If you were expecting another fast-paced Sharks game like the one against Detroit yesterday, well you were right for the first 17 seconds. Imagine the following: The game starts with a Logan Couture faceoff win. Sharks have possession in the offensive zone and Couture draws a cross-checking penalty from Steve Staios. Ten seconds pass.
Sharks on the power play, faceoff in the offensive zone. Faceoff is lost but the Sharks get the puck back. The puck is brought to Dan Boyle at the point at he fires a shot. It hits the post and Joe Pavelski is there to pick up the rebound. Rick DiPietro is out of position and it's 1-0 Sharks. Seven seconds pass.
At this point Sharks fans were getting themselves ready for an exciting game but nope, didn't happen. Tonight the Sharks expectedly looked like a team playing the second night of a back-to-back. For only the third time this season they were outshot. It was an uncharacteristic game but Thomas Greiss was there to make 35 saves on 37 Islander shots. The Sharks were fortunately able to support him with 3 goals on 30 shots.
Shortly after Pavelski's goal, Dan Boyle was sent to the penalty box for a hooking call. The Sharks penalty kill held strong limiting the Islanders to 3 shots on their power play. The first five minutes set the trend for the rest of the game. It was back and forth action all night with both teams playing strong but neither outright dominating.
The Sharks took four penalties tonight which was a bit too much. Four minutes after Boyle's hooking call, the Sharks were penalized with too many men on the ice. Once again, the Sharks held strong limiting the Islanders' chances. The Sharks defense played well tonight in front of Greiss. There were a few instances where Greiss made solid saves that put him slightly out of position. The D was consistently there to clear out rebounds.
After two solid penalty kills and an early goal, the Sharks didn't build any momentum. The first period was slightly uneventful as the game had a somewhat slow pace.
Two minutes into the second period the Sharks would once again find themselves short handed. Jason Demers took a hooking call and this time the PK did not keep up their success. The Islanders piled shots onto Greiss and he made a few saves but that wasn't enough as he fell out of position when Jonathan Tavares found a rebound and scored to tie the game.
The Islanders were able to take the lead later in the second period when Joe Pavelski regretfully cleared the puck over the glass. He was given a delay of game call for the Sharks 4th straight penalty in a row. The Islanders wasted no time scoring quickly. Brent Burns could not contain Michael Grabner as he received a pass from Kyle Okposo who put the puck past Greiss.
The game looked like it was about to go completely in the Islanders direction but a minute and 51 seconds later, Logan Couture scored the nights only even strength goal for either team. After finding a Brent Burns rebound, his wrister hit the back of the net.
The start of the third period was similar to the first. Staios took a penalty, this time of the interference variety, and the Sharks looked solid on the power play once again. They created several quality chances but were unable to score a goal. After that the game went back to its slow-pace. The Islanders had several scoring chances for the rest of the game but Greiss didn't let anymore get past him. Marc-Edouard Vlasic was solid on defense tonight, quietly shutting down the oppositions forwards.
With 3:27 left in the third period, the Sharks had a golden opportunity to take the game away. Dan Boyle recieved a viscous elbow to the head from Okposo. The Sharks were awarded a power play but this time it did not go so well. Right off the bat the power play looked disorganized. They couldn't settle in the offensive zone as the Islanders killed it off. To no ones surprise the game headed to overtime.
Thirty seconds in, the Sharks forced Islander defenseman Travis Hamonic to clear the puck out of his zone. The puck subtly hit the glass and went out of play. The refs charged the Islanders with a bad delay of game call. The Sharks didn't mind this and quickly went to work. They started the 4 on 3 power play off patiently passing the puck around. Pavelski fed Burns the puck and fired it right into the Islanders goal giving the Sharks the win.
With the way most of the game went, the Sharks should be very content with getting the two points. For the majority of the night it looked like the game could have gone either way. They were lucky to receive the OT power play but they took advantage of it and won the game.
Final score: 3-2 Sharks
Tomorrow the Sharks will rest and on Monday they will take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
I'm not sure about the rest of you guys but when I first saw that the Islanders would be playing the Sharks I was looking forward to playing against Evgeni Nabokov. It's disappointing that he didn't play because he was injured so I'll leave you guys with a little known fact about him:
The 1980 classic hit song from The Police Don't Stand So Close To Me contains the lyric "Just like the old man in / that book by Nabokov." This is a reference to the then 5 year old Evgeni Nabokov