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Huge turnaround for Islanders' penalty-killers

After being the worst in the NHL last season, they are 8-for-8 in three games this season.

San Jose Sharks right wing Kevin Labanc battles

San Jose Sharks right wing Kevin Labanc battles for the puck with Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech (3) and Leo Komarov (47) at the Barclays Center on Oct. 8, 2018. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

The Islanders’ penalty kill was historically bad last season, ranking last in the NHL at 73.2 percent, the worst in the league in nearly three decades. Three games into this season, it still is perfect.

The Islanders are 8-for-8 after killing off all four of the Sharks’ power plays in Monday afternoon’s 4-0 win at Barclays Center. The Sharks took nine of their 26 shots with the man advantage, but the Islanders’ Casey Cizikas capped the scoring with a shorthanded empty-netter as San Jose skated six-on-four with goalie Martin Jones pulled for an extra skater.

“We’ve been working on the kill,” said defenseman Ryan Pulock, who logged a team-high 5:20 of penalty-kill time. “Guys are laying their bodies on the line and getting in lanes. We’re doing the little things we need to do to be successful.”

Center Valtteri Filppula, who did yeoman work on a first-period kill despite losing his stick, had 4:01 of shorthanded ice time.

Homecoming

Sharks right wing Kevin Labanc, 22, who was born in Brooklyn and grew up on Staten Island, went scoreless in 16:28 in his second NHL game in his home borough. He had an assist in the Sharks’ 5-3 loss at Barclays Center on Oct. 21, 2017.

Labanc, who took a third-period boarding penalty on Cal Clutterbuck, said he had about 20 friends and family at Monday’s game.  “It’s awesome for them, just them seeing me play in the NHL to live out my dream,” he said.  “Any time I come to New York or New Jersey, I’m always so excited. You play that much harder because your family is watching.”  

Isles files 

Left wing Matt Martin, who spent the past two seasons with the Maple Leafs, scored his first goal for the Islanders since April 10, 2016 . . . Fourteen of the Islanders’ 18 skaters were credited with at least one blocked shot . . . Pulock logged a team-high 23:22, including 2:13 on the power play. He blocked three shots . . . Mathew Barzal, Josh Bailey and Filppula had assists and extended their point streaks to three games.

New York Sports