EditorsNote: changes to “21 of 23” in seventh graf
Dell gets first NHL win as Isles edge Sharks
NEW YORK -- Aaron Dell is a 27-year-old rookie goaltender who rode the busses in the minor leagues for four seasons with three different organizations before finally making his NHL debut. So he wasn’t fazed by waiting until the last second of his first game to secure a win a lifetime in the making.
Joe Pavelski scored the tiebreaking goal with 2:11 remaining Tuesday and Dell deflected a power-play shot at the horn to preserve the San Jose Sharks’ 3-2 win over the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on Tuesday.
“It took right until the very last second to make it real,” said a grinning Dell, who was still dressed in his pads as he spoke to reporters at his locker. “I didn’t really realize it until I got off (the ice). So it was crazy.”
It was an appropriately chaotic NHL debut for Dell, who graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2012 and bounced from the Sharks to the Anaheim Ducks to the Calgary Flames before returning to the Sharks organization in March 2015.
Dell won the Sharks’ backup goalie job in training camp but remained on the bench until Tuesday, when he drew the task of starting the second game of a back-to-back the night after San Jose played its worst defensive game in years in a 7-4 loss to the New York Rangers.
“It’s special to play in your first game,” Pavelski said. “It’s great to get a win for him and for the guys. First game on a back-to-back night, it’s not easy. It’s not an easy position for any goalie. He came in and did a good job for us.”
Dell stopped 21 of 23 shots, but the first goal was an “own goal” he accidentally generated. Islanders rookie Anthony Beauvillier was credited with the goal -- his first NHL tally -- when his third attempt at a put-back was batted into the net by Dell as New York tied the game, 1-1, with 10:21 left in the second period.
The Islanders took the lead just 2:10 later, when Anders Lee corralled a puck just in front of the crease and fired a shot through Chris Tierney’s legs and past Dell’s glove.
The Sharks tied the score with 1:57 left in the second, when Joe Thornton’s pass into the crease ticked off the skate of Tomas Hertl and under the left leg of Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak.
That set up a choppy third period in which neither team built a serious scoring chance until Thornton created something with another shot into traffic. Thornton fired from the right faceoff circle into a gaggle of players from both teams in front of the net.
The puck ticked off Pavelski’s stick and sailed past Hertl before it sailed past a trio of Islanders -- defensemen Travis Hamonic and Nick Leddy as well as Halak.
“He buys you that extra second to allow you to get open,” Pavelski said of Thornton. “When you get open, he puts it in the spot you want. It’s good to see that one go in, for sure.”
Islanders head coach Jack Capuano was frustrated by New York’s inability to clear the puck on the decisive sequence.
“We’ve got to pick up sticks on that play,” Capuano said. “(2:11) left, get a puck to the net and it’s in the back of our net.”
Pavelski was whistled for a delay of game with 1:06 left, but the Islanders got just two shots off during the abbreviated power play. A shot from the blue line by Brock Nelson bounced off Dell as time expired.
“You could see at the end the guys were really happy for him,” Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said. “You could see the guys wanted to do whatever they could to help him win a game.”
The seven goals the Sharks gave up Monday were the most they surrendered since Jan. 8, 2015, but San Jose (3-1-0) has given up two goals or fewer in its other three games this season.
“It was a nice response game for us,” DeBoer said. “I think when we looked at it today, we were all a little disappointed with how last night went.”
Melker Karlsson scored the Sharks’ first goal 5:36 into the first period.
Halak made 24 saves for the Islanders (1-3-0), who have scored three goals or fewer in each game this season.
“It was a tough one, probably wasn’t our best effort,” Hamonic said.
NOTES: The Islanders scratched C Mathew Barzal and G Jean-Francois Berube. ... Islanders C Casey Cizikas, who played just 38 seconds after the second period Sunday night after suffering a leg injury while blocking a shot, was active. ... The Sharks scratched C Ryan Carpenter, D Dylan DeMelo and LW Matt Nieto. ... Aaron Dell became the 12th goalie to make his NHL debut for the Sharks. ... Dell and Islanders LW Brock Nelson were teammates at the University of North Dakota during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. ... The Sharks’ current five-game road trip is their second longest of the season, while the Islanders’ current five-game homestand is one of three homestands five games or longer this season.