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New York at San Jose

Okposo's heroics help Isles top Sharks, snap 10-game skid

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Kevin Poulin kept the struggling New York Islanders in the game long enough for their top line to give the team a much-needed victory.

Kyle Okposo scored the tying goal with 1:37 left in regulation and got the game-winner in the fourth round of a shootout to help the Islanders snap a 10-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.

"This is a very good feeling," said captain John Tavares, who assisted on both goals. "It gives us some confidence, but at the same time we can't relax. They came out hard and Poulie did a great job of keeping us in it until we finally generated some momentum."

Poulin made 18 of his 46 saves in a stellar first period and also stopped three of four attempts in the shootout despite needing help from the trainer after feeling dehydrated following a pad save against Joe Pavelski in the first round.

Thomas Vanek also scored in the third period and shootout for the Islanders, who had lost 10 straight in regulation on the road as well as the 10 in a row overall.

"This was big for us," Okposo said. "They're a good team. As bad as we played in the first period, to stick with it all game and go into the third period down 2-0, to get this win was huge."

Patrick Marleau and Pavelski scored for the Sharks, who blew a 2-0 lead and have lost four straight. Antti Niemi made 26 saves.

"Third period in our building up 2-0, we've got to win those games," Pavelski said.

The Sharks seemed to be in control heading into the third, but the game changed after Vanek knocked in a rebound of Tavares' shot in the opening minute of the period. The Islanders controlled play for much of the rest of the period before getting the equalizer shortly after pulling Poulin for an extra skater.

Tavares cleanly won a faceoff from Pavelski, and Okposo fired a shot through a screen by Vanek that beat Niemi.

"Johnny has done a great job for us on drops," Okposo said. "I was looking to find someone but I had a lane and I tried to get it in there. It had eyes."

After being stopped on their first 23 shots by Poulin, the Sharks finally broke through early in the second when they got their fourth power play thanks to an after-the-whistle roughing penalty against Matt Carkner.

San Jose made the Islanders pay right away for that lack of discipline when Marleau got a rebound in the circle and shot it under a diving Poulin to make it 1-0. The Sharks had converted three of their previous 42 chances on the power play.

The Islanders, playing the back end of back-to-back games, got few chances and little luck early. They finally got a power-play chance midway through the second period, but Vanek hit the post and the rebound skipped over Tavares' stick.

The Sharks added to the lead later in the period when Pavelski knocked a rebound of Dan Boyle's shot into an empty net for his 10th goal to make it 2-0.

The Sharks thoroughly dominated the opening period, outshooting the Islanders 18-3 and getting three power plays. They even had a two-man advantage after Eric Boulton and Travis Hamonic took consecutive delay-of-game penalties.

Despite all that, they couldn't get a single puck past Poulin. He robbed Marleau with a blind pad stop during a delayed penalty for his best save and made five stops on the three power plays to keep the game scoreless after one.

"Poulin tonight was incredible," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "Give him full marks for the saves he made, especially early in the game. But we can't let teams or goaltenders hang around like we are right now. We have open nets, we have second-chance opportunities that we're not bearing down on. That makes a huge difference in our game."

Notes

The 18 shots were the second-most for the Sharks in a scoreless first period, one behind the team record of 19 set Dec. 30, 2006, at Phoenix. ... Former Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov, sidelined with a groin injury, got a loud ovation when he was shown on the video board in his first trip back to San Jose as a visiting player.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Minutes after sending the game to overtime, Kyle Okposo moves in on Antti Niemi and scores the deciding shootout goal.  (USATSI)
Minutes after sending the game to overtime, Kyle Okposo moves in on Antti Niemi and scores the deciding shootout goal. (USATSI)
Scoreboard
NY Islanders  (9-18-5) «00201 (2)3
San Jose (19-6-6)02000 (1)2
Three Stars
K. Poulin
NYI


Saves: 46
Save Pct.: .958
J. Tavares
NYI


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
P. Marleau
SJ


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
None
2ND PERIOD
05:26Power Play - Patrick Marleau (14), Wrist Shot. Assist: Boyle, Couture
15:24 - Joe Pavelski (10), Wrist Shot. Assist: Boyle, Marleau
3RD PERIOD
51.0 - Thomas Vanek (10), Wrist Shot. Assist: Okposo, Tavares
18:23 - Kyle Okposo (9), Wrist Shot. Assist: Tavares
OT
None
SHOOTOUT
  - Thomas Vanek (2), GOAL
  - Logan Couture (4), GOAL
  - Kyle Okposo (1), GOAL
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
07:23Boulton, 2 min, Delaying Game
09:15Hamonic, 2 min, Delaying Game
17:32Hamonic, 2 min, Hooking
2ND PERIOD
05:16Carkner, 2 min, Roughing
08:34Wingels, 2 min, Holding
3RD PERIOD
None
OT
None
SHOOTOUT
None
Shots On Goal
 123T
NYI3111024
SJ18111645
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Kevin Poulin 64:57462
Antti Niemi 64:45262
Game Information
Attendance - 17562
Referees - Rob Martell, Francois St-Laurent
Linesmen - Shane Heyer, Brad Kovachik
 
Other Games
Ott 1 Final
Buf 2
NJ 4 Final
Colu 5
TB 5 Final
Wash 6
LA 6 Final
Mon 0
Nash 4 Final
NYR 1
Det 2 Final
Fla 3
StL 2 Final
Wpg 1
Chi 6 Final
Dal 2
Bos 2 Final
Cal 1
Pho 3 Final
Colo 1
Car 4 Final
OT
Edm 5