Game Preview: New York Islanders vs San Jose Sharks 11.01.14


In just the 11th game of the season, the New York Islanders will wrap up their season series with the San Jose Sharks tonight at 10:30 PM EST. After the Islanders hosted the Sharks just 16 days ago, San Jose will return the favor as the second leg of the Islanders’ west coast road trip.

Back on October 16th, the Islanders took the Sharks into a shootout in which Logan Couture scored first, but Kyle Okposo lit the lamp with the Isles’ backs against the wall to keep them alive long enough for John Tavares to get one past Alex Stalock in the 5th round.

During regulation, it was Kyle Okposo leading the way with 7 shots and a power play goal. He added an assist earlier in the game to join Nick Leddy (1G, 1A) and Tavares (2A) as the only Isles to record multiple points in the game. It’s interesting to note that this was the game that caused Mikhail Grabovski to miss three games after taking a hard hit by Sharks’ enforcer John Scott. Grabovski may be looking to get redemption – on the scoresheet of course – tonight but Arthur Staple makes a good point pertaining to revenge on Scott:

He also reported on tonight’s goalie situation and much needed return to the lineup:

Starting Jaroslav Halak is a no-brainer after Chad Johnson gave up 5 goals to Colorado in his last start. Halak wasn’t his best the first time he played San Jose, stopping 20 of 23 shots and allowing a game-tying goal by Tomas Hertl in the latter half of the 3rd period, but he made some big saves down the stretch and clutched up in the shootout when he needed to.

Although Travis Hamonic didn’t post any stats on October 16th, he recorded the fifth most time on ice for the Isles and his return will be very welcomed after watching Brian Strait during the last handful of games.

Head coach Jack Capuano has finally acknowledged some of the problems and decided to switch up the lines a bit. Here’s what we should see tonight:

Nelson – Tavares – Okposo

Kulemin – Nielsen – Grabovski

Martin – Strome – Lee

Conacher – Cizikas – Clutterbuck

Leddy – Boychuk

Visnovsky – Hickey

Hamonic – de Haan


The move I’m most interested in is moving Matt Martin up to the third line with Ryan Strome and Anders Lee, who are both skill players rather than checking line players. However, my player to watch for the Islanders would have to be Brock Nelson. He’s been lighting it up thus far and the chance to play with Tavares and Okposo should only benefit him.

On the other side, the player to watch for the Sharks has to be Brent Burns. He recorded a goal and assist last time the Sharks played the Isles and is the leading scorer for San Jose with 13 points including his current 6-game point streak. He’s also tallied a point in all but one game this season as a defenseman after playing forward last season, as noted by Pete Jensen:

This is a huge game for the Islanders, but especially Jaroslav Halak. He hasn’t been spectacular thus far but riding a 2-game losing streak, it is vital for him to have a good game and stop that streak to swing the momentum back in favor of the Islanders for the remainder of this road trip. In a month that is notorious among Islanders’ fans, a win on the road over a good San Jose team to start off November would do wonders for team confidence.

You can watch highlights from New York Islanders vs San Jose Sharks on October 16th here.