Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/11/13
The New York Islanders appeared headed for their 11th straight loss Tuesday night, trailing the San Jose Sharks 2-1 with less than two minutes left to play at SAP Center. Islanders forward Kyle Okposo had other ideas. Okposo forced overtime by scoring with 1:37 left in regulation, then got the game-winner in the fourth round of a shootout Tuesday night to give the Islanders a 3-2 victory. "We've been struggling," Okposo said. "It hasn't been fun. We've been playing well but not getting the results. To win like that tonight, it's big for us." Thomas Vanek beat Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi in the first round of the shootout, but San Jose's Logan Couture countered with a goal against Kevin Poulin to open the second round. Okposo ended it with a goal in the fourth round, lifting a backhander over Niemi's pad. The Islanders hadn't won anywhere since beating the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 in a shootout on Nov. 16. They had lost 10 in a row on the road, all in regulation, since a 5-4 shootout win against the Ottawa Senators on Nov. 1. "It feels good," Vanek said. "Even last night in Anaheim we lose [5-2] but for a lot of parts of the game I thought we were the better team, generating more chances and before we knew it we were down two again. It's nice that it goes the other way , too." The Sharks (19-6-6), coming off a 3-1-0 road trip, lost their season-high fourth straight game and snapped their five-game winning streak at home. "I thought we started the game very well," coach Todd McLellan said. "I thought we got a little loose in the second period and decided we wanted to trade chances, gave up some odd-number rushes. Gave up a goal in the first minute and the last minute of the third. "What's disappointing for me is three of the last four games the top line on the other team has handled us. They've done all the damage. Our shutdown group, our guys that we rely on in that situation are getting beat right now along with the goaltender," he said, referring to the line of Couture, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski. "That has to improve." Marleau and Pavelski scored second-period goals for the Sharks, while Vanek and Okposo scored in the third period for the Islanders, who won in San Jose for the first time since Feb. 19, 2003. Poulin, who hurt his left leg making a save in the first round of the shootout but stayed in the game, made 46 saves through 65 minutes. Niemi stopped 26 shots.
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