Okposo helps Islanders hand Sharks their 1st loss, 6-3
NEW YORK (AP) The New York Islanders overcame another slow start and came through again with a big win in their new Brooklyn home.
Kyle Okposo scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period and added two assists as the Islanders got the last four goals of the game to beat San Jose 6-3 Saturday night and hand the Sharks their first loss of the season.
”The first 10 minutes, for whatever reason we haven’t played our style or brand of hockey,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. ”I think they’re getting adjusted to it. It’s a little bit different; it’s a little bit more travel for them, but as we go, we’ll monitor.”
Johnny Boychuk, Anders Lee, Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson and Frans Nielsen also scored to help the Islanders win their third straight – all at home.
New York has trailed 1-0 after one period in four of the first five games, and was down 2-0 early in the second against Nashville on Thursday night before pulling out a 4-3 win.
Jaroslav Halak made his season debut after missing the first four games due to an undisclosed upper body injury and finished with 22 saves.
”It’s a big win,” Halak said. ”It’s a long season, of course I want to be healthy.”
Joe Pavelski, Nikolay Goldobin and Joel Ward scored for San Jose, which gave up just two goals while opening the season 4-0-0. Alex Stalock stopped 28 shots in his first start of the season in place of Martin Jones.
Justin Braun and Joe Thornton each had two assists for the Sharks.
Mikhail Grabovski had a penalty shot for the Islanders late in the first period, but his attempt was stopped by Stalock.
On the go-ahead goal, Okposo got the rebound of his own shot behind the net, skated around Sharks defender Brenden Dillon and beat Stalock to put the Islanders up for good with his second of the season at 4:18 of the third.
Nelson snapped in an insurance goal with 8:50 left and Nielsen added an empty-netter – his 100th goal and 300th point of his career – with just under 3 minutes to go.
”To get 100 goals is definitely special,” Nielsen said. ”You play a long time, it’s meaningful.”
Pavelski scored with just under 7 minutes remaining in the opening period to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead with their fifth first-period goal in five games this season.
The Islanders challenged the play for goalie interference, as Pavelski made incidental contact with Halak, but the goal stood after a video review.
”We called in to challenge it, we thought we got a bump,” Capuano said. ”But he wasn’t interfered with.”
The teams then combined for five goals in the second, with the Islanders tying it and the Sharks going ahead until Bailey’s tip-in evened it for the final time with 6:02 to go.
Boychuk’s shot off the right post tied it 1-1 just 21 seconds into the second. However, Goldobin struck for his first NHL goal just 20 seconds later to put the Sharks back ahead.
The Islanders answered on the power play just 1:46 later when Lee got his second goal of the season. Stalock was initially struck in the mask by Ryan Strome’s slap shot and appeared to attempt to take his headgear off to get a stoppage in play. The puck fell behind the net, and Lee scooped up the rebound, banking it off the goalie.
”Buckles came undone, and I just tried getting it off because I can’t see when falls down on my head,” Stalock said.
After a short delay, the officials upheld the ruling on the ice of a goal.
”The ruling is if there is a scoring chance, they let it go, so he let it go,” Stalock said, referring to official Franocis St. Laurent. ”It happens so rarely, I never looked into the rule, but now I know that if the helmet comes off, it’s game on.”
Ward got his first goal as a Shark at 9:20, but Bailey’s redirection on Okposo’s shot just 4:38 later tied it 3-3.
NOTES: Halak became the third Islanders goalie to start a game this season. Thomas Greiss was 2-0-1 in his three starts, and Jean-Francois Berube started last Saturday’s loss at Chicago. … Islanders D Thomas Hickey (hand) made his season debut and logged 14:51 of ice time. … San Jose D Dylan DeMelo made his NHL debut, replacing Paul Martin, who was sidelined with a lower-body injury. … The Sharks wrap up their four-game East Coast road trip Monday against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.