McLaren, Sharks whip FlyersNov 19, 2006 - 6:06 AM
McLaren scored a goal and had an assist to help the Sharks to a 6-1 triumph over the Flyers.
Curtis Brown, Ryane Clowe and Patrick Rissmiller also had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who won for the fifth time in their last six games. San Jose improved to 14-2-0 in its last 16 games against Eastern Conference competition.
"It was good to get back on the beam looking forward to Anaheim (on Tuesday)," McLaren said. "We've been focusing the past few days on forechecking a little better and jumping on the loose pucks.
"Tonight was tougher than it looked. They are a good team over there, and we just played better tonight. It's a tuneup for Tuesday night against one of the hottest teams in the league, and the team that I believe is the leader of our division along with Dallas. We have to be ready and kind of play the same style we did tonight."
The Sharks got a balanced offensive attack, getting points from 12 different skaters.
"Whoa. I didn't even know that," McLaren said. "That's good. We usually rely on one or two lines, or one or two guys, every night, to score for us. Any time you have the chance to spread the scoring out from our first line through our fourth line and even to our D, we can chip in as much as we can, it kind of gives a little more confidence." Geoff Sanderson scored the lone goal for Philadelphia. He has tallies in four straight games after only notching one in his first 12 games.
The Flyers, who stunned the Anaheim Ducks, 7-4, on Wednesday and recorded an improbable 4-3 comeback win over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, finished their four-game trip with a 2-2-0 record.
"You never want to go home on a losing note," Philadelphia coach John Stevens said. "You get behind against a team like this, it becomes very difficult to come back. They were able to cruise 'cause they had a five-goal lead."
Philadelphia owns the second-worst point total in the league and has surrendered a league-high 81 goals.
"That was not a good performance," Philadelphia captain Peter Forsberg said. "They outplayed us from the beginning of the game. Against Anaheim, we played the right way, (but) I don't think we did today. We gave up way too much speed to them in the neutral zone and they took advantage. They buried their chances and we had a couple of chances to come back in the game and we did not do it. Then all of the sudden it was one, two, three, four, five, six and it was all over."
Flyers goaltender Robert Esche started the game but was pulled after surrendering six goals on only 18 shots. He was replaced by Antero Niittymaki, who stopped all seven shots he faced.
San Jose goaltender Vesa Toskala, who entered with the third-highest save percentage in the league, only had to make 17 saves.
"Yeah, it was a lot easier than usual," said Toskala, who has been alternating starts with Evgeni Nabokov all season. "I didn't feel, I can say, almost any pressure from that team today. It was pretty a pretty easy night. They got a couple of good scoring chances, I would say, from my own rebounds. That was pretty much all they got today."
San Jose's Jonathan Cheechoo, the reigning Maurice Richard Trophy winner, did not suit up after suffering a lower-body injury against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.
"Cheech is a big part of our offense and a big part of this team," McLaren said. "You miss a guy like that, and Mark Smith (thigh), too, those two guys are a big part of our team. We need to fill in wherever we can, you can't replace 56 goals that easily, but if 12 guys can chip in and get the points where you can, and kind of hold ground until he gets back and gets on track a little bit more. He's a big part of the team and we missed him tonight."
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