Highlights: Sharks' skid continues with loss to lowly Islanders
San Jose outshot the Islanders through regulation and overtime, 48-28, but lost in a shootout. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SAN JOSE – After surrendering a two-goal third period lead to one of the worst teams in the NHL, the Sharks lost in a shootout to the New York Islanders, 3-2, at SAP Center on Tuesday night.
San Jose has now lost four straight (0-3-1). The Islanders ended a 10-game losing streak overall (1-8-2) and on the road (1-10-0).
San Jose led 2-0 after two periods, but New York, badly outplayed up to that point, got some momentum from an early Thomas Vanek goal. Vanek was able to slip in a loose puck after John Tavares drove around Justin Braun, and although Antti Niemi made a nice right pad save on Tavares, he couldn’t cover it up in time in the opening minute of the final stanza.
The Islanders tied it with 1:37 left in regulation and their goalie pulled for an extra attacker. Tavares won a faceoff to Kyle Okposo, and Okposo’s attempt found its way through several bodies and over Niemi’s shoulder.
In the shootout, Okposo’s goal in the fourth round ended the game. Logan Couture was the only scorer for San Jose in the skills competition, but Okposo and Vanek converted for New York.
The Sharks were unable to break through on the scoreboard despite a dominant first period, but took the lead with a pair of markers in the second.
Patrick Marleau’s power play goal got it started. Couture tried setting up Dan Boyle with a pass through the slot, but the puck deflected to Marleau, who deposited his 14th of the year into a mostly open net at 5:26 of the middle frame.
The goal was a welcome one in that the Sharks had converted just three of their previous 42 power play chances, including three opportunities in the first period alone.
Joe Pavelski, in his second game on the Couture-Marleau line, scored on a Boyle rebound at 15:24 to increase San Jose’s lead to 2-0 before the second intermission.
Poulin was the reason the Islanders were even in the game after the first period, as the Sharks outshot his club 18-3. The 23-year-old made his best saves late in the first, denying Couture twice with about five minutes left, getting his pad on a Marleau attempt on a delayed penalty, and freezing a shot by Pavelski from point blank range with a minute to go.
San Jose outshot the Islanders through regulation and overtime, 48-28.
The Sharks and Islanders meet again on March 14 at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders entered the game with the league’s worst penalty kill, and the Sharks finished 1-for-4.
New York didn’t got its one and only power play midway through the second period on a Tommy Wingels holding minor, but couldn’t convert. Vanek nearly tied it at 1-1 on the advantage, but his shot from the slot on a setup by Frans Nielsen clanged off the post.
Niemi started for the 10th time in the last 11 games. He saw more action as the game went along, and finished with 26 saves
Poulin improved to 4-11-0 and played well in stopping 46 of 48 Sharks shots.
Marty Havlat returned from a one-game absence in place of James Sheppard. On Tuesday morning, it was revealed that Scott Hannan is battling an undisclosed injury. Hannan missed his second straight game.
The Sharks’ bottom two lines consisted of Matt Nieto with Wingels and Freddie Hamilton, and Havlat with Anderw Desjardins and Tyler Kennedy.
Former Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov returned to the Shark Tank for the first time as a visiting player. Although he was unable to dress with a groin injury, he was given a loud ovation when shown on the jumbotron at the first timeout of the first period, while standing by the visitor’s entrance.
The Sharks host the Wild on Thursday, and begin a three-game road trip Saturday in Nashville. San Jose visits St. Louis and Los Angeles next week.