Sharks Fall to Islanders Again, 5-3

Photo credit: San Jose Sharks

by Mary Walsh

NEW YORK — In spite of Logan Couture’s hat trick on Saturday, the Sharks lost to the New York Islanders by two goals, for the second time this season. Islander goals came from Andrew Ladd, Josh Bailey, John Tavares and two from Anders Lee. Thomas Greiss made 28 saves for the win, while Aaron Dell made 18 saves for San Jose. The game was the second of back to backs for the Sharks, and the same skaters were in the lineup as the night before. The only only change from Friday’s game was in net, with Dell in for Martin Jones.

Sharks defenseman, Brent Burns, who had eight shots in the game, said of Couture’s recent success: “He’s a great player. He’s an elite player and that’s huge for us.” On how Couture and linemate Tomas Hertl have played together this season, he said:

They’re both great players. I think Hertl is very under-rated on his puck control and his battle level. Great at controlling the puck in the zone and making little plays. He’s just hard to play against, obviously huge that he’s got a great shot and great hands. Battles hard, and I think it’s good to see them getting chemistry.

An uneventful first period was followed by a four goal second period. The Sharks scored first, on a power play at 6:26. Brock Nelson was in the box for hooking Kevin Labanc. The goal came 35 seconds into the power play, starting with a faceoff win by Joe Thornton. Thornton won the faceoff and then passed the puck back to Brent Burns at the point. Burns hesitated briefly, then shot it for Logan Couture to redirect it in. Assists went to Burns and Thornton.

The Islanders responded with two goals, the first less than two minutes later. Nick Leddy got around Boedker to get to the puck behind the Sharks net. From there he sent the puck back to Anders Lee for a neat shot past Dell. Leddy and John Tavares got the assists.

The next Islanders goal came less than a minute later at 8:31. Josh Bailey took advantage of a takeaway and stick handled around Joe Pavelski to beat Dell one on one.

Logan Couture tied the game back up at 12:44. Jannik Hansen followed the puck over the line and had to reach for it. He managed to pass it to Couture as he was approaching the faceoff circle. From there, Couture could shoot without interference and he hit the mark. Assists went to Hansen and Brenden Dillon.

Early in the third period, the Islanders took the lead again with a goal from Andrew Ladd. Mathew Barzal carried the puck around behind the net, driven there by a lot of Sharks defenders. Possibly Barzal got too much attention because Ladd was able to skate into an open space in the slot and when he got the pass from down low he was ready for it. Dell was not quite ready for the shot. Assists went to Barzal and Josh Bailey.

Moments later, Joe Pavelski was hit in the wrist area and appeared to be in some distress. He stayed on the bench and did not leave the game.

The Sharks had some good chances during a power play in the third, in particular the unit of Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Tomas Hertl, Joonas Donskoi, Mikkel Boedker and Kevin Labanc. The Sharks had plenty of chances in the third. Half way through the period, the shots were 13-2.

The Islanders scored twice more in the third period. The first came on a two on one after Joakim Ryan got tangled up on the boards with 15, while trying to keep the puck from escaping up the boards. The two were John Tavares and Anders Lee, with Brent Burns back. Tavares’s pass went through Burns’s skates right on to Lee’s tape. Assists went to Tavares and Cal Clutterbuck.

Couture closed the gap with just under two minutes left in the game. He was at the net when Burns sent a shot from the blue line, and after a little scramble, redirected it into the net.

Incidentally, that third goal from Couture won $100,000 for Wanda Lockwood in the Safeway Score & Win contest.

The final goal of the game went into an empty net at 19:04, off of Tavares’s stick. Assists went to Lee and Calvin de Haan.

After the game, Burns was asked if Joe Thornton got a get out of jail free card after a bad turnover during the game. He responded:

Every goal happens, there’s always three or four breakdowns that happen before. I mean I don’t even know which one you’re talking about to be honest. Hockey’s pretty fast, this team especially comes hard so it’s usually not on the puck controller, usually it’s the support and guys talking to him. I honestly don’t know which one you’re talking about but, I assume, there’s a lot of other things that happen on every goal. We don’t really have get out of jail free cards or blame game.

The Sharks next play on Monday against the Rangers at 4:00 PM PT in New York.

