Anthony Beauvillier scored his first-career NHL goal on Tuesday night, but the rookie's appearance on the scoresheet wasn't enough for the New York Islanders, who fell 3-2 to the San Jose Sharks at Barclays Center.
With the Islanders playing their fourth game in six nights and the Sharks coming in on the second half of a back-to-back, Tuesday night resembled more of an endurance contest than a track meet. Tied 2-2 late in the third period, it was the Sharks who made the last push, with Joe Pavelski tipping the winner past Jaroslav Halak with 2:11 to play.
"We have to play a complete game," Anders Lee said. "Our second period was really nice and I thought we controlled the play, but we were really sluggish in the first and they just had more of a push in the third."
The loss was the Islanders' first home regulation loss to a Western Conference team since moving to Barclays Center (13-1-2).
The Islanders lacked the same first-period jump they displayed against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night, getting outshot by the Sharks 10-4, en route to falling behind 1-0 on Melker Karlsson's first of the season.
Video: SJS@NYI: Beauvillier battles for first NHL goal
They needed a jolt in the second period and it came in the form of Beauvillier's first career goal, whose pesky persistence paid off when his second rebound floated over Aaron Dell at 9:39 of the second. The Islanders rode that wave, with Anders Lee scoring 2:10 later, taking a nice backhand feed from Jason Chimera before sniping Dell upstairs.
"We can't blame them for us not driving our legs collectively as a unit all over the ice," Travis Hamonic said. "We were a bit slow to pucks early on and probably until early in the second period when Beau got us on the board."
Cal Clutterbuck nearly put the Islanders up 3-1, but rang a puck off the post shortly after and that was the wakeup call the Sharks needed. The reigning Western Conference champions snapped back into form, making a push at the end of the second. Where Karlsson failed to tie it - thanks to a great breakaway save by Jaroslav Halak (24 saves) - Tomas Hertl did not, evening the score 2-2 with 1:57 to play in the second.
"A good team like that with a lot of experience obviously from last year," Lee said. "They come in on a back to back and play a smart road game, stick with it and that's what to learn from that."
Video: SJS@NYI: Lee shows off quick hands on top-shelf snipe
Jack Capuano said after the game he wanted the Islanders to have taken more shots, as they only took 23 against a rookie goalie making his NHL debut.
"You have to be consistent putting pucks on net," Capuano said. "When you put pucks on net, you retrieve those pucks and then you get some extensive zone time."
After a whirlwind start to the season, the Islanders get two days off before playing the Arizona Coyotes on Friday night. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
BEAUVILLIER ON FIRST GOAL
"It felt good. I would have felt even better with a win. I was pretty happy, I was pretty excited and I couldn't stop smiling on the bench."
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