If suffering through a 1-6 roadtrip could not snuff out the dim
playoff hopes of the most ardent fans of the San Jose Sharks, a 3-0
loss to the visiting New York Islanders may have been the last
straw for the nearly sold-out house at HP Pavilion Wednesday
If suffering through a 1-6 roadtrip could not snuff out the dim playoff hopes of the most ardent fans of the San Jose Sharks, a 3-0 loss to the visiting New York Islanders may have been the last straw for the nearly sold-out house at HP Pavilion Wednesday night.
Captain Michael Peca scored two goals and Kenny Jonsson added one as the Isles moved into a tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 64 points. The Sharks are 13th (53 points) in the Western Conference, a spot in jeopardy when the 14th-seed Columbus Blue Jackets (52 points) come to San Jose Friday for a 7:30 p.m. game.
While the paying customers may have booed early, then left the scene the same way (early), Coach Ron Wilson, paid to watch the game from behind the bench, was equally dismayed.
“I’ve never been as confused and perplexed about a group,” said Wilson of his club. “What makes them tick? Nothing makes them tick. I could have one of those paddles to start people’s hearts and it still wouldn’t work. A cattle prod wouldn’t work.”
The Islanders took advantage of a break in the Sharks zone during the game’s first shift to take score the only goal necessary.
Sharks defenseman Kyle McLaren controlled the puck inside the zone when his stick shattered while attempting to make a play. Isle Mark Parrish pounced on the loose puck, then threaded a cross-ice pass to Peca at the left goalpost for the one-timer behind goalie Evgeni Nabokov 36 seconds into play.
“We got a bad break early when Kyle broke his stick,” said Wilson. “You rarely see that happen. The first period we played really well. As soon as they made it 2-0, we didn’t have any fight left.
“I’m embarrassed,” said the coach. “I might be the most confused person in North America, maybe the world, right now.”
The Sharks had a 12-7 edge in shots on the net along with two power play opportunities in the first period. New York stopped any San Jose momentum when Jonsson’s shot from the left point skipped through a screen and under Nabokov’s glove 4:09 into the second period.
Peca completed the scoring with a goal 10:21 into the second period. Shawn Bates chipped the puck behind the San Jose defense at the red line to start a 2-on-1 break. Peca beat Nabokov from point-blank range for his 11th goal of the season.
The Sharks went into the game with a 6-1-1-1 mark against the Islanders in the last nine meetings. San Jose was shut out for the second time in 60 games. The only other whitewash was a 1-0 loss at Columbus in game 56.
San Jose will complete a three-game hommestand Monday against the Darryl Sutter-directed Calgary Flames.