First period could be the key as Flyers face Sharks

Flyers captain Claude Giroux. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

SAN JOSE, Calif. _ If the Flyers are going to come home with an admirable 2-1 record on their California road trip, there are advised to get off to a quick start on Monday night in San Jose.

Good luck with that.

The Sharks, you see, devour teams in the opening period of games.

San Jose, which has won the last nine meetings against the Flyers, has been dominant in the opening period this season. The Sharks have scored 56 first-period goals _ tied for second in the NHL _ and allowed a league-low 30.

They have set a franchise record with six goals in the first minute of games, and have 10 goals in the first two minutes.

San Jose has been pedestrian in the second and third periods, outscoring opponents by a combined 100-98 in that span. The Sharks are 18-1-4 when leading after the first 20 minutes.

So the Flyers’ difficult mission Monday is to get off to a good start.

The Flyers have better special teams than the Sharks. They are sixth in the 30-team league on the penalty kill and 12th on the power play. San Jose is eighth and 18th, respectively.

The Flyers started their trip with a 5-3 loss in Anaheim Thursday, and then blanked Los Angeles, 2-0, on Saturday.

Defenseman Kimmo Timonen will miss Monday’s game with a bruised left foot. High-scoring forward Logan Couture will be sidelined for the Sharks as he recovers from hand surgery.

Breakaways. Andrej Meszaros will against replace Timonen.....The Flyers have the same number of goals (37) as they have allowed in the first period this season....The Flyers have power-play goals in six straight games....Steve Mason will make his fifth consecutive starts; he has shutouts in two of his last three games. Antii Niemi will start for the Sharks.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.