The Upshot: Islanders win second straight out west; defeat San Jose Sharks 4-1
HOW IT HAPPENED
The New York Islanders won their second straight and moved back into the top Wild Card position after a 4-1 win over the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Saturday night. Trailing 1-0 after a Kevin Labanc goal gave San Jose the lead, JG Pageau scored short-handed at 16:08 to tie the game. Kyle Palmieri scored for the second straight game to give the Isles a 2-1 lead at 2:18 of the second, and Ryan Pulock extended the lead with a power play goal at 5:24. Zach Parise deflected a shot in for his 18th of the season in the third period, and Ilya Sorokin made 29 saves for the Islanders (36-27-8) in the win. Kaapo Kahkonen made 29 saves for the Sharks (19-37-14), who have lost six straight (0-4-2).
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Like the game prior in Anaheim, the Islanders fell behind 1-0 early but tied the game with under four minutes to go in the first period on JG Pageau's impressive short-handed goal as he shielded the puck against All-Star defenseman Erik Karlsson, created an angle and cut through across the crease and beat Kaapo Kahkonen for the game-tying goal.
"You could argue he was maybe the best player in the ice for good stretches of it," Head Coach Lane Lambert said. "He doesn't have to be hard on himself after this one because he played really well."
WHAT WENT WRONG
Defenseman Sebastian Aho, who started the year as the seventh defenseman and turned himself into a reliable bottom-pair blueliner, left the game at 17:20 of the first period and didn't return after taking a hit up high from Kevin Labanc. Head coach Lane Lambert said he will be reevaluated on Sunday. Parker Wotherspoon has been traveling with the team as the seventh defenseman.
STATS OF THE GAME
Per Eric Hornick in The Skinny, Pierre Engvall extended his point streak to four games. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored his 3rd shorthanded goal of the season and sixth as an Islander; it was his 19th career shorthanded goal, ranking tied-5th among active NHLers. Casey Cizikas now has six points in the last nine games (1-5-6).
SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME
Before the game, Butch Goring told us the story and history behind his unique look.
The Islanders return home to UBS Arena on Tuesday night to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Puck drop is at 7:30 PM ET.