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Sharks slip past Islanders
Uniondale, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Antti Niemi stopped 35 shots and Martin Havlat netted the deciding goal late in the second period, as San Jose clipped the Islanders, 4-3, at Nassau Coliseum.
Matt Nieto, Joe Thornton and Jason Demers also scored and James Sheppard contributed two assists for the Sharks, winners in two straight on their current road trip and five straight overall.
"When you win two in a row, two days in a row, it's special," Thornton said. "We're a confident group right now, we're relying on each other, we're working extremely hard for each other. We feel if we play our game we can beat anybody, and that's a good feeling to have."
Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Frans Nielsen tallied once each for the Islanders, who kicked off a four-game homestand with their seventh loss in 10.
Evgeni Nabokov faced his old team for the first time, but came up short despite a 22-save effort.
"They are not an easy team to play against," Nabokov said. "They are big, they are experienced, but I thought we were right there with them."
The Islanders tested Niemi with 16 shots in the third period, but were unable to reduce their two-goal deficit until Nabokov was on the bench for an extra skater and Nilsson tallied on a backhander with 21.4 seconds to play.
New York didn't have a final offensive push in the remaining time.
Nieto put the Sharks on the board at 13:27 of the first period when a carom off the end boards slid into the slot and the BU product scored on the forehand.
Demers beat a falling Nabokov from the right wing 1:19 later to double San Jose's edge.
Lee halved the Isles' deficit after just 32 seconds elapsed in the second period, but the Sharks regained their two-goal lead on Thornton's deposit of a Brent Burns rebound just before the midway point of regulation.
"He's a great teammate and a great friend, but I was glad to score on him," Thornton added with a smile.
Matt Donovan's right-point shot was deflected in the slot by Nelson and beat Niemi to the far post to make it 3-2 at 17:02, but Havlat's shot from the left circle hit the net 73 seconds later.
Nabokov played in San Jose from 1999-2010, racking up a 293-178-66 record in 563 appearances ... Demers' goal was his first in 22 games ... The Sharks finish their road trip in Manhattan on Sunday, while the Islanders continue their residency on Saturday against Buffalo.
03/14 23:38:28 ET
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