The New York Islanders and San Jose Sharks both came into the night undefeated, so of course their unblemished records was decided by a shootout. (A note about that perfection: San Jose's record was already aided by a shootout win in Washington.) John Tavares settled it with a conversion at Schremp-like speed, after Jaroslav Halak stopped the final four Sharks shooters.
It was an electric game with a strong effort by the Islanders throughout. Including overtime, the Isles outshot San Jose 45-23. Calvin de Haan was back in the lineup for his first game of the season, while Mikhail Grabovski took a big hit that removed him from the game in the first period.
Video highlights, stat links and our immediate "plus/minus" reactions and battle level chart follow below. As always, add your own in comments.
+ The Isles taking it to the Sharks in the first, outshooting them 14-3 and keeping most Sharks shot attempts away from the net (actual attempts were 28-18 for the NYI). At one point San Jose went over 13 minutes between shots on goal.
- Not scoring on all those first-period shots. Alex Stalock was good. Second-period shots were 14-8 but the Sharks won that frame, 2-1.
- John Scott crushing Mikhail Grabovski like a pineapple. Grabovski's reaction while lying on the ice was not reassuring.
- Our heart rates after watching Brent Burns hitting in the foot with a shot, then scoring while Tavares lay lifeless on the ice.
+ Tavares coming back on the next shift, first gingerly in the corner and then buzzing to help create Nick Leddy's tying goal.
+ Mike Bossy in his first stint as intermission commentator.
- Ryan Strome's penalty, a crosscheck in front of the Sharks crease. Quoth Bossy: "Nothing more you can say. It's just a bad penalty." Strome came oh so close to redeeming himself in the shootout, ringing the post.
- The luck and the "sleep" as Bossy called it off the ensuing faceoff: Frans Nielsen breaks his stick, the forwards don't overlap right, leaving Patrick Marleau an open shot with Logan Couture unchallenged for his massive screen in front of Halak.
+ The top line at the end of the second period, doing everything but tying the game.
+ The power play zone entry -- a veritable flying V -- on Kyle Okposo's tying goal after nifty passes from Tavares and Nielsen.
+ Josh Bailey's goal to (briefly) take the lead. Excellent play by him (more on that at the bottom), but good forecheck by Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas too.
- Leddy's fall at the blueline, allowing Tomas Hertl to waltz in to tie it at 3-3. What a shot to the far upper corner. (Still wish Halak would have that one.) And though Hertl might not have gotten his skate blade all the way back onside, it was a brilliant play to sneak behind Leddy.
+ THE COLISEUM CROWD. Loud well before the opening faceoff, and never letting up. As Howie Rose implied, no building in the league sounds like that when it's 3-4,000 short of a sellout.
- Two undefeated teams being settled by a shootout.
+ The Isles winning that shootout, keeping the Coliseum fans on their feet.
+ Me, remembering to switch to my Hamonic jersey for the third period after his touching feature on E:60. You can thank me for the comeback later.
Battle Level Chart
- Hahd: Tavares on that shift after the shot off his foot. Johnny Boychuk on that scramble that nearly gave the Sharks the winner in OT. John Scott's very essence, unfortunately.
- Smaht: Nikolay Kulemin, part III. Guy knows how to play hockey, AND he plays it hahd.
- Passengers: What, Brock Nelson and Johnny Boychuk couldn't score this game? And hey Halak, three goals again? Not what you're paid to do. More seriously: Strome; that penalty while he's already under the coach's microscope, ugh.
- Warriors: Kyle Okposo, every shift.
- Overall Battle Level: The Capuano Zone. They battled all night, didn't let setbacks stop the charge.
Hey There, Josh Bailey
That was some play by Josh Bailey. Midair grab, drop, spin, top shelf pick in traffic. 3-2 #Isles at 8:38.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) October 17, 2014