SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Islanders weathered the Sharks’ onslaught in the third period Saturday night, with Thomas Greiss making 40 saves in a 3-1 victory.
Greiss stopped all 16 San Jose shots in a lopsided third period and finished with 40 saves for his first win of the season and by far the best performance from an Islanders goaltender thus far.
Anders Lee and Brock Nelson provided the offense in the opening two periods and the Islanders could barely get out from under the Sharks’ attack in the third, hanging on thanks to Greiss and some defensive-zone desperation.
Cal Clutterbuck snapped one into an empty net with 1:50 to play to seal the win.
The Islanders still haven’t gotten a goal from any of their defensemen this season, but the goals that helped them take a 2-1 lead into the third period were on plays started by their defensemen. Specifically, the Calvin de Haan-Adam Pelech pairing, which had been on the ice for three goals against in the previous two games.
Nelson’s go-ahead goal in the second was aided by Pelech, but in a curious way. He tried to track a floating puck in the neutral zone and took a shoulder to the jaw from the Sharks’ Ryan Carpenter with the puck nowhere in sight. Pelech went down, got up and charged at Carpenter, who engaged a bit with Pelech near the red line, as did Carpenter’s two linemates.
The problem for them was that the officials let the game continue, and de Haan led an Islanders four-on-two into the Sharks’ zone. He sent a pass low to Josh Ho-Sang, who one-touched it to Nelson in the slot, and the center snapped one past Aaron Dell for Nelson’s team-leading third goal of the season and an Islanders lead at 6:27 of the second.
Greiss also did his part to maintain the lead, making 24 saves through two periods. He was moving decisively in his crease and swallowing up the numerous long-range shots, especially the bushel of pucks Brent Burns sent toward the goal. Burns and Joe Pavelski had 16 of the Sharks’ 46 shot attempts through two periods, but neither could break through.
Right off a first-period draw after de Haan went to the box for slashing, Mikkel Boedker got a point shot through traffic that Greiss kicked out to his left. Kevin Labanc, the Brooklyn-born, Staten Island-raised Sharks forward, grabbed the rebound and tried to send a pass through the slot that banked off Clutterbuck’s skate and through Greiss’ pads at 4:16, the third time in the Isles’ five games they allowed a goal inside of five minutes gone.
The Islanders were sparked by a nice defensive play from Scott Mayfield. The big defenseman took out Joe Thornton and Pavelski behind the Isles’ net, leading to a rush and a few shots on Dell.
The Isles pulled even when Pelech sent a low shot that both Jordan Eberle and Lee deflected, with Lee steering it into the net at 17:02.