The San Jose Sharks got back in the win column with a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders. This was the first loss the Islanders suffered at home to a Western Conference opponent.
Last season, Aaron Dell emerged late in the season to clinch a playoff spot for the San Jose Barracuda. His play carried into training camp, earning the backup goaltender spot behind starter Martin Jones for the San Jose Sharks.
In his Sharks’ debut, Dell made 21 saves to earn his first career NHL win in net. He is the fifth goalie in Sharks’ franchise history to record a win in a debut. Troy Grosenick won his debut two seasons ago with the Sharks in a 45-save shutout win against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Sharks’ captain Joe Pavelski scored his second goal of the season to break a 2-2 tie late in the third period. Pavelski was left open by Islanders’ defenders to create traffic in front of the net. Joe Thornton shot the puck from the point, where Pavelski deflected the puck by Islanders’ goalie Jaroslav Halak.
Head coach Peter DeBoer was unpleased with the Sharks’ compete level in Monday’s 7-4 loss to the New York Rangers. The Sharks were flat from the start and unable to bounce back.
At the Barclay’s center, San Jose came out attacking. As a result, the Sharks’ struck first on Melker Karlsson’s first of the season. Micheal Haley, replacing Matt Nieto on the fourth line, drew two Islanders’ defensemen to feed Tommy Wingels behind the boards. With space behind the net, Wingels found Karlsson in front of the net to finish the play.
With the early lead, San Jose controlled the first period and kept New York from registering a shot on net for 12 minutes. Dell looked poised early despite only facing four shots.
San Jose came out with momentum in the second period early, but a few mistakes allowed New York back in the game. Anthony Beauvillier and Anders Lee scored two minutes apart to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead. Beauvillier’s tally was his first career NHL goal.
Pressure allowed Beauvillier to chip a shot over the shoulder of Dell to find the corner of the net.
Shortly after the goal, the Islanders’ immediately pressured the Sharks in the offensive zone. Jason Chimera and Brock Nelson chipped away behind the San Jose net, freeing up the loose puck. Chimera fed Lee in the slot and went top corner on Dell’s glove side.
In a deficit, Dell looked to remain calm and keep his side in the game. With the Islanders’ on a power play, Dell fended off a shot by Islanders’ captain John Tavares in a critical moment. Soon after the power play, Cal Clutterbuck rang a shot off the post. Dell appeared to have gotten a piece before striking the iron.
With the Islanders’ seizing control, the Sharks’ needed their top lines to regain control of the game. Late in the second, the Sharks’ top line delivered the tying goal on Tomas Hertl’s first of the season. Hertl, swarmed by Islanders’ defenders, received a pass from Thornton where the puck bounced off his shin pad and squeezed between Halak’s skate and the goal post.
The Sharks’ were fortunate to have gone into the intermission with the score 2-2. The Islanders’ peppered shots on Dell aftr winning the faceoff battles.
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In the third, both teams had quality scoring chances, but none found the back of the net. With time winding down, Pavelski was able to put the Sharks ahead. The Sharks’ finished the game short-handed when Pavelski took a delay of game penalty. Despite an empty net, the Islanders’ could not find a tying goal for overtime.
Nelson, a former teammate of Dell in college, took the final shot of the game. Dell easily stopped the attempt, sealing his first win.
This was the first regulation loss at home for the New York Islanders against a Western Conference opponent. Before the game, their record at the Barclay’s Center was 13-0-2. The Islanders were coming off an overtime win Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks.
San Jose will be at Pittsburgh on Thursday in a rematch of the Stanley Cup Final. The Penguins beat the Sharks in six games to win the cup last season. Martin Jones is back in net for the Sharks. Sidney Crosby is questionable after suffering a concussion before the start of the season.
Should the Sharks want to leave Pittsburgh with two points, a complete team effort has to be executed.
Dell looked confident throughout the game even when facing a deficit. A couple critical saves kept the Sharks in the game where his efforts were rewarded. He will have to answer the call each time in net to assure Sharks’ management he was the right choice.