Islanders-Sharks Preview

The New York Islanders’ road futility is approaching historic

levels and already their worst stretch in over 40 years.

Their overall play lately isn’t any better.

The Islanders attempt to snap a pair of 10-game losing streaks

Tuesday night against the San Jose Sharks – one of the best home

teams in the NHL.

New York (8-18-5) hasn’t won on the road since beating Ottawa

5-4 in a shootout on Nov. 1. The Islanders have been outscored

43-16 while losing 10 straight on the road, and they’ve all come

during regulation.

It’s just the third road losing streak of that duration, and the

other two came during their inaugural 1972-73 season. Those

stretches of 15 and 13 games, respectively, contributed to a 2-35-2

road record.

New York has dropped 12 of 15 as the visitor this season.

The Islanders’ woeful season hasn’t been limited to the road, as

evident by their 10-game overall losing streak – their longest

since a franchise-record 14 straight from Oct. 23-Nov. 24,

2010.

Both of their current slides reached double-digits with Monday’s

5-2 loss at Anaheim. New York held a 37-31 shot advantage and a

pair of leads before giving up four unanswered goals.

“We generate a lot, but we can’t score,” coach Jack Capuano

said. “I don’t know what to tell you. We get chances that other

teams score on when they get them. Right now, the Johnny Tavares

line is the only line that’s finding the back of the net, and then

everything gets magnified.”

Tavares did his part again Monday, scoring a goal and assisting

on Thomas Vanek’s early in the second period.

Tavares has one goal and two assists in three career meetings

with the Sharks (19-6-5), while Vanek has five goals in his past

five.

The Islanders, though, are 2-8-2 with one tie over their past 13

meetings with San Jose, losing four in a row on the road and six of

seven overall (1-4-2).

The Sharks are also among the best home teams in the league at

10-1-2, scoring 4.2 goals per game.

They’re surely looking forward to returning to San Jose for a

pair of games after a 1-3-0 trip ended with Sunday’s 3-1 loss at

Minnesota. San Jose hosts the Wild on Thursday, but the team will

try to enter that matchup with a six-game home winning streak.

Showing improvement on the power play could help.

The unit has converted just 3 of 35 opportunities over the past

10 games, and Sunday’s 0-for-4 effort extended the drought to nine

chances the past three contests.

“The power play was awful,” coach Todd McLellan told the team’s

official website. “I don’t know if, in six years that I’ve been as

disappointed with the power play as I am right now, and it’s not

even about me. I’m sure they’re disappointed in their power

play.

“They are an elite group that has come out and been a threat for

a long time. I’d like to see two or three guys take charge of it

and let’s get going, because right now they go out and it’s killing

the momentum that we gain.”

McLellan may be thrilled to see the Islanders’ penalty kill,

which has surrendered power-play goals on 16 of 39 chances during

their road losing streak.

Patrick Marleau has 13 goals, and a team-high five on the power

play. However, he hasn’t managed one on the man-advantage in 12

games.

The left wing scored San Jose’s lone goal Sunday, and he has two

goals and four assists over his past five meetings with New

York.