Islanders remain undefeated with shootout win over Sharks

Pekka Rinne makes incredible goal-line stick save

DEC 02, 12:13 am
Pekka Rinne miraculously stopped this shot from becoming a goal during the Predators' win over the Coyotes.


For just the third time in franchise history, the New York Islanders are perfect through their first four games.

John Tavares scored the decisive goal of the shootout and the Islanders beat the San Jose Sharks 4-3 on Thursday night.

San Jose's Logan Couture and New York's Kyle Okposo traded goals earlier in the shootout before Tavares beat Alex Stalock in the fifth round. San Jose's Joe Thornton missed on his turn and the Islanders improved to 4-0-0 before a raucous crowd at Nassau Coliseum.

The Islanders were perfect through four games previously to start in 1976-77 and 2001-02.

"These are fun games to play because there's such great energy in the building," said Tavares, who added two assists and leads the NHL with nine points. "We brought a good work ethic and a determination to win battles."

San Jose's Tomas Hertl tied the tense game at 11:16 of the third after goals by Okposo and Josh Bailey earlier in the period put the Islanders ahead 3-2.

Stalock made a spectacular glove stop on Tavares in the last minute of overtime and finished with 42 saves.

"The pace of the game was great, it was a real test of our players," Sharks coach Todd McClellan said. "But I thought they had more tenacity."

The Islanders dominated the first two periods, outshooting the Sharks 28-11 but they trailed 2-1 entering the third.

Okposo scored a power-play goal at 5:57 on a slick pass into the slot from Frans Nielsen. Josh Bailey put the home team ahead at 8:38 with his second of the season.

The goal inspired one of many loud choruses of "Let's Go Islanders!" from the Nassau Coliseum crowd. The Islanders will leave the classic arena after this season for the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

"The fans are tremendous, they are passionate," Tavares added. "They want us to be a playoff team and that's what we want too. We want to be a tough team at home."

Okposo's goal was the Islanders' sixth on the power-play in 14 chances this season.

"That's one of the premier teams in the West and I think we outplayed them," Okposo said. "That's the kind of game we're capable of. And we still have room to grow."

Brent Burns and Patrick Marleau scored second-period goals for the Sharks, who had opened with three wins.

Burns opened the scoring for the Sharks at 1:39 of the second with assists to Joe Pavelski and Mirco Mueller.

It was the first NHL point for the 19-year-old Mueller, a first-round draft pick by the Sharks in 2013. The goal was first of the season for Burns, who shrugged when asked if the wide shots differential between the teams was a true barometer of the game.

"Sometimes stats are weird," he said.

Nick Leddy tied it for the Islanders at 4:05 of the second, pouncing on a loose puck in the high slot and sending it past Stalock for his second goal.

Patrick Marleau put the Sharks back on top with a power-play goal at 9:14, scoring from the left point 7 seconds after Ryan Strome went off for cross-checking.

Marleau's team-best third goal this season was the 440th of his career. The 35-year-old forward is playing his 18th season with the Sharks.

The Islanders opened the season with two wins over the Carolina Hurricanes and a comeback 6-3 victory over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. They next will visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

"Our puck management was good and we had good decision making," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We did a lot of little things well."

San Jose's John Scott hammered Mikhail Grabovski midway through the first period with an apparently clean hit. Grabovski didn't return to the game. The Islanders said the forward sustained an upper body injury.

Earlier Thursday, the Islanders sent rookie defenseman Griffin Reinhart to AHL Bridgeport and activated Calvin de Haan from injured reserve.

NOTES: The Islanders wore the blue alternate jerseys they debuted for last January's outdoor game against the Rangers at Yankee Stadium ... The Islanders scratched Colin McDonald and Eric Boulton plus defenseman Matt Donovan. ... San Jose scratched Mike Brown and Mike Sheppard and defenseman Scott Hannan.

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