SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Jean-Gabriel Pageau had a goal and an assist, Ilya Sorokin stopped 29 shots for his 25th win of the season, and the New York Islanders beat the San Jose Sharks 4-1 Saturday night.
Kyle Palmieri, Ryan Pulockand Zach Parise also scored for the Islanders. Pierre Engvall extended his point streak to four games with an assist on Pulock’s goal. New York moved two points ahead of Pittsburgh for the first wild card in the Eastern Conference.
“I just think we try and play our game which has some physicality to it for sure,” Islanders coach Lane Lambert said. “They’re a quick team that has some skill. So we try and play physically against those teams. So there was a bit of design to it.”
Kevin Labanc scored his 12th goal of the season for the Sharks and Kaapo Kahkonen made 29 saves in his 17th loss of the season.
Labanc gave the Sharks the lead 7:31 into the first period beating Sorokin over the blocker.
“I’m just trying to help the team win,” Labanc said. “We’re all trying to do our part and trying to play as hard as we can. Some guys are playing for contracts, and some guys are playing for pride.”
Pageau got his 12th of the season with a short-handed tally to tie it with 3:52 left in the first. He beat San Jose defenseman Erik Karlsson to the front of the net and cut to his forehand to beat Kahkonen.
“I saw a little opening there. I was just trying to take it to the net. I missed my first chance, but I was happy the second one went in,” Pageau said.
Palmieri gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead at 2:18 of the second with a nice deflection Scott Mayfield‘s shot from the point. It was Palmieri’s 12th.
The Islanders capitalized on their fourth power play of the night when Pulock took a one-timer after the puck came off the boards and beat Kahkonen high on the far side at 5:24 of the middle period. It was Pulock’s fourth.
“I think that’s been pretty key for us. The last month, month and a half, two months, we’ve been winning hockey games that we’ve been really good in the neutral zone. Defensively, we’ve been pretty sound, and that’s turning an offense for us,” Parise said.
Parise deflected Alexander Romanov‘s shot at 5:19 of the third. Parise now has 18 goals this season.
“I thought the fourth goal really demoralized us. I thought, if we’re able to get that next one, all of a sudden, it’s a 3-2 hockey game, and then the third period may take on a different meaning to it,” Sharks coach David Quinn said. “But, unfortunately, we weren’t able to get that.”
PRIDE NIGHT AT THE TANK
Sharks goalie James Reimer declined to participate in warm-ups as San Jose hosted its annual pride night. Reimer and the Sharks released statements regarding the goalie’s decision not to wear the rainbow pride warm-up jersey.
“In this specific instance, I am choosing not to endorse something that is counter to my personal convictions, which are based on The Bible, the highest authority in my life,” Reimer’s statement read.
The San Jose Sharks stated that they will continue to support the LGBTQIA+ community but accept the right for every player to express their beliefs.
Islanders: Host Toronto on Tuesday night.
Sharks: At Edmonton on Monday night.