Flyer Sam Gagner mixed it up with Shark Mirco Mueller.

By Sarah Berkowitz

The Flyers scrapped and battled the other night against the Stanley Cup finalist L. A. Kings before losing, and then last night at the Wells:

They reverted to the same pop-gunned offense, boring dead-on-their-skates bunch that has them sinking like a rock in the standings.

The San Jose Sharks didn’t have many scoring chances against the Flyers, but they made a big one count.

Melker Karlsson scored with 1:15 remaining in overtime to give the Sharks a 1-0 win.

In overtime Sharks defenseman Paul Martin got to the rebound of a Michael Del Zotto shot that missed the net. When Flyers captain Claude Giroux stepped up to try to make a play, it allowed Martin to spring Joonas Donskoion a 2-on-1 rush out of the Sharks zone. Donskoi carried the puck down to the left circle near the hash marks and then slid it across to Karlsson, who lifted a rolling puck over Steve Mason.

“We’d been out for a while, and I think it was our second 2-on-1 there,” Karlsson said. “[Donskoi] chipped it over to me and … it almost rolled over my blade, but I was lucky it went in.”

It was the only play in the final 45 minutes or so that didn’t go the Flyers’ way.

“Coming in, the guy has a shooting lane, that’s my responsibility first and foremost, take the shot,” Mason said. “Then do everything you can to get across if the pass is able to get through the defender. Unfortunately, they made a pretty nice hockey play.”

It was the kind of play the Flyers have been unable to make offensively for most of the season. It was the ninth time in 19 games they’ve been held to one goal or fewer. Their power play, which was third in League last season at 23.0 percent, is 27th at 14.3 percent. Their 34 goals are the fewest in the League, and their 1.79 goals-per-game average is the lowest.

“We have to find a way to be better,” said forward Jakub Voracek, who was tied for fourth in the League last season with 81 points but has nine points in 19 games this season. “If we would know then we would work on it. I can’t tell you why we’re not scoring goals. If we knew, we’d do something different.”

Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said he isn’t going to panic and start changing much.

“We’re just going to keep playing,” he said. “We’re going to keep doing the things that we’re doing. We went through a tough period where we just didn’t play well for a few games in a row. We’re doing all the right things now, so we just have to stick with it. Tonight was a tough, hard-fought hockey game, and we stuck through it. We couldn’t get one to go to get the extra point.”

Hakstol said he’s going to focus on what he saw as a lot of positives from the Flyers heading into their game Saturday at the Ottawa Senators.

“We were the better team for the last 44 minutes of this hockey game,” he said. “Thought we were a little bit quicker and did things pretty well during that time frame. Want to take that and keep building.”

San Jose goaltender Martin Jones made 34 saves for his third shutout.

The Sharks (11-8-0) have won four in a row, all on the road and all by one goal. Coach Peter DeBoer gave his goaltender credit for their latest victory.

“Over 82 games, you’ve got to win all kinds of different ways,” DeBoer said. “We scored five [Tuesday] in Boston, we won that way. Tonight, it was a goalie win for us. You’ve got to get timely contributions at different points from everybody. No doubt Jones was our best guy tonight.”

San Jose forward Patrick Marleau, who entered the game with 999 points in his NHL career, was held off the score sheet.

Goaltender Mason made 20 saves for the Flyers (6-8-5), who lost their second straight game (0-0-2). The 21 shots on goal tied the fewest allowed by the Flyers in a game this season; they entered second in the League in shots-against per game at 33.7.

The Sharks had 10 shots in the first period, but 11 the rest of the way, including 24:53 spanning the second and third periods with one shot on goal. They also went 0-for-4 on the power play with two shots on goal.

“I really liked our first period,” DeBoer said. “I thought we had great legs, could have had a couple goals in the first and controlled the period. Then to their credit, they regrouped and really won every battle and every footrace the rest of the way. We were on our heels in the second and third. Our goalie was our best player and gave us a chance to get two points.”

Rather than get frustrated by the lack of opportunities, the Sharks stayed patient.

“We just kept fighting, trying to create some chances,” forward Joel Ward said. “Just kind of wait until you get that chance, and we were fortunate to put one in.”

The Sharks are building something as well and will take their emboldened confidence when they continue their road trip Saturday at the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“We needed a good road trip,” DeBoer said. “We talked about that. We talked about taking it one game at a time and just trying to squeeze out wins. We weren’t in a great spot after our homestand. To our guys’ credit, it was a bit of gut check, and we’re finding a way here.”


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