The New York Islanders’ losing streak has now hit 3 games as they were defeated 3-1 in San Jose by the Sharks tonight at SAP Center. Logan Couture scored the eventual game winner with 8:10 remaining in the third period, tipping a shot by Justin Braun past Isles goalie Jaroslav Halak. Halak played much better than he has in his previous two starts, but was defeated by 2 bad bounces and a lack of offense from the Isles up front. Kyle Okposo tallied the Isles only goal, his 4th of the year, to open the scoring just over 8 minutes into action.
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Offensively the Islanders looked very timid, and sometimes lost in the Sharks zone. Okposo’s goal was a result of KO escaping a double team, staying strong on the puck, and walking out of the corner to beat Niemi on the stick side. The Isles definitely looked structurally better defensively, which led to fewer risks being taken on the offensive end of the ice. The Sharks first goal, scored by second year forward Tomas Hertl, was the direct result of a bad bounce on the Sharks power play. After trying to wrap the puck around the boards, the puck handcuffed Johnny Boychuk and Tommy Wingels was able to sneak it into the slot where Hertl buried it past Halak. The goal was another short-handed goal given up by the Isles on their only penalty of the game, making the PK 0-1 tonight.
The Islanders defense corps looked better than it has all season, due in large part to the return of Travis Hamonic. For the first time all season the Isles blue line is fully healthy, and hopefully this can strengthen the teams play going forward. Brian Strait was a healthy scratch tonight to accommodate Hamonic’s return. Offensively, well, there’s not much to say. The top line of John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and Brock Nelson was not only extremely quiet in the Sharks zone, but played poorly in their own. Tavares was held without a point again, and has managed only point in the teams last 4 games.
The Isles get 3 full days off before heading into the Honda Center to take on Anaheim in what many feel is a must-win game for New York. After starting the season 4-0 the Isles now find themselves barely above .500 and on the verge of completely losing faith from the fan base that this year will be any different than previous seasons. Only time will tell what will happen on the rest of this road trip, but for the Isles and their fans one can only hope that a few days in California can turn things around. Quickly.