Postgame 12/10/13: Islanders Defeat Sharks 3-2 in Shootout to End Losing Streak

The Islanders west coast trip continued on Tuesday night with a visit to the SAP Center to take on the San Jose Sharks and ended their 10 game losing streak with a 3-2 shootout win. This was the second game of a back to back for the Islanders coming off a 5-2 loss last night against the Anaheim Ducks.

Kevin Poulin and Antti Niemi were the starters in goal tonight but the first TV timeout of the 1st period was a special moment for another goaltender; Evgeni Nabokov. Despite still recovering from a groin injury, Nabokov made his return to the place where he called home for the first 10 years of NHL career. He is the Sharks franchise leader in several goaltending categories, including wins (293) and shutouts (50). A video tribute for Nabokov was played during the first TV timeout and a standing ovation from both teams and the SAP Center crowd. (Photo Credit: Twitter/NY Islanders).

For the game itself, both teams took the ice on losing streaks looking to put an end to their respective skids. The Sharks controlled play for most of the first period outshooting the Islanders 13-3 that included 3 Power Plays which were all killed by the Islanders. A big part of that was Poulin’s play in net making big saves throughout the period. Carless play on the ice caused two of the penalties as Eric Boulton and Travis Hamonic took Delay of Game minors. Boulton was placed into the lineup tonight with Peter Regin scratched.

The second period saw the Sharks keep the control of the puck early and get on the scoreboard first with Patrick Marleau scoring his 14th goal of the season on the power play. The Islanders got a power play of their own midway through the period generating a few chances but couldn’t get one to go through. Just about at the 4 minute mark of the period the Sharks extended their lead to 2-0 after Joe Pavelski scored his 10th goal of the season.

The third period was the game changer for the Islanders having been a period they struggled with in the past but this time it was in their advantage. Down 2-0 entering the period, Thomas Vanek scored his 10th goal of the season 51 seconds in to cut the lead in half. With just under 2 minutes to go in regulation, Kyle Okposo scored his 9th goal of the year to tie the game at 2. Kevin Poulin’s strong play in net continued as this play got the game to overtime.

It took a shootout but the Islanders came away with a victory as Kyle Okposo netted the game winner to end the Islanders losing streak with a 3-2 final score. Kevin Poulin had a big night making 46 saves in net and making clutch saves throughout the night.

The Islanders west coast trip concludes on Thursday night in Phoenix against the Coyotes.

-John Santamaria

Follow me @JSantamariaNY and follow us @TCLIsles