By: David Kolb
NEW YORK ISLANDERS (1-1-0) vs. SAN JOSE SHARKS (2-1-0)
Tonight the Islanders host the San Jose Sharks at Barclays Center for the first of two meetings between the clubs this season. The Islanders will look to even their record at 2-2-0, while the Sharks, at 2-1-0, look to rebound from Monday’s 7-4 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
ISLANDERS KEY FOR SUCCESS
The Isles’ success usually coincides with John Tavares’ game. On Sunday, No. 91 finally got his first goal of the season, helping the Islanders to their thrilling 3-2 OT win over the Ducks.
Tavares was sensational against the Sharks last season, scoring two goals with two assists for four points in two games.
Second line center, Brock Nelson, is becoming a consistent contributor. After scoring his second goal of the season against Anaheim Sunday, he has points in all three games he’s played this season. If Nelson can keep playing like this, Islander fans will begin to forget about departed free agent, Frans Nielsen.
KEYS TO STOPPING SAN JOSE
Sharks’ defenseman Brent Burns is proving each game why he is considered an elite talent, as he scored his second and third goals of the season versus the Rangers on Monday. Tonight, the Isles need to either stay close to Burns or clog up his shooting lane to thwart his lightning-quick release.
If the Isles play a fast-paced game and jump on San Jose early, the Sharks could wilt pretty quickly, as this game serves as the second game of a back-to-back following their 7-4 loss at The Garden last night.
Joe Pavelski had his best game of the young season, scoring a goal and adding three assists at The Garden. Expect the Islanders best shut-down defender, Travis Hamonic, to play across the ice from Pavelski, using his physical presence to take him off his game.