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Couture leads Sharks past Islanders 3-1

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Logan Couture scored the tiebreaking goal with 8:10 remaining to help the San Jose Sharks win for the third time in four games, 3-1 over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.

Tomas Hertl and James Sheppard also scored for the Sharks, who have three wins and a shootout loss following a four-game losing streak. Antti Niemi made 19 saves in his fourth straight start.

Kyle Okposo scored for the Islanders, who have lost their first two games on a five-game road trip. Jaroslav Halak made 28 saves.

Couture gave the Sharks the lead when he deftly redirected a hard pass from the point by Justin Braun. The puck went in and out of the net so quickly the referees didn’t even notice it at first and only stopped play after Couture started celebrating.

Replay confirmed the goal.

Sheppard gave San Jose some insurance when he scored his first of the season with 4:25 remaining on a slick transition play with linemates Adam Burish and Andrew Desjardins.

Couture’s goal ended a more than 40-minute scoring drought after the teams traded goals midway through the first period. There were a handful of good chances after the early goals but no one could break through.

Halak stopped Joe Pavelski in the closing seconds of the second period and then robbed him again midway through the third when Pavelski got the puck all alone in the slot.

The Islanders struck first when Okposo took a drop pass from Nick Leddy and beat Niemi with a shot to the short side from the circle midway through the first period.

The Sharks answered a few minutes later on the power play when Tommy Wingels and Matt Nieto won a battle for the puck behind the net. Hertl went to the front, took a pass from Wingels and knocked it past Halak for the equalizer. It was the third goal of the season for Hertl, who last scored on Oct. 16 when the Sharks visited the Islanders.

San Jose outshot New York 17-6 in the opening period but could not take the lead. There were fewer chances in the second, and the game remained tied heading into the final period.

NOTES: D Travis Hamonic (upper body) returned to the lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury. Brian Strait was scratched. … Sharks D Scott Hannan was honored before the game for playing in his 1,000th career game last month. He left with an injury in the first period shortly after a hard hit from Cal Clutterbuck. … Islanders F Cory Conacher left briefly in the third after being elbowed in the head by Sharks D Jason Demers. Conacher’s night ended when he got a 10-minute misconduct penalty shortly after returning to the game.

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