“Islanders too tight” for Sharks, defense shuts down San Jose’s shots 4-1

photo from sfgate.com: New York Islanders right wing Leo Komarov (47) and San Jose Sharks defenseman Radim Simek, right, battle for the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Uniondale, N.Y.

By Jessica Kwong

UNIONDALE, NY—The struggling San Jose Sharks extended their losing streak to four games with a 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Sunday, the night before the NHL trade deadline.

Despite the back-to-back situation, San Jose played a “tight game for most of the night,” Sharks interim head coach Bob Boughner said.

“It was just one of those games, back and forth. The Islanders are pretty tight, they don’t give you a lot,” Boughner said. “We just couldn’t seem to generate any second or third chances around their net.”

Islanders center Mathew Barzal made a saucer pass to center Anders Lee, who scored at 6:49 in the first period to put the Islanders up 1-0.

The Sharks responded at 10:36 into the period, when center Dylan Gambrell redirected defenseman Radim Simek’s shot and tied the game at 1-1.

But the Islanders wasted no time in the second period. At 1:10, Lee scored, assisted by Barzal and defenseman Devon Toews to put the Islanders up 2-1.

Islanders center Brock Nelson forced a turnover and passed the puck to Toews down the slot for a shot into the top right corner of the net to extend New York’s lead to 3-1 at 17:38.

The Sharks failed to rebound in the third period. Lee passed the puck to center Josh Bailey for an empty netter at 17:41 and sealed the Islanders’ 4-1 victory.

Sharks center Barclay Woodrow said the team played well for some stretches, but had a couple of breakdowns including when he was stripped from behind.

“So it’s those little things that are costing us right now and we’ve just got to find a way to bury more shots and try to get some more goals,” Goodrow said.

Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov, who was on his fifth straight start, made 29 saves.

The Sharks are likely to make a move by Monday’s trade deadline, judging from their disappointing performance this season after coming within two wins of making the Stanley Cup final last year.

San Jose made the playoffs for the past four seasons and all but one of the last 15, but appear to be out of contention this season.

Regarding the trade deadline, Goodrow said, “there’s always a lot of unknown this time of year so it would be good to just get that over with.”

San Jose has been playing without three of their top players—captain and center Logan Couture (broken bone in the left ankle), center Tomas Hertl (torn left ACL and MCL) and defenseman Erik Karlsson (broken right thumb).

Boughner said that crossing the trade deadline should bring “some relief” to the team and “hopefully we’ll get a couple guys back healthy” as well as a head coach decision.

“Cross our fingers, I think we’ll start getting back some semblance of our line combinations at least,” Boughner said.

The Sharks (26-32-4) complete their four-game road trip on Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers (35-20-7) at Wells Fargo Center. The puck drops at 4 p.m. PT.

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