The New York Islanders lost a heartbreaker on Friday afternoon, falling 3-2 to the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center.
Trailing 2-1 with their net empty and a minute to play, Nick Leddy buried a John Tavares feed, sending the Islanders to the cusp of overtime. But the tie game was all too brief and the Islanders missed out on at least one point, as Patrick Marleau tipped a Brent Burns shot by Thomas Greiss with 22.5 seconds to play.
"These guys can't catch a break right now," head coach Jack Capuano said. "We played well in LA and played well again here tonight and tried to get it into overtime. They get a stick on a puck."
Video: NYI@SJS: Leddy buries a one-timer to tie game late
The loss dropped the Islanders to 1-2-0 on their California road trip, after losing late against the LA Kings on Wednesday night. John Tavares said the pain of the late goal was compounded by the fact that the Islanders played a solid game against the reigning Western Conference champs.
"We play our best game in a long time, build off our last couple of games and did a lot of good things," said Tavares, who set up the tying goal. "We have to find a way to shut the door and stop giving up late goals."
The Islanders got off to a good start on Friday, turning extended zone time into a power play and the man advantage into the game's first goal. Anders Lee tipped Josh Bailey's point shot by Aaron Dell at 3:59 for his third goal in two games, giving the Islanders a 1-0 lead on the power play.
Video: NYI@SJS: Lee redirects Bailey's point shot in for PPG
The quick strike woke up the Sharks, who outshot the Islanders 11-3 the rest of the period. San Jose's best stretch of the game continued into the early minutes of the second period, as they swarmed for a pair of goals 34 seconds apart. Joe Pavelski beat Thomas Greiss with a high shot on an odd-man rush to put San Jose on the board at 5:09. Brent Burns put the Sharks ahead shortly after, as his slap-shot from outside the blue line caromed off a stick and in at 5:43.
But the Islanders took back the momentum in the latter half of the period and had several good looks to tie it. Tavares put a backdoor feed from Josh Bailey wide of the net in the second while Burns dove into his net to block a Nikolay Kulemin backhand with Dell out of position in the third.
The Islanders pulled Greiss with 1:20 to play, setting off the sequence that led to Leddy's tying goal, but it was quickly nullified by Marleau's deflection.
"It was a tough loss for us because we battled back into the game," Johnny Boychuk said. "We worked hard, but it wasn't the result we want. We just have to continue to keep working hard, see what we can do better and go from there."
Greiss made 25 saves in the loss, not including a Joe Thornton penalty shot that Greiss forced wide. Dell made 26 saves in the win, his second against the Islanders this season.
CLUTTERBUCK BACK IN LINEUP:
Cal Clutterbuck returned to the Islanders lineup after a one-game absence. Clutterbuck skated 14:38 TOT with four shots and four hits.
The Islanders return home to play the Calgary Flames on Monday night at 7 p.m. The first 10,000 fans will receive a 1980-81 Stanley Cup Banner Rally Towel.