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Sharks 2*, Islanders 1 (*SO): Hot Isles extend point streak to 1

That's not a uniform, that's a six-year-old's ninja pajama.
That's not a uniform, that's a six-year-old's ninja pajama.

I was in a bar for the final third of this game and I confess I was so relieved just to get a freaking standings point that I forgot in many circles this is still considered a "losing" streak. (For reasons I won't repeat here, I see shootouts as ties followed by a round of pin the tail on the donkey.) A guy next to me who wondered why I asked the bartender to turn on the Isles game asked, "So that means they've lost nine in a row, right?" and my honest initial reaction was, "No, it was eight before toni--...oh, yeah, I guess the breakaway drill counts." {/shootout rant you've read a thousand times.}

Game Sum | Event Sum | Corsi - H2H | Recaps: NHL - Isles

Final - 11.11.2010 1 2 3 OT SO* Total
New York Islanders 0 1 0 0 0 1
San Jose Sharks 0 1 0 0 2 2*

Complete Coverage >

It's not that I'm pleased -- God no. But after two epically awful games during this futility streak, and a couple more in the beginning that raised red flags, the Isles have calmed one of the variables that they can control: Defense and goaltending. They say defense is what a coach can influence to some extent, so if Scott Gordon's adjustments and whiteboard lessons are working, that's a positive sign. (On the other hand, if it was just a matter of going with the in-form goalie, well nevermind.) So seven goals for in seven games is still awwwwwful; but four goals against in the last three is a step toward having a chance to win on any given night.

The Isles were outshot 38-22 in regulation (the difference with the total was the Isles' 3-0 shot advantage in OT) but 28-21 at 5-on-5. That tells you Dwayne Roloson was huge, but particularly so on the PK, where the Sharks had 4-5 opportunities to the Isles' 1, including the 5-on-3 where the Sharks got the tying goal from Dan Boyle.

Game Highlights


  • My favorite might have been seeing Frans Nielsen get leveled, twice, and still get back up each time to take the puck toward the Sharks net. It's on the highlight clip above, in the first half or so.
  • Naturally when I criticize someone's shot for being "unthreatening from distance," he goes and scores the only Islanders goal. P.A. Parenteau's wrister was nice, through a screen, up high, and even gave us that aesthetically pleasing forceful stick bend that used to be impressive before all sticks became composite pieces of breakable crap. (These days, my four-year-old nephew could bend his stick on a shot -- and could even break it just by looking at it cross.)
  • The powerplay came up short again (0-1), but games where there is only one opportunity (in the first, no less) are never a faithful indicator. Even with a cold powerplay of late, they remain above 20% and in the top third of the league; it's sad, but the first step to awakening the offense may lie in simply getting more PP opportunities.
  • Frans Nielsen runs into another goalie who probably had the book on the Danish Backhand of Judgment. Le sigh. Might not be time yet, but we're getting closer to the moment where he'll have to mix it up.
  • Speaking of the shootout: Just like when I criticize Parenteau's shot he puts one upstairs from above the slot, so to does he not miss on shootout moves...until he joins the Islanders. Ah, isn't luck grand.
  • Saw this come up in the game thread: The Sharks' contribution to the NHL's repulsive "None More Black" third jersey trend truly are ridiculous. I guess they're not as bad as blocking "S-E-N-S" or "B-O-L-T-S" across your chest, but they're still an insult to the team's regular theme. I'm just going to enjoy this year when the Isles have no third, and then dread the identity crisis that will loom next time they rejoin the money grab parade.
  • It's been great that Dwayne Roloson has been the hot-ish, "Good Dwayne" many of us remember from last season before the three-goalie circus came to town. But this team cannot afford to run the 41-year-old out there every night, so it poses an interesting question sometime soon. Does Gordon go with him until he has a bad night?
  • Though I do put stock in Corsi over long stretches of time (like 20 games is when I start to look and think; 40-80 games is when I start to draw conclusions), I don't find much enlightening in them for single-game episodes. That said: Wow, Mike Mottau was a minus-17 in that department. (Fairness: Radek Martinek was minus-15; Blake Comeau minus-12.) Don't take that as a criticism of Corsi -- rather, single-game episodes have context that is better understood through seeing what happened, if you have that luxury.

Oh, and speaking of Roloson: While I'm looking for little signs of adjustments and progress because writing the same thing about how awful losing is frankly gets boring and tells you nothing you don't already know (I trust everyone understands the headline is Onion-inspired absurdity), I do appreciate Roloson's frank assessment:

"I guess that's a positive but close doesn't cut it any more," Roloson said. "We have to stop the bleeding right now."

Good on Roloson; he did his part. Now if only the Isles could shoot straight, I wouldn't be left to micro-threads of thought like, "But is the defense getting better?"...