Islanders, Greiss Defeat Sharks 3-1

New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck scores on an open net late in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. The Islanders won 3-1. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

by M. Walsh

SAN JOSE– The San Jose Sharks lost 3-1 to the New York Islanders Saturday. The game winning goal was scored by Brock Nelson, with additional goals from Anders Lee and Cal Clutterbuck. The Sharks goal came from Kevin Labanc. Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss made 40 stops on 41 shots, while Aaron Dell made 20 stops on 22 shots for the Sharks. After the loss, Sharks forward Joe Thornton said: “You just can’t get frustrated, line after line, just keep going, keep working hard. But our compete level was really high tonight. Just didn’t get the outcome we deserved, I thought.”

Thornton gave Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss a lot of credit for the game’s outcome. Though the Sharks put 41 shots on net, they only came away with one goal. It is a scenario long familiar to Sharks fans, but Saturday night the goaltender may truly have been the difference. Greiss is perfectly capable of controlling rebounds with a high level of accuracy, and that was certainly contributed to the Sharks’ glaring lack of second chances. The Sharks could have put more traffic in front of the net, but Greiss had a very good game as well.

Joe Pavelski had five shots on goal, and all but two of the Sharks got credit for more than one shot. Their 41 shots loomed over the Islanders’ 23. At times, the Sharks did have the Islanders on their heels, but San Jose’s game still was not consistent enough. In an uncharacteristic show of anger, Joe Pavelski broke his stick after failing to score on a very good chance. He explained that after the game: “Liked my game, like the finish to be a little bit better. You know, something had to give so the stick did.”

Sharks Head Coach Pete DeBoer also addressed the question of frustration with this poor start to the Sharks season:

“I thought tonight was probably our best game of the four we’ve played. I thought the special teams both looked good, you know we did a lot of good things five on five. We’re building our game and if you see frustration, that’s ’cause these guys expect to win every night.”

The Sharks started the game with a very early penalty: an interference call against Justin Braun. They killed that off and several minutes later got a power play of their own, when Calvin de Haan went to the box for slashing Kevin Labanc. On the ensuing power play, Mikkel Boedker’s shot was kicked out and bounced into the faceoff circle, where Labanc was waiting. He took a few steps and shot it. It deflected off of an Islander skater and into the net. Assists went to Boedker and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

The Islanders got on the board after a prolonged spell in the Sharks’ zone. After several bad passes and failed clear attempts, the Sharks gave it up one too many times. Jordan Eberle caught a pass from Adam Pelech and shot it at the far corner of the net. Anders Lee was waiting there to knock it in.

The Sharks followed that with a good shift from the top line. They held the puck in for a good minute or so, taking a few shots and seeing some chance, but not changing the score.

At the end of the first, the shots stood at 12-9 San Jose, with the score knotted at one.

The Sharks were on the penalty kill again, almost as soon as the second period began. Boedker went to the box for slashing at 1:04. 28 contributed a fine short handed attack in the middle of the kill, and the rest of the penalty kill finished the job without too much drama. The Sharks came out of the kill with some energy and sustained several long attacks, but it was the Islanders who scored next.

At 13:48, a Ryan Carpenter hit on Adam Pelech looked likely to lead to a penalty, especially when a couple of skaters started to go after Carpenter, including the alleged victim of the hit. But the whistles never blew and the rest of the players kept playing. Through the disarray, Brock Nelson’s shot went by Dell to give the Islanders the lead. The time of the goal was 6:27, assists went to Joshua Ho-Sang and Calvin de Haan.

The Sharks started the third period well. They dominated in shots and zone time for the first five minutes, but could not beat Greiss or create any second chances. That dominance ended with a defensive zone penalty to Joakim Ryan at 5:27. Jannik Hansen and Chris Tierney had a fine short-handed chance but still they could not beat Greiss. The rest of the penalty kill was very efficient, allowing the Islanders no shots and very little time in the zone.

The period went on and by the final five minutes, the Islanders were sitting on three shots to the Sharks’ 12. Nevertheless, the score was still 2-1 Islanders. After their fourth shot of the period, the score was 3-1. Cal Clutterbuck was the goal scorer after he grabbed the puck in the Islanders’ zone and put it in an empty net. Assists went to Nikolay Kulemin and Casey Cizikas at 18:10.

The Sharks will host the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday at 7:30 PM PT.