Islanders start well but lose sixth in a row
Make that six games and counting. It is two weeks since the season began and the Islanders still have not won. Despite a dominating and determined first-period performance in which they led by a goal, the Islanders let the Sharks take over with four unanswered scores for a 4-1 win at Nassau Coliseum last night.
San Jose scored a pair of goals in both the second and third periods and converted on their first two power plays.
Similar to several other losses this season, the Islanders got away from what gave them success in portions of the game.
"It's the same thing every game," said goaltender Martin Biron, who made 25 saves. "We're tired of saying the same thing and doing the same thing. At a certain point, we have to respond.''
The Islanders excelled in the first period, outshooting the Sharks 19-8. The effort paid dividends as Matt Moulson gave the Isles the lead at 15:12 with a power-play goal, assisted by Kyle Okposo and John Tavares.
Tavares showed good patience with the puck, cutting inside at the right circle and finding an open passing lane to Okposo, who fired a shot at the net that glanced off Moulson's left knee and past goaltender Evgeni Nabokov's right skate.
The Islanders were aggressive and inspired in the period. Even Tavares showed some uncharacteristic snarl, incurring his first penalty of the season after sticking up for teammate Brendan Witt by cross-checking Devin Setoguchi, who tried to pile on after Witt was crunched along the boards by Ryane Clowe.
But the Islanders couldn't duplicate their offensive vigor in the second period as they mustered only five shots compared with San Jose's 12.
"The hard part is realizing we're not going to be an explosive offensive team,'' coach Scott Gordon said. "If we think it's going to be easy, that's just not the makeup of our team. We can't be the reason the opposition turns things around, and that's pretty much been the case.''
An interference penalty on Witt gave the Sharks a power play and they tied the score on Patrick Marleau's lightning-quick backhander at 7:50.
Later in the period, Joe Thornton retrieved the puck behind the net as Radek Martinek lost control and slid into the boards in his own end. Thornton pushed the puck out in front to Ryan Vesce, who beat Biron in the five-hole to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead at 16:24.
Doug Weight had a prime scoring opportunity on a breakaway with less than a minute remaining in the second, but he hit the post.
Down a man to begin the third because of Jack Hillen's holding penalty, the Islanders gave up their second power-play goal to fall behind by two. Dan Boyle fed the puck from the right point to Thornton for a long slap shot 37 seconds in to make it 3-1.
Setoguchi sealed the victory at 13:55, roofing the puck to give the Sharks a three-goal lead.
Said Josh Bailey: "We've just got to keep working hard and find a way to get a victory and get that monkey off our backs.''