In the extra period, Hertl beat Jones on a 2-on-1 in which he elected to shoot for for his team-leading 20th goal, giving him 18 points (12 goals, six assists) over the last 12 games. He also had the winner in overtime in the Sharks’ 3-2 home victory over Philadelphia on Dec. 30.
“Nice to see I can help the team,” Hertl said.
The Flyers continued to play without key players due to COVID-19 protocols and injury. Captain Claude Giroux, forward Travis Konecny and defensemen Travis Sanheim and Ivan Provorov sat out because of health and safety protocols.
“I’m very proud of those guys,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “There’s a lot of reasons, excuses – every team’s got them: injuries, COVID, the way road trip started. We finished on a positive note. A lot of guys played well; we needed 20 guys tonight.”
Boughner said Hertl provided a boost with more than just his scoring.
“What I loved is even when we got down 2-0, he took a huge leadership role (saying), ‘We’re still in this, we got this, let’s keep working,’” Boughner said. “He was pretty inspirational.”
The Flyers started backup goalie Jones against his former team. The Sharks bought out the final three years of Jones’ contract over the summer after three subpar seasons in which he had an .896 save percentage. Jones won 170 games in six seasons in San Jose and in 2016 helped the club reach their only Stanley Cup final.
“I think it’s always special to play against your former team,” Flyers interim coach Mike Yeo said before the game. “He obviously played a lot of really good hockey for that organization. Those things happen in this business, we’re all aware of that. At the same time, there is a sense of pride going up against your former team.”
Jones stopped the first 35 Sharks shots before they scored three in the final 12:37 of regulation and OT.
“It doesn’t feel very good that we lost; that’s it,” he said.
Van Riemsdyk broke the scoreless tie 1:06 into the third. He chipped the puck past Marc-Edouard Vlasic near center ice, raced into the offensive zone and then fired a wrist shot past Hill’s glove side for his eighth of the season.
Philadelphia went up two goals with 13:13 remaining in regulation when van Riemsdyk got credited for his second. Cam York took a shot from the point that deflected off van Riemsdyk high into the air and then off Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro and over the goal line. York, playing in his sixth career game, earned his first NHL point.
After Jones turned away the first 35 San Jose shots, Hertl got the Sharks on the board a minute later, finishing from close range after a pass from Meier. And Hertl tied it with a backhander from in front of the crease with 5:31 left in the third.
“You see in the third period when the game’s on the line and things are tense, that’s when your habits come out,” Yeo said. “And I thought that’s when a lot of our bad habits came out.”
Earlier on Saturday, San Jose placed forward Evander Kane on unconditional waivers with the intent to terminate the remainder of his $49 million, seven-year contract. The Sharks said that they made the move because Kane violated COVID-19 protocols in the AHL where he is currently playing for the Barracuda.
The 30-year-old Kane had 22 goals and 22 assists in 56 games last season for the Sharks. Kane also has played for the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise and Buffalo since being drafted by the Thrashers fourth overall in 2009. Kane has 264 goals and 242 assists in 769 career games.
“For a head coach would you want maybe your best offensive player in the lineup? Of course,” Boughner said. “But I understand the situation. Am I disappointed for him personally? Yeah, it would be like that for anybody. For me it’s just business as usual. I can’t focus on it, I can’t dwell on it. Concentrate on what we have, not what we don’t have.”
The Flyers traditionally draw one of the top crowds in the NHL, but the Wells Fargo Center was only about half-full of the 19,500 capacity. The Philadelphia Eagles also were hosting the Dallas Cowboys across the street at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday night, creating a challenging traffic and parking situation for fans.
Normally, the Wells Fargo Center lot is used for Eagles parking but it was reserved only for fans with Flyers tickets. Still, many Flyers fans apparently stayed home to avoid traffic and parking issues.
Sharks: D Erik Karlsson (upper body) missed his second straight contest. … Couture sat for the third straight game while Bonino missed his first. … G James Reimer (lower body), D Jacob Middleton (upper body) and D Radim Simek (lower body) also didn’t play. … Jonah Gadjovich (upper body) was injured in the first period and didn’t return.
Flyers: Giroux and Provorov have missed three in a row while Sanheim and Konecny have sat for two straight. … Derick Brassard (hip) was back out of the lineup after playing in Thursday’s 6-2 loss to Pittsburgh. Prior to Thursday’s contest, Brassard had last played on Dec. 8 due to the hip injury. Yeo said Brassard is day-to-day. … D Nick Seeler returned from health and safety protocols.
Sharks: Host Detroit on Tuesday night to open a four-game homestand.
Flyers: Host Carolina on Tuesday night.