BROOKLYN -– No Martin Jones. No Paul Martin. No more perfect season.
The Islanders erased three separate Sharks leads and stormed to a 6-3 win over San Jose on Saturday night at Barclays Center. The loss was the Sharks’ first after four wins to open the season.
New York broke a 3-3 tie a little more than four minutes into the final period to take its first lead. Brent Burns misfired on a pass in the neutral zone, allowing Kyle Okposo to gain control and charge ahead into the Isles’ offensive zone. The winger followed up on his own shot and beat Alex Stalock, who gave starter Jones his first night off.
Brock Nelson increased it to 5-3 midway through the third, buzzing a wrist shot past Stalock at 11:10. Frans Neilsen’s empty-net goal with three minutes to go capped the scoring.
A four-game Sharks road trip concludes at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers on Monday.
For the second straight game a key piece was removed from the Sharks’ lineup, as defenseman Martin was scratched from the blue line with a lower body injury. No immediate details were available, although Martin was in the building. Logan Couture remains out for the next 4-to-6 weeks with a fractured right fibula.
Martin’s absence meant 22-year-old Dylan DeMelo made his NHL debut, paired with Matt Tennyson. Brenden Dillon took Martin’s vacated place alongside Burns, who struggled to a -3 rating without his regular partner that he had been together with since the first day of training camp.
The teams combined for five goals in a seesaw second period, and the result was a 3-3 tie headed into the third.
Johnny Boychuk tied it at 1-1 just 21 seconds into the period, when his slap shot from a tough angle along the wall got through Stalock.
San Jose responded 20 seconds later on Nikolay Goldobin’s first goal in the NHL. On a three-on-two rush, Joe Thornton’s cross ice pass went right to Goldobin’s tape, and the 2014 first round draft pick easily angled it home.
A strange series of events involving Stalock allowed the Islanders to tie it at 2-2. After taking a shot to the mask from Ryan Strome on a New York power play, Stalock swiped his helmet off of his head. Rather than whistling the play dead, the referees allowed it to continue and Anders Lee put it across the line at 2:27. The refs conferred afterwards, but it was allowed to stand.
The Sharks claimed their third lead of the night when Matt Nieto fed a pass around Nick Leddy to Joel Ward on a two-on-one for Ward’s first goal with the Sharks at 9:20, but a Burns turnover behind the net resulted in Josh Bailey scoring at 13:58.
Joe Pavelski scored the only goal of the first period, redirecting a Justin Braun shot at 13:04. Isles coach Jack Capuano challenged the call, but it was ruled that the Sharks captain didn’t interfere with Halak.
The Sharks fell to 7-2-2 in their last 11 road games against the Islanders, although the previous 10 had been at their former home, Nassau Coliseum.
Lee’s goal was the only one that came on a power play. The Sharks were 0-for-2, while New York was 1-for-3.
In the first period, Stalock stopped Mikhail Grabovski on a penalty shot with 2:13 to go in the frame and the Islanders trailing, 1-0.
Stalock allowed five goals on 33 shots to lose his season debut.
Jones sat for the first time as the Sharks were playing their first back-to-back of the season. Jones started the night as the league leader in goals-against average (0.49), and was tied in wins (4) and shutouts (2).
Like Stalock, Halak was also making his season debut after missing the first four games with an upper body injury. He had 22 saves.
Fourth line center Ben Smith was forced from the game in the second period, when he took a slap shot from Marc-Edouard Vlasic to the head. He did not return.
Joonas Donskoi missed his second straight game with a lower body injury, so Goldobin, who made his NHL debut on Friday, remained on the Joe Thornton line where Donskoi had been for the first three games.
Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey made his season debut after missing the first four games with an upper body injury.
After Monday, the Sharks open up a three-game homestand on Thursday with the Los Angeles Kings. The Hurricanes and Predators follow.