Sharks are beasts when they come East, face Islanders

NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders thrive when hosting Western Conference opponents at Barclays Center. The San Jose Sharks feast upon Eastern Conference opponents regardless of locale.

Something will have to give Saturday night when the Sharks visit the Islanders in a matchup of two teams hoping to build winning streaks.

The Sharks began a five-game East Coast trip Friday when goalie Martin Jones posted his 16th career shutout by stopping all 28 shots he faced during a 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils.

It was the second straight victory for San Jose (3-3-0), which is in the midst of nine consecutive games against Eastern Conference teams.

"It's a business trip, for sure, but we'll have some fun too," said Sharks right winger Joe Pavelski, who scored a goal in Friday's win. "This was a good start, for sure."

The Sharks usually have fun against Eastern Conference opponents. Since the start of the 2015-16 season, San Jose has 44 wins against the East, the most of any Western Conference team.

The Islanders last played Thursday, when they blew a two-goal lead in the third period before posting a 4-3 shootout win over the New York Rangers to improve to 3-3-1.

"You can't always blame your hockey club for hanging on for a win," Islanders coach Doug Weight told reporters after the second victory in the last three games. "It's a big win."

Though the Islanders dropped their lone home game this season against a Western Conference team -- the St. Louis Blues eked out a 3-2 shootout win on Oct. 9 -- New York is still a robust 20-4-5 against the West since moving to Barclays Center before the 2015-16 season. The Sharks accounted for one of those regulation losses with a 3-2 win last Oct. 18.

Two backup goalies are scheduled to face one another Saturday. The Sharks will start Aaron Dell against the Islanders' Thomas Greiss.

It will be the second start of the season for Dell, who took the loss against the Islanders in San Jose on Oct. 14, when he stopped 20 shots in New York's 3-1 victory at SAP Center at San Jose.

Greiss will be making his fourth start of the season and his first since he had 40 saves in the win in San Jose.

Dell is 2-1-0 in three career starts against the Islanders, whom he has opposed more than any other team. He picked up his first NHL victory in San Jose's win at Barclays Center last season.

Greiss is also 2-1-0 in three career starts against the Sharks, with whom he began his NHL career in 2007-08. He played in 44 games with San Jose during a four-season span.

This will be the first set of back-to-back games this season for the Sharks, who went 9-6-1 in the second game of a back-to-back set last year.

Updated October 21, 2017

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