New York Islanders vs. San Jose Sharks Pick & Prediction MARCH 18th 2023

Stadium: SAP Center at San Jose San Jose
Logo New York Islanders
Logo San Jose Sharks

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The New York Islanders continue their push for an Eastern Conference playoff spot on Saturday night when they visit the San Jose Sharks.

It's the final game of a three-game western road swing for the Islanders (35-27-8, 78 points) who along with the Pittsburgh Penguins (34-24-10, 78 points) occupy the two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference. Both teams are three points ahead of the Florida Panthers (34-27-7, 75 points).

New York started the trip with a 5-2 loss at Los Angeles on Tuesday, yielding four goals over a 10-minute span in the second period, but bounced back with a 6-3 victory at Anaheim on Wednesday. Kyle Palmieri led the way with a goal and three assists for his first career four-point game while Brock Nelson added two goals to hit the 30-goal mark for the second consecutive season.

"I give our guys credit," New York coach Lane Lambert said. "I thought (against the Kings) we played hard ... and I thought tonight we played extremely hard as well. I'm really happy with the group and proud of the guys."

Nelson became the first Islander since Anders Lee (2016-18) to have back-to-back 30-goal seasons.

"It was huge," Nelson said of the win over the Ducks which snapped a two-game losing streak. "Games like that, it's kind of nice where you can bounce right back, get right back at it. It's a good job by everybody."

A win over struggling San Jose (19-36-14, 52 points), which is last in the Western Conference and is just 1-6-3 over its last 10 games, would seem like a must for New York's playoff hopes. The Sharks are a dismal 6-19-10 at home this season, the only team in the NHL without double-digit home victories.

"Keep playing like we did, especially the second half of last game," defenseman Sebastian Aho said when asked about the key to finishing the road trip on a positive note. "I feel like the structure was good and we didn't give up a lot. We know if we keep that structure, we're going to get chances, and we've just got to keep putting pucks in net and keep shooting it."

San Jose comes in off a 2-1 overtime loss to visiting Seattle on Thursday. Vince Dunn scored the winner on a wrist shot from the top of the right face-off circle at 1:58 of OT to hand the Sharks their fifth straight loss (0-3-2).

William Eklund scored San Jose's lone goal on a penalty shot early in the third period, the second straight game that Eklund has scored. The 20-year-old Eklund became the second rookie in Sharks history to score a penalty-shot goal, joining Tomas Plihal who did it on March 9 in 2008.

"Ever since I saw him for the first time, I thought this kid is special," San Jose goaltender James Reimer, who had 30 saves, said of Eklund. "Just the way he plays, sees the ice, the way he can move. He's just a little water bug out there."

Eklund, who exhorted the crowd to stand up and cheer after his score, said it was tough to enjoy his goal afterward because of the way the game ended.

"I think everybody in here hates losing," Eklund said. "I think we played a good game today. (Reimer) was standing on his head giving us a chance to win. We've got to get better next game."

--Field Level Media

New York Islanders
San Jose Sharks

New York Islanders vs. San Jose Sharks Recap MAR 18TH 2023

Jean-Gabriel Pageau had a short-handed goal and an assist as the visiting New York Islanders cruised to a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.

Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin stopped 29 of 30 shots for his 25th win of the season.

It was the third short-handed goal of the season and 19th of his career for Pageau.

Kyle Palmieri, Ryan Pulock and Zach Parise also scored goals for New York (36-27-8, 80 points), which moved into sole possession of the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Isles are two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and three points in front of the Florida Panthers.

Kevin Labanc scored for San Jose (19-37-14, 52 points), which suffered its sixth straight loss (0-4-2). Kaapo Kahkonen made 29 saves for the Sharks, who are a league-worst 6-20-10 at home this season.

San Jose took a 1-0 lead at the 7:33 mark of the first period when Labanc fired a wrist shot from the top of the left circle past Sorokin's blocker side for his 12th goal of the season.

New York tied on Pageau's short-handed goal when he rushed down the left side and then cut in front of the crease and defenseman Erik Karlsson while wrapping a shot around the left pad of Kahkonen.

The Islanders took a 2-1 lead early in the second period when Palmieri redirected Scott Mayfield's shot from the right point through Kahkonen's pads for his 12th goal.

Pulock made it 3-1 with a power-play goal a few minutes later when he one-timed a shot from the right point inside the far left post for his fourth goal of the season.

Parise made it four unanswered goals for the Islanders when he scored his 18th goal at the 5:19 mark of the third period, deflecting an Alexander Romanov shot over Kahkonen's left shoulder.

--Field Level Media