New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) tries to get his stick and arms around San Jose Sharks right wing Timo Meier (28) at SAP Center in San Jose on Thu Feb 24, 2022 (AP News photo)
By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks defeated the New York Islanders 4-3 in a shootout Thursday night. The win ended a seven-game losing streak for the Sharks. James Reimer made 44 saves for the win in his ninth start in a row. Logan Couture, Jasper Weatherby and Alexander Barabanov scored for the Sharks. Brock Nelson, Zach Parise and Adam Pelech scored for New York. Ilya Sorokin made 25 saves in the loss.
After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner talked about James Reimer’s iron man streak in the Sharks net:
“Yeah, it’s a lot of hockey he’s played. Traditionally, if you look at [Reimer]’s career, he’s been such a good goalie in this league for a long time. But playing, I don’t know how many it is now, let’s call it eight, nine, ten in a row, you know, he’s not necessarily been in that position a lot. And, you know, he’s coming up with timely saves and he’s battling just as hard as everybody else and finding ways.”
Brock Nelson opened the scoring at 14:56 of the first. With almost all of the skaters on the left side of the ice, Scott Mayfield sent the puck all the way around the boards to an undefended Nelson. Nelson’s shot went over Reimer’s shoulder on the far side. Assists went to Mayfield and Kieffer Bellows.
Alexander Barabanov tied it up with a power play goal at 15:55, just six seconds into the man advantage. His shot came from above the face-off circle and went through traffic. Assists went to Brent Burns and Tomas Hertl.
Jasper Weatherby gave the Sharks a lead at 17:32. Holding the puck along the boards as if looking for a pass, he opted to send it to the net where it found its way in. An assist went to Jeffrey Viel.
Zach Parise tied it back up at 12:48 of the second period. Sebastian Aho carried the puck down below the goal line before making the pass to Parise just above the blue paint. Aho and Matthew Barzal got the assists.
Logan Couture made it 3-2 on the power play at 16:31. Couture’s shot went through traffic and past Sorokin on the stick side. Assists went to Ryan Merkley and Tomas Hertl.
Adam Pelech tied it again just 19 seconds later, shooting from the slot through a mass of bodies. Assists went to Barzal and Parise.
Half way through the third period, the shots were 10-0 Islanders. At 13 minutes in, it was 12-0. There were fewer than six minutes left by the time the Sharks got a shot on goal. Overall, the Sharks were outshot after the first period 30-13. The Sharks had one shot in overtime to the Islanders’ four.
James Reimer stopped all three shots in the shootout and Logan Couture scored. Ilya Sorokin stopped a shot from Tomas Hertl.
Thursday, Zdeno Chara surpassed Chris Chelios for the most games played by an NHL defenseman. He marked the occasion by fighting Jeffrey Viel. After the game, Sharks defenseman Jacob Middleton said: “What he’s done for so long in this league is just so impressive. Still, at 44 he’s someone, night in and night out, is a presence and plays the right way and the leader he is. Everything he does is impressive.” Of Viel’s fight, he said: “That’s pretty impressive. Chara asked him too, from the sounds of it. So, for Viel to say yes, and go with a guy who’s that big, it just did give us some life on the bench, that’s for sure.”
Nicolas Meloche was injured late in the first period during a board battle with Zach Parise. He left the ice favoring his right side and did not return to the game.
The Sharks next play on Saturday at 7:00 PM PT at home against the Boston Bruins.