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Sharks look to even record against visiting Isles
The San Jose Sharks may be breathing a little easier after putting out their first win of the season.
A win over their next opponent may have them feeling more confident as they look to put a slow start in the rear-view mirror.
The Sharks will try to even their record as they continue a season-opening homestand on Saturday night against the New York Islanders.
San Jose swept the season series in 2016-17 with a pair of 3-2 victories, and is 7-2-1 in its last 10 home games versus New York.
The Sharks avoided beginning a season with three straight losses for the first time in 24 years after defeating Buffalo 3-2 on Thursday night.
"You drop the first two, that third one, you start thinking about it a little bit," captain Joe Pavelski said. "Especially, opening up at home with (five) games here, it's a little unusual, so to get that first win was very important."
Despite the win, the Sharks (1-2-0) are still looking to get on track offensively. San Jose managed only seven goals so far, tying division rivals Edmonton and Vancouver for the fewest in the Western Conference.
Many of the Sharks' top offensive players from last season are still struggling to get their names on the scoresheet. Norris Trophy winner Brent Burns and Pavelski each own only one assist and Logan Couture has scored once.
Against Buffalo, Peter DeBoer's team got offense from its third line. Timo Meier and Chris Tierney each had a goal and an assist and Joonas Donskoi collected two helpers.
"If we're going to win games, we're going to need contributions from our depth. We're going to have to be a four-line team," the Sharks coach said.
Martin Jones has not faced New York since being lifted after giving up two goals on three shots in the first 3:30 of San Jose's 4-2 loss on Nov. 10, 2015. Among goalies with at least three appearances this season, Jones owns the fourth-worst save percentage (.881).
Backup Aaron Dell, who's yet to start a game this season, defeated the Isles in his NHL debut last Oct. 18.
New York (1-3-0) continues its annual swing through California after falling 3-2 to Anaheim on Wednesday.
"We have to get some pucks in and find a way because these are games that I feel like we should win," coach Doug Weight told the Islanders' official website.
Brock Nelson, one of five Islanders with at least 20 goals last season, potted his first two of new campaign. Nelson has three assists in five games all-time at SAP Center
John Tavares, the Isles' cornerstone since being drafted first overall in 2009, owns two goals and four assists over five career games in San Jose. He's notched a point in four of those contests, including two multipoint games.
However, Tavares has gotten off to a slow start in his ninth NHL season. The center failed to register a point in three games thus far, all losses. Still, Tavares sees some positives on the ice.
"I think parts of our game are really coming along, and there's obviously some areas we can clean up," New York's captain said. "It's four games (into the season), so there's no reason to feel panic or not stick together."
The Islanders may be without Jordan Eberle, who didn't practice Friday after absorbing a hit in practice on Thursday. Weight told the team's official website that he didn't know what the winger's status would be for this contest.
Eberle, who is in his first season with New York after spending his first seven with Edmonton, owns 13 points (seven goals, six assists) over 14 career games in Northern California.
Though Jaroslav Halak (1-1-0, 2.45 goals-against average) has been the better of the Isles' two goaltenders this season, Thomas Greiss (0-1-1, 4.38) could get the nod against his old team. The 31-year-old native of Germany was 17-16-3 with a 2.52 GAA in 44 games, including 32 starts, with San Jose between 2007 and 2013.
Greiss yielded seven goals on 61 shots this season.
Updated October 13, 2017