Philadelphia's Colin Forbes used the element of surprise Tuesday to score the game-winner early in the third period of the unbeaten Flyers' 3-1 victory over winless the San Jose Sharks.
Forbes said San Jose goaltender Mike Vernon didn't see him right away as he outmuscled a pair of Sharks' defenders in the slot and pushed the puck past Vernon's glove side to break a 1-1 tie at 3:20 of the period.
"I don't think they knew where the puck was," said Forbes, who scored his second goal of the season. "I had a track on it. With three of us right around the net, it's tough for them to keep track of our forwards. It was just a good play by our line."
Eric Lindros and Rod Brind'Amour each had a goal and an assist as Philadelphia improved to 4-0-1. Lindros put the game away with a wrist shot from the right circle at 15:48 of the final period.
"Their size seemed to take over the game in the third period," said San Jose (0-3-1) coach Darryl Sutter. "We made a couple of mistakes and it cost us. Vernon played an outstanding game, but we just couldn't back him up enough."
Vernon was brilliant for the most part, stopping 34 of Philadelphia's season-high 37 shots on goal.
| The Flyers swamped Sharks goalie Mike Vernon. (AP) |
John Vanbiesbrouck, who had 17 saves for the Flyers, said that Forbes' line, which also included Mike Sillinger and Jody Hull, was the difference in the game.
"San Jose wanted to play in the trenches tonight, and that line came up with a huge goal," said Philadelphia's goaltender. "I'm benefitting from some great hockey n front of me."
Brind'Amour and San Jose's Jeff Friesen traded power-play goals in the second period of a game dominated for the most part by excellent goaltending and tenacious defense.
With Philadelphia's Luke Richardson , playing in his 800th NHL game, in the penalty box for obstruction-holding, Friesen scored his first goal of the year at 12:59 of the second period. Friesen, who led the Sharks with 63 points last season, picked up a loose puck in front of the crease and lifted it over Vanbiesbrouck's shoulder.
Brind'Amour evened the game at 1-1 for the Flyers at 19:43 of the period, tapping in a rebound after Vernon juggled a shot from inside the blue line by Eric Desjardins for one of his few mistakes of the night.
Lindros had his 287th career assist on the goal, moving him into a ninth-place tie with Tim Kerr on the Flyers' all-time list.
Vernon, who was pulled after allowing two first-period goals in a 2-0 loss to Boston on Sunday, came up big frequently in the first period when the Flyers had a 13-4 shot advantage and threatened to break the game open. The veteran goalie made stick saves on John LeClair from the crease and Chris Gratton from the left circle midway through the period, then gloved Brind'Amour's hard shot from the slot with about two minutes left in the period.
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