The San Jose Sharks haven’t been defeated much on the road this season. They haven’t lost at Nassau Coliseum in 12 years.
After suffering a rare road defeat in the opener of an eight-game trip, the Sharks look to bounce back against the New York Islanders on Monday as the teams meet at Nassau Coliseum for the first time since 2001.
San Jose (31-19-8) has the fewest road losses in the league (six), but began its longest road trip of the season with a 3-1 defeat to the New York Rangers on Sunday. It was the Sharks’ first game at Madison Square Garden since Dec. 16, 2002, and they fell to 2-6-1 with one tie all-time there.
“Hopefully this will be our only loss on this trip,” said San Jose center Joe Thornton, who notched his 500th career assist. “That’s the way we have to look at it. If we continue to keep on getting better on this trip we’ll be fine.”
Roughly 28 miles east on Long Island, San Jose has fared much better. The Sharks are 4-0-0 with two ties at Nassau Coliseum since Feb. 17, 1996, when the Islanders (27-25-7) won 4-2.
San Jose, though, will be playing its first game there since a 2-2 tie on Oct. 20, 2001. The teams have played four times since that matchup but all of them have been in San Jose, including the Sharks’ 3-0 victory on Oct. 7, 2006 in the most recent meeting.
San Jose now looks to avoid losing three straight road games for the first time since Feb. 14-18, 2007.
The Sharks have allowed eight goals in losing their last two, yielding two scores on the power play. On Sunday, the Sharks gave up only their 11th power-play goal on the road in 105 chances, which still leaves them with a league-leading 90.5 penalty-kill percentage away from home.
San Jose is second overall in penalty-killing, giving up 32 goals. The Sharks’ own power-play unit has struggled, failing to convert their only chance against the Rangers after going 0-for-8 in a 3-2 loss to Edmonton on Thursday night.
Playing without Patrick Marleau the last three games hasn’t helped. The veteran center, who has 10 goals and 28 points, has been sidelined with a sore groin. His status for Monday’s game is uncertain.
New York’s offense, meanwhile, has been red-hot, scoring a total of 13 goals en route to winning its last three games. The Islanders’ winning streak follows a seven-game skid (0-6-1), when they scored just 11 goals.
Fedotenko has scored a goal in three straight games, and has found the back of the net five times in his last five contests. The veteran winger, who signed with New York as a free agent in the offseason, has 13 goals and 29 points in 55 games.
Fedotenko, Hunter and Vasicek have combined for 11 points in the last three games.