Flyers Cool Off Hot Sharks

Flyers' Rick Tocchet reacts after scoring a goal against Stars. AP

Philadelphia coach Bill Barber and veteran Rick Tocchet have combined to carry the Flyers back into first place.

Tocchet scored twice Thursday night as the Flyers snapped San Jose's five-game winning streak with a 4-3 victory. Philadelphia moved into a tie with New Jersey atop the Atlantic Division and remained unbeaten under Barber.

"Tocchet's a warrior," Barber said, after the Flyers improved to 3-0-3 since he replaced Craig Ramsay. "He's been around. He has won and he is hard-nosed. He is everything that the Flyers really stand for. That is our tradition, that is our pride."

Tocchet credits Barber, a key member of the Flyers' Stanley Cup championship teams in 1974-75, for instilling a new attitude among the players.

"We've been coming to the rink with a little bit of a snarl," Tocchet explained. "Everything has been positive. You can see guys are finishing their checks, going to the net hard, getting the puck out and taking the hit when you've got to make the plays."

"Everything seems to be going our way," said Daymond Langkow, who had a goal and two assists to bring his point total 10 in the last four games. "We're hot right now and we just have to keep playing hard, practicing hard and keep rolling."

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  • Keith Primeau also scored for the Flyers, who chased Evgeni Nabokov the NHL's leading goalie.

    Nabokov, who leads the league with 19 victories, was replaced by Steve Shields 2:21 into the second period after allowing three goals on only 10 shots.

    Patrick Marleau scored two goals and Alexander Korolyuk added the other for the Sharks, who entered with the NHL's best road record (11-3-2). San Jose is 9-2-1 against Eastern Conference teams.

    Three of Piladelphia's goals came on the power play as the Flyers snapped an 0-for-19 drought with the man advantage.

    "We heard how bad Philadelphia's power play was before tonight," said San Jose's Tony Granato, who assisted on Korolyuk's goal. "But they got a couple of bounces that just found their way into the net. That's what kept them in the game."

    San Jose narrowly missed tying it when Korolyuk and Scott Thornton both hit posts with third-period shots.

    Langkow put Philadelphia ahead 1-0 on the Flyers' first shot of the game at 8:15 when he shoveled a backhander from inside the right circle past Nabokov.

    San Jose tied it 1:55 later when Marleau's wrist shot bounced off the shoulder of Philadelphia goaltender Roman Cechmanek, who had 25 saves while extending his unbeaten streak to four games (3-0-1).

    The Flyers went ahead 2-1 and broke their futile power-play stretch when Simon Gagne found Tocchet with a cross-ice pass in the slot at 14:22.

    Nabokov was lifted after Mark Recchi's pass bounced off a San Jose defenseman's skate onto Primeau's stick, and the Flyers center banged it in.

    After Marleau made it 3-2 at 10:42, Tocchet was credited with his seventh goal when a shot from the blue line by Dan McGillis bounced off his leg into the net.

    Korolyuk scored on a scramble in front with 2:27 left in the second period to make it 4-3.

    It was a disappointing loss for the Sharks, who improved their regular-season record at Detroit to 2-17 with a 2-0 victory over the Red Wings on Wednesday.

    "We haven't played well in back-to-back games all year," San Jose's Todd Harvey said. "We struggle in the second game and tonight was no different. But that's no excuse. If we want to be an elite club, we've got to find ways to win these games."

    Notes

  • The last time Philadelphia scored four or more goals in three consecutive games was in February, 1999.
  • San Jose, which entered leading the NHL in road penalty killing, allowed power-play goals on just three Flyers shots in their first three of four attempts.
  • The Flyers are 13-3-2 against San Jose.
  • Langkow has 10 points in four games.
  • The Sharks played the fourth of a six-game road trip.
  • With Owen Nolan's assist, the San Jose line of Vincent Damphousse, Jeff Friesen and Nolan has 5 points in 15 games.


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