The New York Islanders lost 3-2 to the San Jose Sharks at the Barclays Center Tuesday night. The Isles led 2-1 on goals by Anthony Beauvillier and Anders Lee but a late second period goal by Thomas Hertl tied the game before Joe Pavelski netted the game-winner with just 2:11 left in regulation time. Rookie goalie Aaron Dell made 21 saves to earn the victory for the Sharks. It was the 27-year-old rookie’s first career NHL game.
The Islanders got off to a slow start in the game and looked sluggish throughout most of the first period. Since the Islanders were facing a rookie goalie making his NHL debut, they figured to test Dell early and often but the Sharks controlled the tempo of the game in the first period and held the Islanders without a shot on goal for more than 12 minutes.
The Sharks took the lead just 5:36 into the contest on a goal by Melker Karlsson. The play was set up by a pretty centering pass by Tommy Wingels from behind the Isles net. The New York defense simply allowed the Sharks fourth line too much room on the play.
Overall, the Sharks outshot the Isles 10-4 in the opening period and led 1-0 at the first intermission.
“It was a pretty slow start for us,” Isles captain John Tavares admitted. “We played four [games] in six days and coming off the back-to-back, we were a little heavy to start.”
The Islanders played their best hockey tonight in the middle stanza and evened the score midway through the period on Beauvillier’s first NHL goal. The rookie made a strong second effort to put the shot on net and Dell had trouble catching the loose puck and helped deflect it into his own net. The game was even at 1-1.
The 19-year-old rookie from Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, was excited to score in the NHL. “It would have felt better with a win tonight but I was pretty happy and pretty excited,” Beauvillier said. “I couldn’t stop smiling on the bench.”
Isles coach Jack Capuano was pleased with the maturity Beauvillier has demonstrated in his first three career NHL games. “He’s a young kid, he’s working hard trying to adapt to the system that we play,” Capuano explained. “He’s one of the guys that just comes to the rink every day and just wants to work and get better.”
Lee gave the Isles the lead just 2:10 later when he scored his first goal of the year off a nice feed by Jason Chimera and suddenly the home team led 2-1 and had the momentum in their favor.
That momentum stalled with 1:57 left in the second period, however, when Joe Thornton made one of his pinpoint passes that found Tomas Hertl in the slot and Hertl beat Jaroslav Halak to tie the game at 2-2.
The third period lacked flow as both teams clamped down defensively. The Sharks outshot the Isles 8-6 and scored the only goal of the period when Joe Pavelski deflected a soft shot by Thornton that changed direction just enough to beat Halak with just 2:11 left in regulation time.
Coach Jack Capuano pulled Halak for a sixth attacker in the final 90 seconds but the Isles were unable to get the equalizer. The loss dropped the Islanders record to 1-3-0 on the young season.
“We’ve got to have a full 60 minutes,” Lee said after the game. “We can’t just have a good 20 minutes, we have to have the full 60.”
The Islanders return to action Friday night when they host the Arizona Coyotes at the Barclays Center at 7 PM.
Official attendance was 10,772.
Center Casey Cizikas started the game despite taking a shot to the leg and leaving Sunday’s game early.
The Islanders scratches were Mathew Barzal and J.F. Berube.
This was the Isles first regulation home loss at the Barclays Center to a Western Conference opponent. They are now 13-1-2 at their new home against Western Conference foes.