The New York Islanders visited San Jose Friday afternoon looking for some sort of redemption and perhaps even a winning record on their tough three-game trip to California this week.
What they got was more of the same, all the way to and including a last-minute goal to hand the Isles a regulation defeat just half a minute after they appeared to salvage something.
Officially, it was a 3-2 loss. Psychologically, it has to be rock bottom.
For this post-Thanksgiving matinee the Islanders opened strong, drawing a power play 3:31 into the game and cashing it in just 28 seconds later. Anders Lee deflected a Josh Bailey point shot past Aaron Dell to give the Isles an early 1-0 lead.
Then the Sharks woke up.
San Jose outshot the Isles 10-3 the rest of the period (11-5 overall at the break) but failed to score on a few golden chances, including a Joe Thornton penalty shot created by a Johnny Boychuk accosting. The Isles had a very good penalty kill to preserve the 1-0 lead late in the period.
Greiss kept making save after save into the second, but the Sharks finally broke through on an odd-man rush when Joe Pavelski picked the top corner. That tied the game at 5:09 of the second, and 34 seconds later the Sharks had the lead. Brent Burns’ shot from the neutral zone deflected off Calvin de Haan’ stick enough to keep a high speed but curve and handcuff Greiss.
Josh Bailey set up John Tavares for a golden chance to equalize, but the captain missed an open net, a
n obvious plea to take the loss and force a firing sign of how things are going for the Isles.
They’d reach the second intermission trailing 2-1, yielding little sign of a comeback.
The Islanders strategy of playing five good minutes and then hoping the Sharks leave the arena hasn't worked out that well.— Dan Saraceni (@cultureoflosing) November 25, 2016
The Inevitable and Perfect Ending to This Trip, and To Everything
What happened next, after all the late game-deciding goals already this season and all the futility in the Isles’ play, can only be described as perfect. Perfectly awful. Appropriately so.
After a truly spirited and commendable third-period effort to tie the game, the Islanders finally did it! With Greiss pulled for a sixth attacker — on a rush from a dump-in, no less — John Tavares set up Nick Leddy for the tying goal with 57 seconds to go in regulation.
Then Patrick Marleau deflected a Brent Burns shot past Greiss 35 seconds later.
There were just over 22 ticks left on the clock. We can only assume there was nothing left in this Isles season.
Quote of the evening
No comedy this time, just life:
“It’s a quite noticeable difference between how these two teams attack the front of the net.”
>>Butch Goring, during the MSG+ broadcast