Postgame 3/14/14: Sharks defeat Islanders 4-3
After a week in western Canada and 3 days off, the Islanders returned home on Friday night to begin a 4 game home stand welcoming the San Jose Sharks to Nassau Coliseum. They defeated the Sharks in December in San Jose but couldn’t complete the season series sweep on home ice.
The goaltending matchup for this game featured Evgeni Nabokov for the Islanders who made his first start against his former team and Antti Niemi for the Sharks. Early in the game the Islanders outshot the Sharks 6-1, got plenty of scoring chances but couldn’t get anything going early as the game was scoreless through the first 13 minutes until the Sharks Matt Nieto got the first goal of the night. A minute later it was the Sharks again scoring, this time Jason Demers scored giving them a 2-0 lead and that would be the score going into the 1st intermission.
The Islanders having done so all season long coming back from deficits cut the lead to a goal 32 seconds into the 2nd period when Anders Lee scored his 6th of the season. Lee was playing on the Islanders top line with Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo and they were very productive in this game. The Sharks would again extend the lead to 2 goals when Joe Thornton scored 9 minutes later to make it 3-1. The Islanders once again would cut the lead back to a goal with less than 3 minutes left in the period as Brock Nelson scored his 12th of the season. The back and forth goal scoring of the period continued as the Sharks made it a 2 goal lead going into the intermission when Marty Havlat scored making it 4-2.
The 3rd period was a very quiet one, the Islanders couldn’t get much going to put the game back in reach against a very talented Sharks team. Frans Nielsen cut the lead back to a goal with 21 seconds left in the game with an empty net. The Islanders fought hard but came up short in their first game home after the long road trip. Their next game is tonight at home against the Buffalo Sabres and it marks Sabres coach Ted Nolan’s first trip back to Long Island since he was the Islanders head coach from 2006-2008.