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Grier, Sharks continue Islanders' road struggles

By Michael Duca

PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- The NHL's worst road team

visited the league's best home team, and the result was

predictable.

Third-liner Mike Grier scored two goals and Jonathan Cheechoo

dished out three assists as the San Jose Sharks handed the New

York Islanders their 12th straight road loss with a 5-3 victory

on Saturday.

"We were better on the forecheck tonight," Grier said. "When we

do that, we are able to get pucks to the net. The last few

games, we haven't done a good job getting pucks behind the

defense, and especially in the first period, we did well at that

tonight."

Ryane Clowe, defenseman Dan Boyle and captain Patrick Marleau

also scored for San Jose, which improved to 19-0-2 at the HP

Pavilion this season.

New York fell to 0-11-1 in its last 12 road contests and 5-15-2

overall away from Nassau Coliseum this campaign.

"It's worse when you look at it like that," said Islanders

defenseman Thomas Pock, who scored his first goal of the season.

"This one's over, and we have to look to the next two. They

aren't getting any easier. We have to go to (Edmonton) and play

hard for 60 minutes and we will get a win."

The Sharks outshot the Islanders, 11-1, in the first 11 minutes

of play but did not score until 11:20, when Clowe slapped the

rebound of Milan Michalek's shot past goaltender Joey MacDonald.

San Jose doubled the lead with just 21 seconds remaining in the

first period as Grier netted his sixth of the season on a

wraparound that slid across the crease and off the far goalpost.

The Sharks made it 3-0 at 7:51 of the middle session, when Boyle

skated in from the right point while Joe Thornton completely

blocked MacDonald's view and slapped a shot just inside the near

post.

"They teach you at a young age to keep your head up," Boyle

said. "I was going to fire it, but I looked up and saw I had a

couple of seconds. We got a big obstacle in there in the person

of Jumbo (Thornton). He took up a lot of room."

New York got on the board with 3:56 remaining as Richard Park

scored his 10th of the season and third in two nights by batting

his own rebound over goaltender Evgeni Nabokov's right shoulder

from the doorstep.

Nabokov then made a tremendous save on a slap shot by Doug

Weight, stopping the puck with the handle of his stick just

inches in front of the goal line after New York came in on a

2-on-1 rush.

Grier extended San Jose's lead to 4-1 with 7:38 remaining in the

contest, but Tim Jackman scored a shorthanded goal with 3:10

left and Pock made it a one-goal game with 63 seconds to go.

With MacDonald pulled for an extra attacker, Pock intercepted a

clearing pass at the blue line and fired a shot that sailed past

Nabokov's glove. It was Pock's first goal in 36 games dating to

March 31, 2007.

"The only plus for us is that we got some shots and got some

pucks to the net," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said. "Still,

at the end of the day, they are a pretty tough team to beat."

The Sharks, who outshot the Islanders, 47-24, hung on as Marleau

scored an empty-netter with 10 seconds left to seal the win.

"We will focus on the lapses that let them back in the game,"

San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "It's unacceptable that we

are up 4-1 with three minutes in the game and we go on the power

play and give them a shorthanded goal.

"We have a lot of learning to do. We have an empty net with 15

seconds and the puck at the hash marks and we try to pass it.

That's unacceptable."

MacDonald tied a career high with 42 saves.

"They threw a lot of pucks on net," MacDonald said. "But I saw

a lot of pucks, and our D did a good job of letting me see them.

We've got to keep working."

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