In a night where all the fans' focus in San Jose was on Evgeni Nabokov, Kevin Poulin stole the show. In the end, Poulin came up with 46 saves and another win under his belt.
The game started pretty much as expected. The Sharks dominated right out of the gate, with all four lines getting solid chances in the first 6 minutes. Evgeni Nabokov got a huge round of applause and a "Nabby" chant from the crowd when he was shown on the jumbotron. The Islanders took two delay of game penalties early on to give the Sharks back to back powerplays. The Sharks PP unit looked okay on the first, awful on the second. You know, business as usual.
The rest of the first continued like that. At 5 on 5, the Sharks absolutely dismantled the Islanders, but Kevin Poulin came up huge time and time again. And despite 3 powerplays, the Sharks were left off the board. At the end of the first, it was still scoreless, but the Sharks out-shot New York 18-3.
The second period started exactly like the first. But then, something magical happened. After Brent Burns rocked Frans Nielsen on a hip check, Matt Carkner tried to go after Tomas Hertl and took a penalty. On the ensuing powerplay, Patrick Marleau took a shot that deflected wide down low. It was picked up by Logan Couture at the side of the net and thrown back in front. Dan Boyle partially fanned on a shot and the puck kicked over to a wide open Marleau. Patty had a near-open net and finally beat a diving Poulin to put the Sharks on the board. 1-0 Sharks. Marleau from Boyle and Couture at 5:26 of the second.
New York would start to turn the tide in the period, and registered some solid chances, but San Jose was able to build on their lead. Marleau forced a turnover in the Islanders' zone and immediately handed it off for Joe Pavelski. Pavelski pulled up to the net and threw a pass across for Boyle. Boyle's shot kicks right back to Pavs for another wide open shot. 2-0 Sharks. Pavelski from Boyle and Marleau at 15:24 of the second. Down the stretch in the middle frame, the awesome John Tavares nearly scored on a spin-o-rama shot. Shots in the second finished up at 11-11.
When the third period started, San Jose had a strong shift. But then, the Islanders found Tavares on a long stretch pass. Tavares forced his way around Justin Braun as he drove to the net, but Niemi stoned him with an outstretched pad. Unfortunately, this left Niemi out of position as the rest of Tavares' line crashed the net. In a mad scramble, Thomas Vanek finally put it in the back of the net. 2-1 Sharks. Vanek from Okposo and Tavares at 0:51 of the third.
Both teams had their chances in the third, and despite being outshot 16-10 in the third, the Islanders were able to get some quality chances on the counter-attack. The Islanders would book-end this period with a late goal to tie tie it up. With less than two minutes to go and the extra attacker out there, Tavares won a faceoff straight back to Okposo. Okposo ripped it past Niemi with Vanek providing the screen in front. 2-2 tie. Okposo from Tavares at 18:23 of the third.
In overtime, Tavares and Brent Burns exchanged some great chances, but neither was able to score. Antti Niemi came up with a huge save on Brock Nelson while doing his best "4-OT Nabby" impression - a huge glove save while sliding to his left. It was inevitable this game was going to a shootout.
Joe Pavelski was the first shooter, and on his new "stop and go" go-to move, he was robbed by the pad of Poulin. On the play, Poulin seemed to tweak something in his leg. While Anders Nilsson had to warm up, Poulin was able to stay in the game. Vanek scored on a nice snipe over Niemi's glove while Couture responded with a backhand-forehand score. In round four, Okposo reversed it and went forehand-backhand for the goal and the win.
Sharks lose 3-2 in a shootout.
- Shots finished up 48-28 in the Sharks favor.
- Hits finished up 34-13 in the Islanders favor.
- I imagine the Maple Leafs management just laughed and yelled "I TOLD YOU SO" after seeing those two stats.
- The Marleau-Couture-Pavelski line seemed to dominate the Tavares line in scoring chances. But the Tavares line made those few chances count.
- I'll have to wait to see the numbers to decide how Martin Havlat did tonight. He was forced off the puck a few too many times, but he did set up Tyler Kennedy for quite a few good chances.
- Another game with Sheppard scratched, and another loss. They are 2-1-2 with Commander Sheppard riding the pine. I'm sure he would have been the one to score in the first period.