Islanders Stay Undefeated, Beat Sharks 4-3 (SO)


The New York Islanders will wake up on Friday as the last unbeaten team in the NHL after beating the San Jose Sharks 4-3 in a shootout Thursday night.  In front of a raucous weeknight crowd, which is equivalent to a unicorn for Isles fans recently, Jaroslav Halak stopped Joe Thornton in the fifth round of the shootout to secure the win.  Moments earlier, John Tavares scored on a backhand to beat Sharks goalie Alex Stalock.  The Islanders are off to a 4-0-0 start for the first time since 2001-02 and are alone in first place atop the Metropolitan Division.

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  • The Islanders used a strong and steady forecheck to keep the pressure on the Sharks for almost the entire game, peppering Stalock with 45 shots and having numerous chances throughout regulation.  The third period again was a strong period for the Isles, which is something else that fans haven’t been able to say recently.  The Islanders were down 2-1 entering the third, and got a goal from Kyle Okposo at 5:57 to tie it, and another from Josh Bailey 3 minutes later to take the lead.  Sharks winger Tomas Hertl sniped a wrist shot past Halak at 11:16 to tie it, but the Islanders kept their composure and were able to force overtime.

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    This was potentially the best 65 minutes of hockey the Islanders have played in quite some time.  The Sharks came in unbeaten as well, and are sure to be a force in the Western Conference this season.  San Jose is by far the most talented team the Islanders have played this year, and the Sharks are expected to be a force in the Western Conference this season.  Tonights game was a tremendous test for the young Islanders and they passed with flying colors.  A few bad breaks led to the first two Sharks goals, and had it not been for Stalock in net, this game could’ve easily been much more lopsided toward the Isles.  Sharks defenseman Brent Burns had his initial shot blocked by Tavares, but the puck hit a soft spot on Tavares’ skate which kept him down on the ice in pain.  Burns got the puck back and buried a slap shot to open the scoring early in the second period.  On Hertl’s goal in the third, Nick Leddy lost an edge and fell down which lead to Hertl having a clear path to the net.

    A concern tonight was an injury to Mikhail Grabovski.  The Islanders officially listed him as having an upper body injury after being flattened by Sharks forward John Scott.  The Isles say that Grabovski did not suffer a concussion, but will be re-evaluated on Friday.

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    Quick Hits:

    – The Islanders continued their hot start on the Power-Play getting a goal from Kyle Okposo. The Isles Power-Play is currently second in the lead at 43% (6-14).  Okposo and Tavares both had 2 points each tonight.

    – Once again however, the Isles Penalty-Kill gave up a goal on it’s only opportunity.  Patrick Marleau scored just a few seconds into the Sharks Power-Play in the second, bringing the Islanders PK down to 62% (8-13).  The Islanders currently rank 29th in the league on the kill.

    – Prior to the game Calvin de Haan was activated off injured reserve and Griffin Reinhart was assigned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL.

    Three Stars:

    1- Kyle Okposo; 1 Goal, 1 Assist, +1 Overall

    2- John Tavares: 2 Assists, Shootout goal, even Overall

    3- Brent Burns: 1 Goal, 1 Assist, +1 Overall