The San Jose Sharks needed a win after returning home from losing their last three of a four-game road trip. They thought they had that covered against the inferior New York Islanders on Tuesday night, but San Jose was unable to shake its struggles with a 3-2 shootout loss.
San Jose completely lost the energy it generated following a 5-0 homestand before leaving for its last road trip. The team was playing very well and was second in the NHL point standings, but a convincing loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins followed by losses in completely winnable games to the Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild started raising concerns that the Sharks could possibly be back in a funk. Defenseman Dan Boyle called the Sharks’ 3-1 loss to the Wild on Sunday night the worst loss of his San Jose career.
The Islanders had lost their last 10 road games coming into Tuesday night’s game against San Jose. The Sharks knew this was a perfect opportunity to get back into the win column, which they were somehow unable to accomplish. New York scored its game-tying goal with 1:37 left in the game. At no point in the game did San Jose look like the overwhelming favorite that it should have played like.
San Jose continued to struggle on the power play, though center Joe Pavelski was able to score one in the second period. San Jose was 0-for-9 over its past two games on the power play, and was only able to convert 1-of-4 power plays against the NHL‘s worst penalty kill unit.
Maybe they just ran into a hot night from Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin, who record a career-high 48 saves, but the Sharks allowed the Islanders to hang around far too late into the game. New York pressured San Jose goalie Antti Niemi up until the final minutes, when it was able to come from behind and tie the game. A Sharks team playing to its full abilities would have won by a much larger margin, considering they out shot New York 48-28.
Who knows when this skid will end for the Sharks, but a loss to the second-to-last place team in the Eastern Conference may be a new season-low.