-0-1 against Central Division teams and 2-3-0 against Pacific Division teams this season. – Philadelphia is 13-12-4 in the last 29 games against a Western Conference opponent.


HERT SO GOOD Forward Tomáš Hertl leads the Sharks with seven points (1g, 6a), entering Tuesday’s game against Philadelphia off his second multi-point game of the campaign. With his goal on Oct. 21 against Nashville, the centerman is now just two goals back of Owen Nolan (206) for fifth on the Sharks’ all-time goals list. With his pair of helpers on Oct. 17, Hertl (453 points) surpassed Nolan (451) for sixth on San Jose’s all-time points list and moved beyond Jeff Friesen for eighth on the team’s all-time multi-assist games list (38), and his multi-helper game against Pittsburgh tied him with Erik Karlsson for seventh. Hertl entered 2023-24 after posting a career-best 41 assists in 2022-23, a season in which he tallied 63 points (22g, 41 a) in 72 games. It was the second time in his career that he hit the 20-goal plateau in consecutive seasons and the first since 2017-18 (22) and 2018-19 (35).

THE DUKE ABIDES Forward Anthony Duclair registered his first multi-point effort in teal with a goal and an assist, both coming on the power play, against Pittsburgh on Saturday (Nov. 4). He found the back of the net for the first time as a member of the Sharks on Oct. 19 against the Boston Bruins, with an assist from linemate Tomáš Hertl. Duclair, acquired in a July 1 trade with Florida, had a career-best 31 goals in his last full season in 2021-22, a campaign that finished with 58 points and a plus-19 rating.

RETURN OF THE MAC Jacob MacDonald notched his first career multi-point game on Saturday against the Penguins, tallying a power play goal – the first of his career – and an assist. The scoring came in his second game of the season, rejoining the Sharks roster after missing the season’s first nine games due to a lower body injury. MacDonald was acquired from Colorado along with Martin Kaut in January of 2023 in exchange for F Matt Nieto and D Ryan Merkley.

STURM WARNING Nico Sturm has been dominant at the faceoff dot so far this season, leading the NHL at 63.5-percent on draws through games ending Nov. 4 (min. 50 faceoffs). He also paces the league at 65.9-percent at even strength and is fifth in shorthanded FOW% with a 57.1-percent clip. Sturm went 17-for-20 (85.0%) Oct. 27 at Carolina, the third-best single-game effort at the dot in his career (min. 10 faceoffs). Sturm’s strong start comes on the heels of posting the 21st-best season in Sharks history at the dot (min. 100 FO) in 2022-23, winning 55.8-percent of his draws on the season.

ZETT SETTER Forward Fabian Zetterlund scratched the goal column for the first time with the Sharks since being acquired as part of the trade that sent Timo Meier to New Jersey in February, opening the scoring in San Jose’s Tuesday (Oct. 17) tilt with Carolina. Adding an assist later in the contest, Zetterlund tallied his first multi-point game in teal and sixth of his career. The Swedish forward followed up with his second goal in teal a week later, scoring on the power play in the Sharks’ contest at Florida (Oct. 24). The Swedish forward took sole possession of the team lead in goals, power play goals and power play points with his strike against Vancouver on Thursday. Per NHL Edge, Zetterlund ranked in the 98th percentile for top skating speed, a 23.19 mph burst on Nov. 2 vs. Vancouver, is in the 94th percentile for speed bursts over 20 mph (26), and 83rd percentile for top shot speed (91.40 mph), as of games ending Nov. 4.

WHERE THERE’S A WILL… Forward William Eklund started the year with two points in the first six games, including his first goal of the season against Carolina on Oct. 17. As of games ending Nov. 4, the Stockholm, Sweden native ranks near the top of the NHL in skating distance (74th percentile) at 27.15 miles and in speed bursts over 20 miles per hour (86th percentile) with 20. Eklund, the seventh-overall selection in the 2021 NHL Draft, has nine points (3g, 6a) through 28 career NHL games. Tuesday’s game against Philadelphia will be the first time Eklund has faced the Flyers in his young career.

CZECH THIS OUT Defenseman Jan Rutta tied his career high with five blocked shots in San Jose’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning (Oct. 26), the fourth time in his career he has stepped in the way of a full handful of shots in one contest. Rutta ranks second on San Jose with 24 blocked shots on the year and is fourth in the group (min. 3 GP) in blocked shots per 60 minutes, 6.95, the highest of his career. According to NHL Edge, Rutta also fired the seventh-fastest shot by a skater this season, clocking in at 100.11 mph at 5:43 of the first period against Boston (Oct. 19).

PLAYING THE HITS Defenseman Kyle Burroughs has been among the league’s best in taking the body on the season, concluding Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh (Nov. 4) tied for seventh among NHL defensemen with 26 hits. Burroughs’ 6.88 hits-per-60 leads Sharks blue-liners (min. 3 GP). He also ranks third among Sharks defensemen with 22 blocked shots on the season. The Vancouver native has logged a career-high 20:35 TOI per game played since joining San Jose on a three-year deal, signed over the offseason, and is on pace for career bests in hits and blocked shots. His 23:31 TOI against Pittsburgh on Saturday was his most as a Shark.

MAGNUS’S MOMENT Goaltender Magnus Chrona made his NHL debut on Saturday against the Penguins, entering the game with 10:33 to go in the second period and going on to make 13 saves. With his appearance, Chrona became the second-youngest Sharks goalie ever at the time of his NHL debut at 23 years, 68 days old, senior to only Thomas Greiss (21 years, 349 days on Oct. 7, 2007). The netminder was recalled from the San Jose Barracuda on Nov. 3 hours after making 34 stops on 35 shots faced in an AHL contest against the Calgary Wranglers.

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