SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The Sharks squandered a two-goal lead in the third period, then saw Thomas Vanek and Kyle Okposo score in the shootout in a 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday, easily one of their most frustrating defeats of the season.
Goalie Antti Niemi made 26 saves through three periods and overtime, but the Sharks still saw their losing streak extended to four games and their home record drop to 10-2-2.
Okposo's goal with 97 seconds left in the third period tied the score 2-2 and helped send the game into overtime. But judging by the way the Sharks dominated the first half of the game, it shouldn't have even come to that point.
The Sharks controlled the puck for most of the first period but couldn't score despite 18 shots on net and three power-play opportunities.
Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski scored in the second period to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead. But Vanek's goal just 51 seconds into the third period made for a more suspenseful finish than Sharks coach Todd McLellan possibly could have wanted.
Marleau's power-play goal with 14:34 left in the second period gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead and was just the second goal with the man advantage for the Sharks in six games. Marleau and Dan Boyle assisted on Pavelski's even-strength goal 10 minutes later, giving the Sharks a 2-0 lead.
The Sharks dominated the first period but were still unable to get anything past Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin, who made a number of standout saves to keep the game scoreless. Twelve Sharks had at least one shot.
The Sharks didn't have the benefit of a full practice to work on their ailing power play before Tuesday's game, instead making do with some brief morning drills in the morning skate. But McLellan said San Jose shouldn't need a ton of practice time to fix its woeful special teams unit.
"The core of our power play has been together for six years," McLellan said. "We shouldn't need a lot of ice time to fix it. It should be able to be done video-wise and individuals looking at themselves and their contribution level."
The Sharks entered Tuesday's game having scored just one goal with the man advantage in their past 18 tries. At 17.6 percent for the season, San Jose's power play ranked 17th in the NHL. On Nov. 21, the Sharks were 10th at 20.6 percent.
The game figured to be the most winnable one for the Sharks for the rest of the month. The Sharks play at Nashville, which entered Tuesday one game below .500, on Saturday, but face playoff-caliber teams the rest of December starting with Thursday's home game against Minnesota.
Not only that, but the Islanders entered the game winless in their last 10, including a 5-2 loss to Anaheim on Monday, to sink to last in the Metropolitan Division.
-- Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov got a chance to be recognized by Sharks fans in the first period as he came out the visitors' tunnel and received a warm ovation from the home crowd.
Nabokov, the Sharks' career leader in numerous goaltending categories -- including wins (293) and shutouts (50) -- over 10 seasons in San Jose, couldn't help but become emotional Tuesday afternoon when asked about his favorite memories with his former team.
"A lot of good memories here," said Nabokov, referencing his start in the organization with former coach Darryl Sutter and former general manager Dean Lombardi, the team's late goaltending coach Warren Strelow, general manager Doug Wilson and assistant G.M. Wayne Thomas.
Nabokov, out since Nov. 18 with a groin injury, said he wished he could play on the same ice surface where he began his NHL career. This was the second meeting between the teams since the Sharks parted ways with Nabokov after 563 games, declining to offer him a new contract in June 2010. Nabokov had a groin injury as well for the first meeting in October 2011.
-- Defenseman Scott Hannan has an unspecified injury and did not participate in Tuesday's morning skate and did not dress for the second straight game.
-- Forward Marty Havlat was back in the Sharks' lineup after missing Sunday's game in Minnesota. James Sheppard and John McCarthy were scratches.
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