Islanders try to extend Sharks’ dismal start

The New York Islanders are hoping their offense’s outburst Saturday night is a sign of things to come under rookie head coach Lane Lambert.

The San Jose Sharks and first-year head coach David Quinn are already hoping their slow start will be just as short-lived as last year’s fast start.

The teams square off in Elmont, N.Y. on Tuesday night, when the Islanders look to build off their most prolific game in more than 18 months — a 7-1 rout of the Anaheim Ducks.

Both teams have been off since Saturday, when the Islanders trounced the Ducks and the Sharks squandered an early two-goal lead in falling to the visiting Chicago Blackhawks, 5-2.

Lambert replaced Barry Trotz following last season with the notion that he’d bring a more aggressive approach to goal-scoring, but it did not show in Thursday’s season-opening 3-1 loss to the reigning Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida Panthers.

Two nights later, however, defensemen Scott Mayfield and Noah Dobson scored in the first period for New York, and the Islanders were on their way to their first seven-goal night since an 8-4 win over the Washington Capitals on April 1, 2021.

Mayfield and fellow defenseman Robin Salo finished with two goals apiece — the first time a pair of Islanders have scored twice in the same game since Scott Lachance and Vladimir Malakhov did it in an 8-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Jan. 12, 1993.

“I was confident because of the good things I saw in game one,” Lambert said Saturday night. “I talked about little pockets that needed to be improved upon. We moved the puck a little quicker and we were together as a group. As a result, that led to more transition.”

The Sharks, meantime, remain in transition amid a franchise-record three-season playoff drought, having lost their first four games. Last year, they opened 4-0-0 before finishing 32-37-13 under Bob Boughner, who was fired July 1.

This is the third 0-4 start for the Sharks in their 31 seasons in the NHL, and they are trying to avoid their first 0-5 start to a season.

San Jose scored first for the third consecutive game Saturday and took its first multiple-goal lead of the season when Erik Karlsson scored in the final minute of the opening period against the Blackhawks. But Chicago scored three goals in fewer than three minutes midway through second period. Two of the tallies were back-to-back short-handed goals by Sam Lafferty.

“Guys are upset, frustrated — everything that you can imagine when you’re going through tough times,” Sharks center and captain Logan Couture said. “In this game, a lot of adversity is thrown your way and it’s about how you react to it. And we haven’t done a good enough job so far.”

The Sharks swept the season series from the Islanders last season, earning a 2-1 overtime win in Elmont on Dec. 2 and recording a 4-3 shootout win in San Jose on Feb. 24.

–Field Level Media