ISLANDERS (4-9-2) at SHARKS (6-5-2)
TV -- MSG PLUS (HD); CSN-California (HD)
Last 10 -- New York 2-7-1; San Jose 5-4-1
Season series -- The teams haven't met in more than a year, since San Jose won 4-1 at the Nassau Coliseum on Oct. 17, 2009. The Islanders have lost their last three visits to San Jose, and the Sharks are 9-2-0 in the last 11 meetings.
Big story -- The Sharks are still trying to get all the pieces to mesh, though getting captain and No. 1 center Joe Thornton back after a two-game suspension will help. But nothing is going right for the Islanders, who've dropped eight in a row for the first time in nearly 13 years -- including a 1-0 loss at Anaheim on Thursday in which they dominated everywhere but on the scoreboard.
Islanders -- New York outshot Anaheim 27-14, had 63 shots at goal to 34, drew six power plays to two for the Ducks -- and still lost 1-0. They've managed just two goals in their last three games and haven't led at any point during their eight-game slide.
The loss to the Ducks left coach Scott Gordon frustrated, to say the least.
"We can't score right now," he said. "We had 27 shots on net, we had another 36 that were blocked or missed the net. Sometimes that's an indication that you're trying too hard, looking for the perfect opportunity. The defensive effort we've had the last two games has been great. Eventually the offensive side is going to change for us as long as we continue to play with the kind of effort we had tonight."
San Jose -- The Sharks have been inconsistent offensively, and they're hoping that getting Thornton back will help cure some of their problems. San Jose managed just two goals in Tuesday's 3-2 OT loss to Anaheim and has just seven goals in its last four games -- five of those game in Saturday's 5-2 victory against Tampa Bay.
"He's a world-class player, and we'll take as many of those as we can get," coach Todd McLellan said.
Who's hot -- No one on the Islanders is scoring much -- they've managed just six goals in their last six games. Goalie Dwayne Roloson is 2-6-0 despite a 2.26 goals-against average. … San Jose got both goals in the loss to Anaheim from the second line, with Devin Setoguchi scoring for the first time in a month and recording his first multi-point game of the season.
Injury report -- The Islanders are still without three of their top six defensemen -- Mark Streit (shoulder surgery), Andrew MacDonald (broken hand) and Milan Jurcina (hamstring), none of whom is close to returning. Neither is forward Kyle Okposo (shoulder surgery). … The Sharks are healthy except for reserve defenseman Derek Joslin (broken thumb).
Stat pack -- The all-time series between the teams is exactly even -- 12-12 with three ties, though the Islanders have outscored the Sharks 87-78. … The Islanders are 0-8-2 when the oppositions scores first. … Despite losing faceoff ace Manny Malhotra, the Sharks are still No. 1 on draws at 56.7 percent.
Puck drop -- If there were ever a time for the Sharks to get themselves righted, this is it. The Islanders are struggling to score and played a grueling, frustrating game the night before -- and San Jose is getting its captain and offensive leader back. The scene is set for the Sharks to break out and look like the team that's finished first in the West in each of the last two seasons.