The Islanders got a star performance from their goaltender and clutch goals from their top line to defeat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 in a shootout Tuesday at SAP Center.
“To stick with it all game – and be down 2-0 to a good hockey team in the third period and get a win – it’s big for our club,” Okposo said.
The Sharks were 16-1-1 when leading after two periods, but Thomas Vanek scored in the first minute of the third, giving the Isles some jump. The equalizer came with 1:37 to play, as Okposo scored high on Antti Niemi off an offensive-zone draw with the Isles net empty. Both Vanek and Okposo scored for the Islanders in the shootout.
“The goal at the start of the third really got us going and put them on their heels,” John Tavares said. “Once we saw that, we started to really generate some momentum and generate some confidence in our game.”
The comeback would not be possible without an impressive performance from Poulin. The Isles goaltender kept his club in it early, with 18 saves in a scoreless first period, including several highlight-reel stops on Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau. Poulin also finished his night by stoppeding three-of-four shootout attempts.
“We needed our goalie to step up and steal a game for us and in the first period he did that,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “After the first, we settled down and made some adjustments and went back out. The guys played hard and had a never-quit attitude.”
Marleau and Joe Pavelski each scored for the Sharks off rebounds in the second period. Niemi made 26 saves in regulation and overtime and stopped two-of-four Islanders attempts in the shootout.
The Islanders wrap up their five-game Western conference road trip in the desert, as they face the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com arena Thursday night at 9 p.m. eastern time.
NOTES: John Tavares finished the game with two assists…Evgeni Nabokov received a standing ovation from the Sharks fans in his first visit to San Jose… The Islanders penalty kill went 3-for-4… Travis Hamonic led the Islanders with 27:29 TOI… Thomas Hickey led the Islanders with seven blocked shots… Cal Clutterbuck led the Islanders with six hits.