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Islanders Leave Sharks Hungry in 3-2 Comeback Win In Shootout

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New York Islanders 3 San Jose Sharks 2 F/SO 2-1 Islanders

New York Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin had the game of his life, stopping 46 of 48 shots he faced, including three key saves in the shootout, to help his team end their 10-game losing streak by earning a 3-2 come-from-behind victory in a shootout. After Poulin was able to keep all 18 shots he faced from getting past him in the opening session, Patrick Marleau finally put a puck on goal that found its way to the back of the net 5:26 into the second period. The goal came on a power play for the Sharks, after Matt Carkner took a two-minute minor for roughing rookie Tomas Hertl. Joe Pavelski then put San Jose ahead by two goals later on in the period at the 15:24 point. It did not look good for the Islanders heading into the third period, being outshot 29-14 through the first two periods and trailing 2-0.
However, the visitors seemed to find life after captain John Tavares put a move on Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi. The net-minder left a rebound opportunity in front of the crease, where Thomas Vanek was able to chip the puck past him. Following the goal, with the Islanders now trailing 2-1, the team began to find a ton of offensive chances. Kyle Okposo finally scored the equalizer with 1:37 left in the game. The match stayed tied and went into overtime. The goalies would not let anything get past them in the extra frame and the game would advance to a shootout.
After Poulin made a save with his outstretched left pad, the 23-year-old reached back and grabbed his hamstring. Team trainer Matt Bain came from the bench to check on the goalie. Although Islanders television analyst Butch Goring thought that the goaltender must have pulled a muscle for sure, the young man was determined and would not be taken off the ice. Thomas Vanek rewarded the hero of the game with a goal on a snapshot on the ensuing Islanders opportunity to give the team a 1-0 advantage in the shootout. Logan Couture would challenge Poulin’s push off his left leg and would succeed to knot it at one apiece. After four failed attempts coming from both sides, the man who tied the game would have the last say. Okposo, perhaps feeling snubbed for being left off the Canadian Olympic team roster, ended the game on a backhander past Niemi to give the Islanders the 3-2 win. In a game where the Isles never gave up, being rewarded by picking up their first win on the current West Coast road trip, the team now will look to carry their momentum in to their next contest. Thursday night the stretch of away games will continue at Phoenix in a 9:00 pm start.

Notes: A day after being placed on waivers, Pierre Marc-Bouchard has been reassigned to the Islanders minor-league affiliate Bridgeport (CT) of the AHL. As previously reported, the Islanders are expected to call up their top prospect Ryan Strome. According to Katie Strang of ESPN New York, the AHL’s leading goal scorer is expected to meet the team in Phoenix for their contest on Thursday night.

Goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who has been out since November 16th against the Detroit Red wings after he injured his groin, is expected to return Thursday night in Phoenix, according to Rotowire. It will be interesting to see if Poulin can continue to earn playing time after Nabokov’s return.

Greg Aaron:PureSportNY

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